When I was in 10th grade, I took some Home Ec class designed to prepare us for “real life”. We were doing the section on having children, and after researching how much those little buggers cost, we each got our own ‘child’ to care for. I think they use realistic looking baby dolls now, but way back then, we used eggs. Not hard boiled, either. We drew slips of paper with our baby’s gender and abnormalities on them. Mine was Boy, Normal. I remember, because I wrote it on my folder and my friend Pam thought it was the name of a new band, and being the poser she was, asked our friend Colleen if she had heard of Boy Normal, because she had their album and it was awesome.. It was… hilarious.
That day I walked home with my neighbor, Rick, who egg-napped my baby. I begged him to give it back, but he was a jerky 10th grade boy, and he threw it up in the air instead. It landed in the grass, and cracked. I started crying, and took my broken egg home to my mom. She was as upset as I was – it was like this thing was real. Rick came down later that evening and apologized, and we both glared at him for a while before I accepted his apology. I didn’t know it then, but that was the only ‘parenting’ my Mom would get to see me do.
My mom had breast cancer. She had it at the time, and she died from it just over a year after I had my Boy, Normal egg. Today there will be a lot of posts about being a mom, and how wonderful a grandma everyone’s mom is, and believe it or not, I am not jealous. I would never want anyone else not to have that experience of sharing motherhood with the one who mothered them.
Not jealous, but sad. I wish my mom had been there when I graduated from high school, and then college, and then with my Master’s Degree. I wish she could have been at my wedding. I wish she had seen me pregnant. I wish she could have told me what it was like for her. I wish she could have held A.P. and Maybelle at the hospital, and loved them like only a woman who had just become a Grandmother could. I wish she knew my kids.
I hold my children close. I know I do. There are a lot of reasons I choose to stay home with them, but one reason is that I am afraid this might be all they get. My mom was 44 when she died – I didn’t understand how young that was at the time because of how young I was. I was 16. And even though I am a grown woman with a husband and children of my own, sometimes when I think of my mom, I think of her the way a 16 year old girl would. Rebellious, angry. Stupid. But, that’s where my memories end.
I wonder what my children would remember about me if I only live a few more years? I don’t want them to remember some daycare or babysitter – I want them to remember me. I don’t have any tidy wrap-up for this. No, I just wish that my Mom had been there when I became a mom. When I was blessed with a Boy Normal, for real. I love you, Mom. I miss you.