Many moons ago, my mother told my father that if he was going to Europe to work for three months, well, then, despite being over forty and a new mother to two small girls, she was going as well. And so, the die for my life was cast. At 18 months old, I boarded a plane bound for Florence, Italy with my mother, her heart for adventure beating so strongly. Know she’s never ever going to be the one left behind.
An endlessly curious observer of the world, her bravery has opened so many doors for my sister and for me. She left home for college when her father wanted her to just get married to nice boy, she got a job when she was not supposed to, she dated a wild artist (everyone knows this, it’s part of her tale), and when it looked she was never going to get married, she found her soul mate in a man who lived his own adventures, with a brain that would never tire her and who made her laugh.
Love is funny, so many kinds. My parents had an unlikely love story. They loved others who brought them both to their knees and then they found in each other the kind of love that is the foundation of everything, solid, unquestioned and constant. It’s taken me years of my own loves to understand what I lived with as a child. It’s taken me even more years to understand how there’s a part of me that was forged with an iron clad certainty, so completely loved and honored, that I never accounted for it. My parents loved us so clearly, without conditions, I never even noticed what an amazing start I had been given to this crazy life of mine.
There’s lots to say about what makes a mother great. They bring us into this world (with some help, not down on dads – my father was an incredible man) and they pick us up when we fall, they celebrate our wins, hold us tight, fill us with wisdom and then let us fly free from the nest. From what I can tell, there’s no right way to do it, lots of ways to do it wrong, but most of the time, the amazing mamas of this life, well, you ladies, you get it done and we take that magic and we make our own.
I don’t have children. I chose that path for a million reasons and none. Living a life of no regrets isn’t easy and the lack of a child might have been the one that I would have struggled with the most. The good bad news is that if I had spent my last decades consumed with what wasn’t happening, rather than being present for what was, well, there’d be lots of tears today. I hope I have triumphed over my own struggles to reclaim my past, my present and yes, my future. I live today in the present, celebrating the many small people that are part of my life and getting from them the promise of tomorrow. It’s not your garden variety motherhood but it’s pretty awesome and hopeful and so I’ll take it. My own sister’s journey to being a mother is pretty remarkable and her cub, well, he’s pretty much the best thing that ever happened to us. I can share a bit of that blanket of goodness and well, it’s enough for now. Never say never though. I am at least wise enough to understand my path is always surprising me.
On this Mother’s day in the USA, I honor the woman who is a sailing, kayaking, martini (gin never vodka) drinking, wisdom giving woman, who took me out my first door and so many more, who has given me the keys to unlock the world.
Love to my mama, on this hallmark card of a holiday, because even when I am rotten (and I still can be, so rotten), every day is actually mother’s day over here.