“Being a Mom is hard work. Someone should write about that,” a friend said to me several years ago. At the time she was the mother of a toddler and a newborn. My writing was finally coming together with, ironically, a single-mom, whose twins come before everyone and everything else, as protagonist. And since we’re talking of Larissa, let me share with you her views on adoption.
“Nelly, I love my children more than anything and it has nothing to do with them coming out of my body. Once they put that baby in your arms and you see how perfect and trusting he or she is, how much they need you, it’s love at first sight. It makes no difference where they came from, it’s what happens afterwards.” (Closed Doors, ©2017)
And on calling out a Mother who, in her view, failed.
“Your boys aren’t someone’s mother. I am. You know with your children, Elsie. You just know.” The kettle hisses ominously.
She faces me. “I thought that’s how it was, boys needed discipline and Aidan was their father. I never imagined—”
“You never questioned.”
“He wasn’t a bad person. He thought he was doing the right thing.”
“He beat his children with a belt, he terrorized them.” I can feel the tightening around my heart that accompanies the release of adrenaline and tears well up but I retrain my anger. “How can you still try to explain it away?”
“You judge me harshly, dear.”
“I judge you as one mother to another. But you’re right it’s not my place. Especially here, on your birthday, in your house. Or maybe I should say Michael’s house.” As I fill the pot, the whistle dies out with a few final warning gasps that I ignore. (Closed Doors, ©2017)
And on her unplanned teenage pregnancy.
“Pax, Joy, you know how much I love you both. But an unplanned pregnancy at such a young age is not a romantic adventure. It’s a pretty disastrous situation, but you guys aren’t part of that disaster. I don’t know if you can understand the difference, but it’s the truth. You were the reason I never gave up trying to find a way to make it work for us. I didn’t want to ruin your lives. I didn’t want you to look at me one day and wish you had someone else for a mother. You made it all better because no matter how bleak things looked everything was perfect the minute I saw your faces.” (Closed Doors, ©2017)
A Happy Mother’s Day to all Moms and an especially Happy Mothers Day to all the stand-in Moms. All those wonderful women who care for someone else’s children. You know who you are: the step-moms, the ‘like my second Mom’ moms, the ‘spiritual moms’. Long-term or on short notice, those amazing ladies who know that mothering is a heart-bond and not a blood-tie.
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