Mom came into my life a month before I turned nine. I had no idea dad was getting married…or maybe I did and I just don’t remember. He moved me and my three brothers from our home in San Rafael, CA to a larger home in Santa Venetia, CA. I had to change schools. I had to say good bye to all my friends on Cedar Hill Drive. I had to make a new best friend. I went from being the oldest and only girl in my family to being number three of seven. When dad married mom, I acquired two older sisters and another younger brother.
Life in the blender wasn’t easy…for any of us. Ask my mom – she had her hands full with seven kids, four of whom she didn’t give birth to. My three brothers and I were a wild bunch. Well, at least my brother David and I were. He had anger management issues and I was the queen of manipulation. Mike and Chris were just babies and took to mom right away. Me? Not so much. I was nine. My place in the family overturned. As a teenager I was hell to deal with. If you want the details, just ask my mom.
Despite the frantic antics of a mixed up teen, my mom adopted me and my brothers. Legally. My birth mother signed away her rights. She was unfit to raise rocks let alone children, which is why my dad won full physical and legal custody of us in 1971. I remember standing in front of the judge and him asking me if this is what I wanted. Not only did I say yes for me, but I also said yes for my three younger brothers. When mom became mom in every since of the word, I knew said I yes to the right mom. I knew I also protected myself and my brothers from ever being physically abused by the woman who birthed us. If something ever happened to my dad, she held no claim over us. We rightfully belonged to another mother.
Fast forward a few decades. I grew up. I got married. I had kids of my own. It wasn’t until I was in my early 20′s that I truly began to understand what being a mom was all about. Small moments of realizations and truths would hit me at random times. I began to appreciate my mom. She gave up and sacrificed a lot for me and my brothers. She put up with a lot of our shit. Ok, my shit. My phone calls home to mom took on a whole new meaning. How on earth could I make it up to her? I certainly couldn’t erase my shitty behavior from my teenage years. So, I decided to be a really awesome adult daughter.
By the time I was 40, mom and I had grown really close. It didn’t matter that most of that growing was done at large distances. Frequent phone calls and lots of letters and cards closed the miles and brought us closer. When I divorced my first husband, my mom was only a phone call away…and there were more phone calls than I can count. Five months after my divorce was final I ran into a little speed bump called breast cancer. Mom criss-crossed the country twice to be with me after both my surgeries.
Mom spent her 60th birthday with me….not a very celebratory birthday as I was in the operating room having my left breast removed. Her face was the first face I saw when I woke up in recovery.
Two years later I remember calling mom and asking her if she remembered my first boyfriend from high school. “How could I forget?” she said, “he was the only one I liked!”
Moms are always right. And they don’t have to give birth to you to know what’s right and who’s right. Two years after mom hung with me in the fight of my life, she was beside me on the day I married the love of my life. And I know that my mom is beside me every day of my life.
On this Mother’s Day and every day, I honor and appreciate my mom more than words can express. Ever since I was nine, she’s always been there for me. I am proud to be her daughter and I am truly blessed that she is my mom.