Saturday, May 9, 2009

Not What You Had in Mind (An Open Letter for Mother's Day)

Dear Mom,

Our relationship has never been traditional. Right from the start we did things differently. Most babies make their presence known to their mothers via a series of physical manifestations - dizziness, nausea, a missed period... You learned about me through a phone call. "We have a baby for you, if you're interested."

Not what you had in mind, but you'd make it work.

You, the pale, green-eyed German blonde, were handed your little girl - a swarthy little olive-skinned creature with masses of coal black hair.

The only baby picture of myself I could find! I know I have boxes of them somewhere...

Not what you had in mind, but you'd make it work.

Mom and Dad in the pre-baby days

You were athletic and popular. You were so pretty. As I grew, I was clumsy and weird. I always had my nose in a book. You grew excited at sporting events. I was moved by music. We didn't really know what to make of each other.

Not what we had in mind, but we'd make it work.

You were sick a lot. You spent too much time in the hospital. I missed you.

Not what I had in mind, but I'd make it work.

You were - are - a planner. I was - am - a free spirit. Our habits regarding these traits drove each other nuts. You demanded order. I required spontaneity. You were a worker bee. I was a forest fairy. A weird, clumsy, bookish forest fairy.

Not what we had in mind, but we'd make it work.

Your friends kids got married and made them grandmas. Your sisters kids got married and made her a grandma. I traveled and matriculated long past the age when most had put away their school books and moved on into the real world. I didn't have any interest in anything that was going to tie me down for longer than a semester at a time. I was flighty long past the age when such a quality might have possibly been interpreted as charming.

Me with other people's babies - my cousin's babies, to be exact.

Not what you had in mind, but you'd make it work.

You lived in the same town forever and wouldn't have - wouldn't - dream of moving. I moved when I got bored. Which was a lot. I always worked in my field, but not in traditional ways. You never knew what to make of my choices.

Not what you had in mind, but you'd make it work.

Eventually I did settle down and get married and start making with the grandbabies.

Mom and Lea

That was more like what you had in mind. You could work with this.

Since then, of course, we've learned that there are as many similarities as there are differences.

Mom and Liv walking on the beach this February in Myrtle Beach

We're both happier near water. We both enjoy long walks through the woods, on the beach, even through the neighborhood. We both laugh until we cry (and sometimes until we emit other bodily fluids, but that's not a tale for polite company). We both talk too much. We're both generous with our time, attention, and affection. We both care deeply.

Most of the things that are good and true about me came from you.

Shelby, Wendy, Dad, Mom, Liv, Me, Lea, Tom, Cooper

I hope that's close to what you had in mind. I think it's kind of worked.

I love you, Mom.

P.S. Happy Mother's Day to you, too! I hope if motherhood isn't exactly what you had in mind, at least it's something you can work with.


Pam said...

What a beautiful and loving tribute to your mom! It's perfect. And I don't think Motherhood is EVER exactly what we had in mind - but we all try our best to make it work. Sounds like you and your mom have done just that. Happy Mother's Day!

Sir Hook of Warrick aka "David K Wells" said...

What a great letter and tribute to the mysteries of life. Blessings to you, your mother,and all mother's...this and every day!

Sir Hook of Warrick

Karen said...

What a lovely post. Happy Mother's Day to all.

Mrs. Jelly Belly said...

Oh, Tammy, what a beautiful post - again! You have been making me cry all week. :)

It's so true what Pam said - motherhood is NEVER exactly what we had in mind. But it almost always works out.

Happy Mother's Day to you!

Anita said...

Tammy, this is a beautiful letter to your mom,and a wonderful way to share with us what kind of daughter and mother you are. I always knew I wanted to be a mom, it just took me a while to find someone to have them mom thought it would never happen.
Happy Mother's Day!

K said...

Excellent post.

If it makes you feel any better, my mom and I share DNA and still are very, very different people. We're still working on it.

K said...

Excellent post.

If it makes you feel any better, my mom and I share DNA and still are very, very different people. We're still working on it.

K said...

oh - and Happy Mother's day.

Shannon Baskind said...

Happy Mother's Day, my dear friend!!

3 Bay B Chicks said...

What an amazing post! By far the best one that I have come across for Mother's Day. It literally brought tears to my eyes.

No relationship is perfect, but the good things in life are worth the effort.

You are a talent writer! Thank you for sharing your words.


Vodka Mom said...

that was amazing.

simply amazing. :-)

KC Mom said...

I stopped by from Sits today...and just had to comment. I love this tribute. Truly how mother/daughters really feel sometimes. Thanks for sharing.

mama-face said...

Beautiful post. I'm sure you exceeded your Mom's wildest dreams. I know my children have mine.

Hope your Mother's Day and all days were wonderful.

Alex the Girl said...

Motherhood/daughterhood is much like a rubber band. It's starts off tight, stretches out to the max, and then goes back to being tight.

Gibby said...

This is just beautiful. Does your mom read your blog? I hope so, because it would be awful to miss something as wonderful as this.

And no, motherhood is not what anyone expected. Sometimes it doesn't live up to the fantasy, and other times it goes beyond it.

Happy Mother's Day!

Brandy said...


The Blonde Duck said...

I'm so glad your family liked the muffins! And I love this tribute. It's gorgeous.

MiMi said...

My husband was adopted, and so I always feel a special bond with people who were adopted. This was so great!