She most certainly IS my real mom.

This is a rough day for me–my mother died twenty-one years ago. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of her in some way, when I do something she taught me to do, when I hear her words coming out of my mouth to my own sons, or, even after all these years, I come across something I’d like to share with her. We were close, and her absence is a permanent ache.

My brother, my sister, and I are adopted, and yes, we’re old enough that it was a matter of “saving the girl’s shame” by shipping her off to a home for unwed mothers. My birth mother gave me many gifts: a good constitution, a good mind, and a good family. I am grateful, how can I not be? but this young woman (and the young man who supplied the rest of the chromosomes) had no further place in my life. I was given to a loving family when I was but a few days old.

When someone asks me about my parents, I tell them about the couple who held me while I teethed, taught me to read and put books in my hands, who applauded my successes and commiserated my failures. The mother who spent sleepless nights with me, whether it was a bout of pneumonia or a prom, who leaned on me to practice my violin, my math skills, and my tact, is my real mother.

Once in a while, someone questions this. They wonder why I haven’t sought out my “real mother.” Excuse me? I know who my real mother is: she raised me, she loved me, and I would give about anything short of my own children to have her back.

“But your ‘real mother’…” certain fools persist. They don’t understand that I have only a remote curiosity about her, much like I’ll have to read more about ancient Thebes one day. I was a life-wrecking disaster to her, and I can only be grateful she sent me to my real mom. I would like to tell her that it all worked out well.

But my real mom, the one for whom I scribbled crayon declarations of love and drove crazy later, is the one I miss this day. The placental connection is the least part of what made her my mother.

 

16 responses to “She most certainly IS my real mom.

  1. OMG! That is so gorgeous, and I’m sure your “real mom” is very, very proud of you.

  2. What a wonderful tribute to your real mom!

    Happy Mother’s Day to you and to all the other “real” moms out there, whether they be dads who play dual roles, grandmothers, aunts, sisters–to everyone who’s making a difference in the life of a child. 🙂

    .

    • Thank you, Lisa. Adoption isn’t such a common choice for young mothers these days, but it made a world of difference to me and my siblings.

  3. I was adopted, too, and everything you say is so absolutely true and poignant. Thank you.

  4. georgeindenver

    Nice remembrance, P.

  5. She’d be so proud of you, love. *hugs*

    • I certainly gave her plenty of gray hair before I finally grew up, but she did live long enough to see many of my successes. Though she did miss the “daughter as writer” stage. That would have made for some interesting conversations. *Hugs back*

  6. Thank you for writing this lovely tribute. I’m adopted and Mom’s been gone for close to a decade. We weren’t close, but I knew I was loved. I miss her every day.

  7. Huggles to one of the best moms I know!

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