Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A forgotten post: This is what my mother looks like

This last weekend I had the honor of attending my neighbor's baby shower. I say honor because I'm lucky to have such great neighbors. Even though we have both lived here for three years, we've just recently decided we should do more together. {Maybe it's having kids that finally make you neighborly and part of the elite league?}
During this shower, the host decided to forego games and keep it simple. Instead we went around the rooms telling the mom-to-be what we learned from our own mothers. Expecting a daughter, we were supposed to offer the mom an anecdote of something she might teach her own daughter. I thought it was a lovely and more spiritual way to honor this woman as she approaches motherhood. As all the mostly late 20s women went around the room, I was definitely overcome by their words. They listed strength, courage, creativity, religion in their stories. It was touching and beautiful.
I was never more thankful to be last. 
What do I say about my mother? What did she teach me? My mother wasn't what these women painted of their own mothers. Mine was a struggling single mother of six mostly grown children and two young children {my sister and I}. She was a "recovering" alcoholic that would see herself go back to school and get her degree. A worthy goal by any means, much less a single mother. But she wouldn't stay recovered and the cigarettes she smoked to ease her stress and worry would be the demise of her health later. 
Although she was strong enough to go back to school, she battled depression and anxiety, and they kept her close to the bottle most of her short life. These things kept her away from really truly being the mother these women described and I'm sure the mother my mom envisioned.
But she didn't leave me without anything. For certain I persevered. I weathered the drunken bouts, the poverty, her middle life crises as she lost both parents, and then eventually, her illness and death. But while these women listed attributes of their mother, I listed the one thing she gave the world: 8 children. I talked about how my mother gave me family that would always be my safe haven. Ready-made friends and sometimes mothers {and father}. The best thing you can give your child is family, a strong family with an unbreakable bond. 
I don't have all the fond memories like these other women have of their mothers, but maybe I have something better. 


  1. Wow sorella. Powerful post. I love you more than anything in the world! Thank you for having the courage to put this out there.

    A safe haven is absolutely right. We are truly blessed with an amazing family.

  2. What a beautiful post. Made me tear up. You are so lucky to have your family.

  3. I concur (wiping tears away). I'd never heard those details about your mom and your family before. I'm glad you have such a tight-knit group of siblings. They are amazing!