I was 14 when I first felt my heart break. My one true love, Tommy, decided to move on as we left junior high for the greener pastures of high school. My stomach turned as I felt the upset of change, insecurity, and teenage despair wash over me. At a time when my mom regularly embarrassed me, she was who I turned to for comfort. She held my head in her lap as she stroked my hair and I sobbed.
My mom, during any time of uncertainty, would count down the hours for me. On the eve of the first day of school in a new state, she said “At this time tomorrow, you will already have a new friend.” On the eve of my first trial, she said “At this time tomorrow, you will have more experience than you do today.” On the eve of my divorce being final, she said “At this time tomorrow, it will be over and the new beginning will start.”
With these little reminders, my mom was the guardian of my hope. She was the protector of my present. She was the spirit behind my strength. My mom was able to measure my moments in the context of my past, present, and future. She had the wisdom to know that my difficult times would pass. She was mindful that heartache dulls over time.
My mom knew to make me warm vanilla pudding with a sprinkling of chocolate chips to lift my spirits when my housing plan fell through post-divorce, and I had to move in with her for a month – my baggage, children, and cats in tow. My mom said “yes” when I asked her to take a business trip to Ireland the month before my divorce was final and she drank a draft cider with me as I found courage to start using my maiden name again. And on my first Christmas Eve without my daughters to share it with, she again took my head in her lap as she stroked my hair and I sobbed.
I know not all have mothers like mine, nor are all able to be the kind of mother I describe as my own – but I share these stories to pass on the wisdom she has bestowed on me. I share the insight passed to me over my many heartbreaks, fears, and insecurities that they are merely moments. That you will pass through to the other side of the storm. That no matter how hard you have sobbed that this moment will be over and the new beginning will start.
Happy Mother’s Day moms everywhere who are deeply committed to their children and who, like my own mom, walk confidently and compassionately alongside their children in this journey of life.