May 9, 2015

To My Children for Mother's Day, from Your Un-Mother

Mother's Day is right around the corner, which always makes me a little wistful for the children I never had.
If you'd asked me when I was young how my life would go I'd have said I would get married and
have a bunch of kids and be president of the PTA.
I had no plans beyond that, no plans for college - I grew up in the 50s and 60s so that wasn't a given back then, especially for girls - I had no plans for a career. Oh, I had dreams; I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to be an artist, but mostly I wanted to be Gidget and ride into the sunset (on a surfboard) with Moondoggie and live happily ever after.
But life rarely turns out the way we expect.
Wedding #1
I was married the first time in 1971 and we made a conscious decision not to have children - very avant garde for that time. People were only beginning to realize they had a choice. We were cool, on the cutting edge. Really, though, it was more his decision than mine. He said, "We have such a great life, why would we want to change it? If we have kids we won't be able to do any of the things we want to do."
"Right," I said, wrapped up in being cool and in awe of this sophisticated, handsome older man (he was 27, I was 21) who had, amazingly, fallen in love with me, the kid from Toledo, and now he was my husband.
"Yes, dear," I said.
Wedding #2
I was married the second time in 1981. By then I desperately wanted children. He didn't, so much, but he went along with the program. But I never got pregnant. We went to fertility experts, we did various treatments, but nothing ever happened.
That was a sad and difficult time in my life - I was in my early 30s and it seemed all around me people were popping out babies like pop tarts. It was so easy for everyone else. Want a baby? Poof! There it is. Just not for me.
I was married the third time in 2001. By then I was too old to have children.
So, Mother's Day comes around and I don't get any Mother's Day cards. Because I'm not a mom.
I'm sorry to have missed that. But if things didn't turn out how I planned they turned out in delightful ways I could never have predicted and I consider myself a very lucky girl, living a fabulous life.
For Mother's Day then, I am 'borrowing' children and creating my own family.
I have three kids: my oldest is Brad (son of Irene and Harv). I just love him. He is smart and handsome and sensitive and loving, and now he's a husband and father and when I see him with his wife and kids I just smile. Sometimes you have a connection with people who, even though you don't see them very often, that connection transcends the distance. Brad is one of those people.
My second child is Sara (daughter of Judi). If I had a daughter she would be exactly like Sara. Actually, I think Sara really is my daughter - we're both strong, independent women, we both love travel and culture and new adventures. Mostly, I just love how smart and sensitive Sara is; how self-assured, articulate and insightful she is. Sara is wonderful!
My youngest child is Alison (daughter of Debby and Joe), and she is simply delightful! She's smart and gorgeous and has the most brilliant smile. I love her views on life. And she's an amazing writer, so she must be my child, right?! Except she's so much wiser than I was at her age.
I've known Alison her whole life but didn't see her very often over the years. And then she grew up and went to college and now there's social media and so I've gotten to know her better in this virtual (but very real) way.
So, I'm celebrating Mother's Day in my own way. I may not be a real mom but I can be a virtual one. Which is certainly cheaper.


Amy Sue Nathan said...

That's lovely, Sam. How inspiring and honest. I think a maternal nature entitles you to Mother's Day. So have a happy one.

Kathleen said...

I think you are a real mom. You have a mothers loving and nurturing spirit.
I'm enjoying your blog, having just discovered it trying to see what happened with your depuytrens enzyme injections.
There are only the first 2you tubes I could find .
I'm pretty sure I have the start of it as well.
Would love to hear your outcome,
And now that I've discovered your voice, I will follow.
With thanks