Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mom-ing Without A Mom

This Sunday I'm running in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure here in Milwaukee. This cause is especially important to me since my mom had breast cancer and passed away in April of 2001. This will be my third time participating in the race (my second time running it) and though I enjoy taking part, I always have mixed emotions about it. The energy at this event is so positive and hopeful yet I always end up with feelings of jealousy when I see all the beautiful, smiling faces on the women in their Survivor t-shirts. I am happy for them but I can't help wishing that my own mom was there, smiling and sporting a pink shirt as well.

My mom died when my first daughter, Juliana was eight months old. She barely got a chance to be a grandma. When she passed I was just learning to be a mom myself and suddenly I felt set adrift. A mom without a mom. I was 23, we lived in Chicago, and had no other family in town. While my husband was at work it was just me and my baby girl every day, and though I loved being home with her, I felt like I didn't have anyone ask to questions to about all the little things that come up when you're a new mom. My best friend had a baby girl too and she was also struggling, but she was over two hours away in a different state. What I needed was someone who had been through it before- someone who had experienced what I was experiencing and had come out ok. I needed my mom.

Now that my kids are older that feeling has intensified in some ways. Babies are difficult but oh, it's so much harder once they develop their own opinions and feelings about everything! What I would give to be able to ask someone how I was at this age and how they dealt with me. My dad can shed a little bit of light on this at times but he doesn't have the best memory when it comes to recalling my brother and I as kids. Plus, there's just something about a mom's perspective, right? Especially when it comes to raising girls. I feel like I should have paid more attention back then, but obviously I was too busy being a kid and not taking notes on my mom's mothering style. There are questions I will never have answered but I have to be okay with that since I don't have a choice.

The week after my mom died I remember being at Target with Juli and seeing a mom shopping with her teenage daughter. I got really upset right there in the store and came home crying to my husband about how jealous I was of how that girl and her mom could go out shopping at Target together. I remember he said to me, "But YOU were a mom out shopping with YOUR daughter." It sounded so strange to me at the time. Of course, I knew I had a baby but I hadn't begun to think of myself as being in the same category as my own mom yet. I identified more with the teenage girl.

It's taken me a long time to feel completely like an adult but that was definitely a jumping point for me. I feel now as if I have made the transition from fumbling kid with a baby to full-fledged, confident mom. (Well, most of the time.) I also feel like the best thing I can do to honor my mom's memory is to be the best mom I can be to my own daughters. I still have days where I feel a bit lost and yes, jealous, but I keep trying to focus on the role I have now. Sometimes I feel like I am free-styling it out there, but I'm trying my hardest and I think she would be proud.

*This entry was originally posted on

No comments:

Post a Comment