I left home for NYC at eighteen with neon bracelets, combat boots, Madonna CDs, and a duffle bag filled with brass balls and big dreams. I’m not sure where I got the courage, maybe it was more stubbornness when my mother said, “if you don’t go you’ll regret it and end up working at Walmart.” There’s nothing wrong with that, except I was born with a restless soul, wind in my ears and gypsy feet. What I didn’t know, which she’d tell me many, many decades later, was that she was heartbroken and cried for three days. I could never do that. I could never be that selfless. I could never be her, I could never be you. A mother. I thank God everyday I never had a daughter or son who was beloved and adored; who I’d teach strength, honor, respect and responsibility by osmosis.
I often wonder how many dreams and compromises she made so that I could be independent and free, to follow my dreams, to royally fuckup and yes, to come crawling home when broken. Some days I don’t recognize her in me at all. We are so wildly different, and not really that different at all. Her mind is sharp yet the body fails her, and that is the most agonizing fate and miserable thing. We’re all dying a slow death, with tiny victories lived in between the inhale and exhale. Every milestone I called her, every dream fulfilled I wanted to tell her, and every moment I am her daughter, I thank God my hands and heart are free from the daunting and thankless job of being a good mom from excellent stock. Helicopter moms are forever hovering, trying to anticipate looming disaster, sighing with relief when there are no messes to clean up, when the skies clear and the sun shines down. To all mothers, I celebrate and applaud you.
Please remember your daughters and sons’ fuckups are not yours to carry, they are solely their very own. I’m so glad I did not have the awesomeness of birthing a life, the burden, the tears or the privilege to carry a child. I fear I would have been buried alive by the weight of a mother’s love. I’m lucky to be on the receiving end, this I know.