It often strikes me, like it did tonight, how lucky I am to have a mother like mine. I come home after work and find my two-year-old tucked into bed, snoring away. My mother has just spent the last 14 hours with her, and I know from much personal experience how long those hours can be (and now without a nap!). Yet when I ask my mom how the day went, she says, “good”. She doesn’t utter a single complaint, not even about the fact that she has to do it all over again tomorrow (while I work all weekend).
She doesn’t complain when I leave reminders and lists taped to the cabinets about what M should eat or when she should sleep. She goes along with every disciplinary technique I try, even though she raised her own kid and I turned out “just fine”. She sorts out the too-small clothes and shoes and often buys replacements without even asking (a good thing). She takes M to school and picks her up if I’m working, often armed with the questions I want her to ask for me.
She is the other person M goes to for comfort and love. M requires several hugs and kisses from her every time they part ways, or there will be tears. M goes looking for “Da Da” (her self-appointed name for grandma) in the night when she wakes up, and asks for “Da Da” every time we get home from somewhere.
She was the one who came home from Seattle when I was pregnant, puking over a bowl held in one hand and feeding baby Moose his formula in the other. She took over his feeding and much of his care while I was sicker than snot in my first trimester. I never asked her if she wanted to be a foster-grandma. I never included her in these plans, but there she was, chipping in and supporting him like she would her own grandson.
She was the one who was in the hospital with me through all the bleeds and near-losses in my second trimester. She was the one who brought me everything I needed when I lived on the couch on bed rest trying to save the pregnancy. She was the one who held my deceased daughter while I bled 4 grams of blood out, the one who kissed the baby’s little forehead as they took her away. She was the one who drove me to pick up her ashes, who saved a photo of the three of us in a frame, dead baby and all. She was the one who was kept up all night for weeks while I wailed, who brought me junk food from McDonald’s in an attempt to get me to eat something, anything.
My mom was the one who cleaned the house before CPS brought little M over (as I rushed home from work), and got out the baby swing and bassinet. She was the one who stayed with M while I ran to the store for emergency baby supplies that night. She was the one who walked the floor with her through the wee hours of the night when M wouldn’t stop screaming for nearly 24 hours straight, when I was on my knees in tears because the baby couldn’t be soothed and I had to work at 7 am the next morning.
She’s still the only one I can leave M with all day without worrying that something might go wrong. Without worrying how M’s behavior will be handled or if M is getting what she needs. She got this from her mom, who helped with me in exactly the same way while my single mom put herself through school and worked night shifts. It was her mom who picked us up an carried us through mental illness and divorce, and her mom who played the significant grandma role in my life that my mom now plays in M’s.
Seriously, every woman needs a mom like mine. Every woman with a child really, really needs a mom like mine! Thank you to my mother, and to her mother, for passing down the true spirit of motherhood through the generations. The devotion and commitment given to every generation of daughters is carrying itself forward. Someday M will have me there for her in exactly the same way. Really, what greater gift can one give?