Saturday, December 16, 2006

My Three Moms...

I have 3 moms. This was completely unintentional on my part, I assure you. But there it is, and there they are. They have some things in common (such as me for a daughter, I suppose) and lots more that is different. Here's my shot at describing them.

Mom #1: my birth mom. Apparently we met, but my being only hours old, not much of a memory sticks with me. I learned from non-identifying information from the adoption agency that she was 19, of Albanian descent, and didn't know she was pregnant. That last one kind of strikes me as funny. See, I've been pregnant a few times and I can't imagine not knowing...once my bladder shrunk to the size of a walnut and some foreign object was punching my rib cage...I'd have to guess that something was up. But, she says she didn't know. And since I, too, have a remarkable ability to see things as I wish them to be rather than as they are, I can only figure that denial can be inherited.

Mom #2: This is the mom I grew up with until she died when I was 18. From her I learned that sometimes, even if you want to be a good parent, your own mess can get in the way. And you can leave a huge legacy of things you really never meant to if you aren't careful. Sometimes I feel so far behind the learning curve of people who had less traumatic childhoods than I did, and I hate that I never feel good enough because of what was drilled into me as a child. But you know what? I wouldn't care half as much about what kind of parent I was were it not for my need to make sure that my kids weren't handicapped in the same ways. So any measure of a good parent I become, I owe to that and to her. I also owe a huge debt to her for the compassionate nature I have, and my fearlessness of ill, disabled, and elderly people. Were it not for her, I would never have this keen desire to reach out to those kinds of people, and that desire has brought me great happiness.

Mom #3: This is the mom who came along when I was a young mother myself, and took me in. She and her whole family just embraced me and loved me and included me. I am the "adopted" daughter, and I find that interesting considering my previous history. It seems as though I am meant to be drawn in, as opposed to born into. From this mom I have gained so much insight and wisdom...I have found a woman who has walked many of the same roads I have and can warn me of where the curves and dead ends are. She is a grandmother to my children, a mom who calls just to see how I am doing, and someone who knows when to let me complain and when to help me make changes. I cannot imagine I would have learned anywhere near as much as I have so far if I didn't have her love and acceptance.

As I think of each mom, I am struck by the parts of me that have been formed because of my association with them. I'm both grateful and a little sad that none of these relationships have lasted all through my life so far. There is comfort in looking at someone and knowing they have known you since you were little. But then, there is an independence and ability to stand on your own two feet when you have no one like that to turn to.

In the end, I am who I am. In no small measure, that is because of my three moms.

Friday, December 01, 2006


I've been thinking about friendship.

I went out to breakfast a little bit ago with my best friend from high school. We live in the same neighborhood, and two of our children are school mates. But that is where any parallels end.

We are pretty different in our life choices. She is an education professional [a principal, no less! When did people our age get to be people in CHARGE of stuff??] ; I am a stay at home/sometimes homeschooling mom. I got married in my teens, she got her Masters. She is a social worker background die hard Democrat; I am a right leaning traditionalist who weighs my religious beliefs against any political position. In fact, she and I accidentally ran into each other at the voting booths this past election. Upon making eye contact, we started laughing and said, "Oh, good. Now we can cancel each other out!"

And yet, 20 years after we first became friends, I still find myself sitting across a table from her at Village Inn, laughing and talking and loving every minute of it.

There is something unbelieveably comfortable about our friendship. And no matter how much time passes in between visits, we pick right back up and have that same easy cadence with one another. I have been thinking that, perhaps, it is our differences that make our friendship so strong. There is a bedrock of acceptance that I find lacking in some of my friendships with people who are more similar to me. Maybe some friendships get so built on how alike two people are, that any shift by either person becomes a threat to whatever common bond the friendship was born under.

When two people who are very different become friends, there is an immediate understanding that this is not a friendship based on seeing oneself in each other...but on seeing things through different eyes. Eyes that like you, respect you, but don't always prioritize life the same way you do.

It's wonderful and comforting in ways I never could have imagined.