First and foremost, I want to wish all of the mothers (and mother figures) out there a most beautiful Mother’s Day. I hope that everyone takes time out today to celebrate and reflect upon their own mother (be they biological, adoptive or otherwise) because I believe it is important to always acknowledge those who have made a contribution to our lives—however large or small that contribution might have been.
Secondly, I’d like to just say that as great as your mother may be, mine is like, waaay more awesome…no offense. Okay, so maybe I’m being a bit cheeky (What’s new?). All jokes aside, my mother is truly one of the best women I have ever known and I’m not even being biased due to sharing half of my DNA with her.
Not only is she beautiful with the genes of an infant god (she looks at least 10 years younger than she actually is), but she is kind, God-fearing, level-headed and endlessly supportive. I can pretty confidently say that my mother is hugely responsible for me turning out the way I did. Despite my wild and stubborn ways, she somehow survived long enough and retained enough faith in me to see me grow into a human being that can sufficiently care for themselves lol.
I’ll admit it; my mother and I have butted heads plenty over the years. We have very different ways of looking at things as well as very different tastes. When it comes to decor, she likes ornate, warm and antique-ish. I, however, prefer artsy bohemian meets modern minimalist chic (imagine if hippies and gypsies set up a migrant camp in the middle of IKEA).
My mom is also the type who likes to plan things out, maintain a detailed budget and keep to a regular schedule. In contrast, I move wherever/whenever my mood takes me. I’ve never kept a budget either; my philosophy is “It is time to stop spending when it all runs out”. Schedule? Forget that. Life is too short. Besides, it is far more exciting to live as though I were raised by wolves. Wolves don’t have strict routines or clocks. Yay for wolves!
This woman has sacrificed so much for me throughout my life. From the time I was born she hung up her hat as a “career woman” in exchange for a full-time role as a stay-at-home mom. Year after year, from childhood until now, my mother has been there for me without pause. She has stood by me when no one else has, and for that, I owe her the world and everything in it.
Of course, my dad was there for me too, but this is Mother’s Day, dang it. He will simply have to wait for his accolades…haha
For the first time ever, the arrival of Mother’s Day has caused me to reflect on my life in a new, but important way. While unpacking today I found a small red patent suitcase. It was dusty from having been in a box since my last move several years ago, but I remembered exactly what it contained. Things for Olivia. My stomach instantly soured as I hastily threw it aside to be taken upstairs to my bedroom. I had mixed feelings about the suitcase. Very mixed.
Once upon a time I had carefully, but excitedly packed that same suitcase with random baby items. Whenever I went to the store and saw cute onesies or tutus on sale I would purchase them. I wasn’t pregnant and I had no immediate plans to become pregnant, but it never stopped me from planning ahead for the future anyway. It made me happy.
Everyone knew I was collecting things for Olivia. My best friend bought me items. Her mother bought me items. Her mother’s best friend even bought me items. Each article of clothing was carefully folded and placed inside the suitcase for safe keeping. I was fully confident that I would one day have the pleasure of gifting them to my first child. I always wanted my firstborn to be a girl and the only name I could imagine giving her was Olivia. In my heart I truly believed she would one day come to be. I knew I would love her more than life itself.
That was seven years ago.
Time went by. Life unfolded. I got older. I fell in love and began making plans for a new stage of life with the one person I couldn’t imagine living another day without. When we first began discussing children we explored names and discovered that our favorite girl name was Olivia. By the time we shifted genders and found out that we both shared the same favorite boy name, you would have thought it was a confirmation from the universe that our union had been written in the stars. We were both as happy as we had ever been.
Seasons changed. Circumstances did too. I just wish my love and I hadn’t changed along with everything else. Times got hard as I suddenly fell very ill. I was sick for weeks and then months, but I couldn’t understand what was wrong. Nothing was going right for either of us, but still, I had my suspicions.
The timing wasn’t right. He wasn’t ready. I didn’t know if I was ready. We were having too many problems and I was terrified. Maybe I was wrong about everything. Maybe I didn’t have anything to worry about. I ignored the pain.
One day I realized that I had every right to be worried. My suspicions had been correct all along. Overnight, everything made so much sense. In time, I wasn’t sick anymore. I had wanted to tell him what had happened to me that sad spring day, but it didn’t seem as though he could handle any more bad news.
I kept it to myself.
By the time we broke up, I never got the chance to tell him. All the same, fate had already spoken on the matter: Indeed, the time hadn’t been right. That was two years ago.
Had it been a girl, I’m 100% that we would have named her Olivia.
Looking back, it sometimes seems as though I lost everything I ever wanted in one blink of an eye. The man I loved, the child I had always dreamed about. It is easier for me to look forward with laser focus than it ever is to remember what was and have to wonder, “What if?”
Still, I know timing is everything in this life and that everything happens for a reason. I had always wanted to “do things right” and start a family a certain way—when and only when I was truly ready. I like to think that I’ve been given a second chance to do that.
But today, as I sat down to marvel over the doll-sized items inside of the red patent suitcase, I asked myself, “Will you ever be ready?” I’m not sure. When I compare who I am now to who I was then, I am a totally different person. It’s actually kind of scary, but the changes were all positive.
I’m calmer, much less frenetic. I could easily settle down now without worrying about “missing out” on something else. Things in my life aren’t perfect, I’m not perfect, but then again, this will always be the case. With the exception of a few things here and there, I’d say that I am more ready now than I have ever been before.
Zipping the suitcase closed, I tried to imagine my life as a mother. It was rather difficult. There are so many unknowns! What would they look like? Would they favor me, their father, or would they share both of our traits fairly equally? Would they love music like I do? How would we be similar/dissimilar? Would they be as rebellious and spirited as I was as a child and teen? I struggled to imagine the kind of mother I would be to my imaginary children of the future.
I may not know many things, but I am at least quite certain about what little I do. Whoever they are, however they’re like and whatever they choose to do, if and when my children make an appearance in this world, I will love them through and through.
I will love them whether they behave well or poorly.
I will love them whether they are a prodigy or one of the dullest crayons in the box.
I will love them whether they read quietly in the corner or make my kitchen wall their canvas.
I will love them if they are cat people like me… and even if they end up being dog people (lol).
I will love them whether they are gay, straight, or something else entirely.
I will love them when they are happy. I will love them when they are sad.
I will love them when they are young and helpless.
I love them once they are old enough to have children of their own.
I will love them as my mother loved me.
And if I turn out to be half as good a mother as my mother has been, those kids will be considered quite lucky, indeed. ❤