by Ellen Rothberg
It’s Saturday morning and tomorrow is Mother’s Day. I have been thinking about Mother’s Day all week and this morning I had some free time which is a rare occurrence. I was tooling around the internet and came upon an excerpt from Rob Lowe’s memoir, Love Life, which was recently published by Simon & Schuster. The selection was about taking his eldest child to college. More pointedly, it was about the heartache of separating from your child as they go off to start a life that, essentially, does not include you.
As a mother, I have twice been through the trauma of separating from my children in this way. It’s awful! It’s thrilling! It’s horrible! It’s exhilarating! It’s terrifying! It’s the single most depressing event(s) of my life. Yes, I may be overstating, but when faced with that moment, disconnecting from the people I spent 18 years nurturing, consoling, guiding, arguing with (yes, we are a pretty normal family), I broke down. I remember thinking that we would never be the same. And, the fact is, we are not the same. So, at the risk of being one of those people who bore others with incessant chatter about their kids, I am going to list the ten most outstanding memories about mine. It’s Mother’s Day – cut me some slack!
- My son had some pretty cute pronunciations as a toddler. His very favorite book (and I can still quote it almost verbatim) was Don’t Forget the Oatmeal, a Sesame Street Bert & Ernie saga that involved listing almost every item you could purchase at the grocery store. One such item was hamburger meat, which came out as “hamburger eat”. My husband and I still call it that to this day!
- First trip to Disneyworld. This has to be one of the more popular parent memories. We actually witnessed our child’s first glimpse of magic.
- Same son – with a freshly earned driver’s license – taking his grandmother to cancer treatments when his parents could not get away from work.
- Still going with child number one – graduating from college after nearly 8 years, defying the odds (according to experts who compile statistics about teens who drop out of college), and dispelling the previous notion that he didn’t have to earn a college degree for his parents.
- The years of watching him play basketball. And helping him through the disappointment when he no longer played.
- Little sister arrives and basically follows her brother around for years. She was pretty cute although big brother would probably disagree.
- My daughter didn’t mispronounce words much, but when she started speaking, she had some pretty funny things to say. During one visit with her maternal grandmother, she hurriedly found me to state, “I like your mother”. She was two at the time.
- Observing my daughter’s ability to deal with her first major “real life” disappointment and her subsequent comeback. While it was awful at the time, it turned out to be a defining moment for me. Pride does not come any stronger unless it involves . . .
- Watching said daughter not only graduate from college with honors, graduate from law school and finally be admitted into the State Bar to practice law . . .
- Having the unbelievable experience of witnessing the birth of my first grandchild. I have no words that can describe this miracle and the privilege I felt to be a part of it.
Oh – motherhood! It’s a roller coaster of firsts. And just when you think the ride is done, you become a grandparent and it starts all over again! I am lucky. I am a Guidance Counselor by profession and I always try to teach positive self-talk strategies to my students. On this Mother’s Day, I will wake up in the morning and say to myself, “Happy Mother’s Day to me. I have a beautiful family and I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to raise two adults who are successful and true to themselves.” And, if I am really lucky, perhaps one day, my granddaughter will go to her mother and say, “I like your mother!” Ah, exhilaration!