I had a birthday last week and it brought to mind 2 important women in my life. The first was my mother. The second was my mom.
“Huh?” you say. “I thought you said 2 women.”
I was born in a very conservative Midwest. At that time, a stigma existed with regard to pregnancy without benefit of marriage. Judgment and criticism had not evolved much beyond the puritanical beliefs noted in “The Scarlet Letter.”
My mother, Florence, was a self-reliant woman who supported 2 young children from a previous marriage. There was no place to hide, when she found herself pregnant.
A relative and close friend, Bonnie, approached her regarding her pregnancy. What could she do to help? After some conversation, Bonnie had a suggestion. She said, “I’ve always wanted a girl and I can’t have more children. If you have a girl, would you consider letting us adopt her?”
I don’t know how long the 2 considered this proposal before they agreed. And, that is how my “mom” came into the picture.
I grew up in a family of 4 — my mom, dad and 2 older brothers. I can’t believe how incredibly lucky I was. Despite a large age difference between my brothers and I, we’ve always been incredibly close. My parents were encouraging and supportive of my efforts. I never questioned the love that surrounded me. From the beginning, I knew I was adopted, but never knew the circumstances. Nor did I have a clue Aunt Flo was actually my birth mother. She did not want me to know and that fact remained undisclosed until her death when I was 18.
My mother gave me life. My personality is a lot like hers, as is my independent nature. In many ways I think, as strong as I am, she was so much stronger. I’ve often wondered how difficult it would be to see your child and never be able to acknowledge it.
My mom brought me into a fantastic loving family. She was a great parent and as we grew older became my best friend. She introduced me to theater, opera, and writing — things I still love. Who I am today is largely due to her.
Many years ago 2 women set forth a plan for my future. What they decided has affected every aspect of who I am. There are no words to adequately express my love for them both.