Most days I get half-sad when I see mothers and daughters together. And I stare. I stare at the way they interact, comparing my brief, judgmental impression of their relationship to my brief, judgmental relationship with my own mother, who died last year when I was 31. Did I ever laugh with my mom like that? When was the last time we went to dinner just the two of us? Were our snippy back and forths ever that mean?
Not having a mom sucks for reasons that are both obvious and not. Have you ever complained to anyone about how unhappy you are with a haircut in painstaking detail and had them actually care? Have you ever spotted a Christmas ornament that's so perfect for someone but you just can't buy it? Or have you ever kicked yourself for not getting the recipe for one of your favorite dishes -- 'cause now you'll never have it again?
I like to think I've handled the death of my mother with some aplomb. But being pregnant without a mom unearths a whole new level of crappiness.
And it's not just because I'm missing out on the adorable cards and outfits and advice she would be giving me, it's because I'm missing out on seeing how happy she'd be meeting her first grandchild.
Before I ever got pregnant, I knew that my mother's absence was something that was going to play during this time. Since I had remained fairly strong -- taking care of others when they needed taking care of, never bursting into a tearful fit in public, and being able to talk about "it" openly -- I wondered just how it would affect me. "I can figure out how to raise a kid without her," I thought. "Her mom wasn't exactly helpful, and if she can do it, I can, too." Also, I'm blessed with a pretty fantastic husband, who was actually a nanny years ago. We got this.
And we do. But one day when I was visiting with a friend who just gave birth, I realized that it's not about me, it's about her. I watched as her mom, the baby's grandma, picked the infant up, changed her diapers, and served up bowls of soup to my friend and me -- with glee. My friend's mother, who I've known since I was 10, was positively glowing as she buzzed around her daughter's home, taking care of what needed to be taken care of. She was deeply grateful and, you can tell, felt blessed. That is something my mother will never get to experience.
I'm sure there will be times, after I give birth, when I'll be missing my mother for reasons that are more selfish -- help with the baby, free babysitting, surprise gifts -- but the real thing that sucks about not having a mom is not being able to see her with that glow.
Were you pregnant without your mom?
Image via d:space/Flickr