|Me and my mom, in 1997|
When I had my son, I was thrilled. I was completely in love with him. However, I had never expected to have a boy. I had no idea what I would do with a boy. While I was desperately smitten with this young man, I had it in my head that I wanted to try to have a girl one day.
While I was imagining having a little girl, I remembered all the good times I had with my mom, and imagined those with my (hypothetical) daughter. Singing as loud as we could to George Michael in the car. Mom trying so hard to be the "cool mom" and hanging out with my church youth group. The year she made her own mother's day cake ("geez, mom," I said, "I could have made your cake!""It's enough that you're here", she said.) Calling her almost every day- if I didn't tell my mom about something, it's almost like it didn't happen.
So, in April of last year, I got the news that I would finally get to be the mom of a little girl. I was so excited about it. And, although, I am absolutely in love with this little girl, who looks at me like I'm the best thing ever, suddenly, I remember all the issues I had with my mom.
"Gosh, mom, you're embarrassing me." "Sarah, you can't leave the house like that!" The eye-rolling. Ugh, a lot of unpleasantness. And, I know this sweet little baby is one day going to roll her eyes at me....
Anyway, 6 years ago yesterday was my 31st birthday. My mother had been in hospice for a few weeks. She seemed to be getting better enough that we were considering moving her to an assisted living facility. But, on Sunday, February 27, I called her cell phone. She didn't answer. I called the front desk and they said she was sleeping a lot, and this meant that the end may be coming. I was able to speak to her when one of them got the phone to her, and she apologized for "always ruining my birthday."
I was accompanying for a show, and we had a matinee that day. I had the phone off during the matinee, and when I turned it on afterwards, they had called. They said it would be that day.
I knew she was suffering, but I believe in some way she was conscious enough to hold on, so she didn't actually die on my birthday. She died on February 28. But it doesn't matter- I always remember that birthday.
And now, I'm a mom with kids, and my birthdays are completely different. My son, who is 3 and a half, sang Happy Birthday to me for the first time ever yesterday. That was awesome. And, I see a little bit of my mom in my daughter. I wish everyday I could still talk to her: to ask her advice, to tell her cute things my kids did, or to apologize and thank her for all she did that I never appreciated (but understand now that I am a mom).
I'm 37 now, and have more in common with my mom than I ever imagined. In some ways, I always said I would never be like my mother. But, in other ways, I am proud. Sometimes I say things to my kids, and I can hear my mom saying it to me, and I smile.