Being mommy without my mommy

I used to hate Mother’s Day. When surrounded by all the stupid loving advertisements and commercials showing appreciation to the one and only mom, I wanted to crawl under a blanket and stay there until it was over. 
My mom and I were very close. She was my confidant, my role model, my teacher, my best friend… person. The one who believed I could conquer the world. She had an innocence and positivity about her that people felt drawn to. She saw goodness in others, always giving people second and third, if not fourth chances. She was smart; Teaching French, English, Farsi, and Spanish at the University level, and was constantly on the hunt to learn something new. Even with her petite frame, she was my protector and life cheerleader. We had traditions, and goals to achieve together.

When I was 19, she was once again diagnosed with breast cancer. She pushed through for five years….even though it was hard, even though she suffered horrible pain. I was 24, when I found myself at the hospital by her bedside holding her hand, knowing she would never wake up again. It didn’t make sense. I was looking right at her. She was right there. And when the machines were all turned off, and she took her last breath, I couldn’t quite grasp what the hell was happening. 

And then it hit me. Hard. My role model, my confidant, my best friend, my teacher, my protector, my cheerleader…. she was gone. 

For months, It felt like she was on a long vacation. Obviously she was coming back. She was my mom. My mommy. My mama. This couldn’t be it. How could life move forward without her?

It took me a very long time to accept the heart wrenching fact that I had to live my life and learn to be happy without her. And I’d like to think that I did. But it’s still hard. There’s not a day that goes by where I’m not reminded by something she loved, something she would say, or a moment I could’ve shared with her; Getting married, moving into my first home, pregnancy…. and probably the most difficult, having my first baby. 

When I was engaged, my mom and I talked a lot about my future babies. Her face would express so much love and affection when she told me that when the time came, she couldn’t wait to hold my baby in her arms. That one hurts. A lot. Because I look at Little’s face, and I envision what his bond would have been like with his beautiful grandmother, and all I see is nothing short of amazing. 

I look back at coming home from the hospital when I gave birth, and wonder what it would’ve been like if she was there. What would she have said to me and how different the experience would have been. It was an emotional roller coaster for me. I could’ve cried and yelled and talked openly and she would’ve been ok with that. Because that’s what mommies do. And You can’t really do that with anyone else. That comfort. That support. That affection. That unconditional aspect of it. Sometimes you don’t just want a mom, you want mommy. No matter how old you are.

As this Mother’s Day draws near, I recall the years after my mother died. People close to me would call on Mother’s Day to check in and tell me they were thinking of me. I would reluctantly answer the phone and try to get through the day the best I could, trying not to think about how I used to spend the day with her, laughing and spending time together. 

Since I’ve had Little, the day has changed quite a bit. The phone calls are solely focused on wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day. The day is spent celebrating mommy-hood, rather than running away from it. It’s such a bitter-sweet feeling. On one hand, it’s still difficult, on the other, there’s a lot that I’m thankful for. When in the midst of grief and loss, it’s been hard to focus on the positive things in my life. And my biggest blessing is my family; My hubby. My sweet little boy. My hubby’s family, especially my mother-in-law. My dad and siblings, and one of the closest to my heart, my step-mom. If my mom could have chosen anyone to be a part of my life, when she couldn’t be there…I know she would have chosen her. 

I point at my mom’s picture often, and say who is that? Little looks up at me and says ‘Gramma!’ ‘Yes,’ I say. ‘That’s your grandma.’

To any of you who will be either celebrating Mother’s Day or want nothing to do with it, I wish you sweet moments, peace and so much comfort.

Baby steps, and love to you all,



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