Editor’s Note: This was first published on April 18, 2017. Sunday is Mother’s Day, and feeling a little nostalgic, I thought it appropriate to post it again.
I had a birthday last week, and it brought to mind two important women in my life. The first was my mother. The second was my mom.
“Huh?” you say. “I thought you said two, women.”
I was born in a very conservative Midwest. At that time, a stigma existed about pregnancy without the 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 two 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 two considered this proposal before they agreed. And, that is how my “mom” came into the picture.
I was raised in a family of four — my mom, dad, and two older brothers. I can’t believe how incredibly lucky I was. Despite a decade and more 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 eighteen.
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 the relationship.
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 the theater, opera, and writing — things I still love. Who I am today is due primarily to her.
Many years ago two 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.