Tuesday, June 21, 2016

When You Just Want Your Mom

I received 55% on my calculus exam and felt the great relief in passing and never needing to take it again yet the burden of not meeting my goal and feeling like a failure. I returned to my dorm room to talk it out on the phone with my mom. She listened and encouraged which allowed me to process. For almost every paper and exam I knew where to go to debrief – with the person who truly seemed to care about these details: my mom.

Motherless Mom

After a significant break up where I had invested so much time, energy, and emotion into something that was not going anywhere, I felt like a failure. I felt uncertain about the future and whether I would ever find love again. I wanted my mom.  She wrote me cards and checked in with me over the phone.  I didn't want to talk about it with her but I needed to hear the words that I was lovable and special and I was going to be okay. She knew how to listen and support me – I needed her.

I was halfway across the world when I got the phone call that my mom's breast cancer had spread to her bones. No cure. Terminal. I changed my plans and would come home a few months early. I still had one month left before the earliest affordable return flight and all I could think was I want my mom (and my husband-to-be who was waiting back home too!)  We wrote letters–the handwritten kind–along with emails and phone calls. On New Years Eve in 2004, I returned to my childhood home to live with my parents.

I was engaged to be married just a few weeks later and as I planned to go dress shopping all I knew is that I wanted my mom to go with me. She was able to help me choose my wedding dress and I found a mother-of-the-bride dress for her. The wedding was a few months later and the night before my wedding I could not sleep.  I went upstairs and found my mom.  She listened, gave me half a sleeping pill with a hug, and off to sleep I went.

Less than a year later she lay on her bed unable to move. My left hand held hers and my right one held my pregnant belly. She was going and I needed her.  I needed her for all the reasons I knew–like the support and encouragement and processing–and all the unknowns that were to come with becoming a mom myself.

In labour, just three months later, I went in thinking I would rock it and ended up feeling unprepared and overwhelmed. I called my sister in the midst of it and the doctor asked "Are you talking to your mom?" No, I wasn't. I wish I was. I wanted my mom. I needed her.

When our son was finally born via C-section the next day, relatives came to celebrate. With the birth of our child, my sisters were called "aunties" once again.  My dad became Opi. Oma was in heaven. When my mother-in-law held our son I saw all that could have been. It was beautiful and it was heart-breaking. I wanted my mom there with us all to celebrate the arrival of her first grandson.

Years passed where I learned all about breastfeeding, baby's first food, crawling, walking, first words...what were these details like for my own childhood? I don't know. I wish I could have asked my mom. How had my mom done this five times in eight years? I wanted to thank her.

Birth of a child

I watch my oldest son score a goal in hockey and I know she would have loved sitting in the stands and cheering–encouragement was her "thing."  I can see her in so many of my memories just looking at us and smiling. I think she would have come to their track meets and hockey games and ballet classes.  I hope so, anyway.  I would have loved to have shared that with her.

Sitting side by side with my daughter on the couch, she has asked me to read to her.  I told her I would in a minute.  Five minutes have passed and there I am on my phone. Again. She starts reading to herself and as I look over and realize the truth before me–she wants her mom. I am here. I don't want her to remember me smiling at my phone.  We read Winnie the Pooh's Picnic. Again.

Being present with your children

 A piece of my mom carries on in the foundation of my parenting and in my daughter's name. I can hear her "You go, Girl!" and I know I can do almost anything. I hear her when I support my kids with "I'm so proud of you!" and "Just try your best!"  My baby girl also has the gift of encouragement which helps me every day.  I want my kids to feel heard.  I am here when they need me and will work every day at being present with them while I actually can be.


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Think of all the times you just want your mom. Emotional reminder to be present with our own children.


  1. This was absolutely beautiful. Total tear-jerker for this hormonal pregnant lady.

    Such an emotional journey. Thank you for sharing.


    1. Oh those pregnancy hormones! I do love how the tears flow so easily...it's probably so healthy to get them out :) Thanks for reading!

  2. Denise N12:25 PM

    I'm in tears. I've been wanting to ask my mom to come help me for the second day in row. But I'm trying to convince myself not to. She's coming tmr too. And just as I was reading the part about your kid asking u to read a book, L interrupts my phone reading and wants me to read to him. So down my phone went and we read the hungry caterpillar. Thanks for this post

    1. I love when people appreciate their moms. And...hungry caterpillar is a great choice ;)

  3. I'm glad your mom's encouraging spirit lives on in her little name sake :) What a gift for you!

    1. Totally. I didn't realize how much I needed it until I experienced it once again :)

  4. All the tears. I'm sorry for yoyr loss. I am really close to my mom and am thankful every day for her. I lost my dad about a year and a half ago and I miss him all the time. So many times ahen Q is doing something, or when I have some blogging successes I think of how proud he would be. I'm sure your mom is smiling down on you now and I'm glad that she lives on through your words and actions.

    1. I am so glad you are close with your mom and that you appreciate her, it makes me happy :) I'm sorry the loss of your dad is so recent, going through the grieving process is so hard!

  5. Anonymous6:48 PM

    Thanks for sharing. Hard to read. But a good reminder to be thankful for family.

    1. Thanks for commenting :) Ya, I wish I could've learned the "thankful for family" lesson a different way but that's life. Hope you are doing well!