Thursday, May 10, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

My Mom as a baby! What a cutie!

Happy Mother's Day Mom! And to all mothers out there.

Yes it's Mother's Day this Sunday. I'm having the family over to my house to celebrate. My perspective on the day is quite different this year, now that I'm a Mom-to-be. It's still so surreal to me that I'm going to be a mother! I never thought in a million years that I would be.

My niece pointed out "Now you can get Mother's Day cards and gifts!" she then thought about it and added, "but not yet..." Yes it will be a couple of years before my little one will be able to make me a card. I can't wait. I can imagine a little picture drawn with crayons "Happy Mother's Day Mommy!" with awkward little drawings of flowers and faces, words spelled wrong and letters backwards. It makes me tear up just thinking about it (yes, I'm a sap. I blame the hormones. I've always been sentimental but now I'm sentimental to the power of ten!)

My Nana, Mom and Dad

I love this photo of my grandmother (my Mom's Mom), Mom and Dad. They're so glamorous! They look like movie stars. My Mom has always been beautiful and looks very young for her age. She's actually insulted if people don't guess her to be 10-20 years younger than she is (they usually do.) I guess it runs in the family because people think my sister and I look young for our ages too. My Mom has her quirks. She's a shopoholic. She takes forever to get ready to go anywhere. She can't leave the house without her lipstick and earrings. She has about 5,000 purses in every shade under the rainbow, with outfits to match (right down to her shoes and socks, every item of clothing has to match whether it's blue, pink, purple or green for the day!) I used to shake my head and laugh at her for a lot of her idiosyncracies. The scary thing is that now I find myself doing a lot of the things she used to do. I'll catch myself and think "Oh crap. I'm becoming my mother!" I am grateful for some things. She taught me to be organized and to be a good saver. She made me a bargain hunter. She encouraged me to draw and to write, to dance and to sing. She was my first teacher and mentor. I have to admit that I didn't always appreciate my mother enough. We didn't always see eye to eye. (Actually she's 4'11" and I'm 5'7" so we've probably NEVER seen eye to eye!) A lot of the time she drove me crazy. But I love her more than anything and I am grateful to her. These days I'm more grateful than ever. She always used to say "You won't understand until you have children of your own!" I didn't figure I'd ever understand because I didn't plan to have any. I finally get it. I haven't even had my baby yet and already I feel my heart swell up with a love beyond comparison with anything I've ever experienced. And I know that it's worth anything. Sleepless nights, physical discomforts, turning into a beach ball for nine months. I know what it means to be a mother now. To love someone else more than you love yourself. To love them so much that you would do anything for them. I know how strong you have to be to embark on a lifelong journey, caring for a child. No matter how old they are, they are always your child. My baby is due July 23rd. I haven't even met her yet and I'm already feeling this way! It's overwhelming.

Mommy and me!

I feel more affection for my Mom than ever now that I have some idea what she went through. I'm also grateful for how well she took care of me, nurtured me, even before I was born. She said that while pregnant with me, she had a craving for reading. It was strange for her because she always hated reading, but for my sake she did it. She read the ENTIRE BIBLE OUT LOUD while she was carrying me for nine months! She thinks that the words got through to me and that's why I could talk at such an early age, why I excelled in school, always loved writing. I definitely think there's something to it. She was feeding my mind. And she was always there for me growing up. She wasn't perfect. She could be negative and controlling. She's a Scorpio (that's what my baby's father was. Ironically his birthday was two days before hers. Scorpions sting. It's their nature. They don't even mean to. They can be so beautiful and have a deep capacity for love, but they have a dark side. Intensity, possessiveness, viciousness -- they can wound you deeply if you're not careful.) She wasn't easily impressed. I would draw or colour something in and she would say "You could do better." It pushed me to be a straight A student. She can be frustrating. We have had some wicked arguments over the years. Sometimes she infuriates me! But at the end of the day, I love her and couldn't live without her. I talk to her on the phone every day. It was hard to leave her. She tried to keep me in the nest (I didn't move out until I was 36 so she nearly got her wish!) She's always had this power over me. Partly guilt but partly instinct. I need her love. She is the one who inspired me -- to do well in school, to strive to be the best at whatever I attempted. I owe all of my awards to her because it was to try to impress her, to make her proud. I never stopped being her little girl, looking for her approval. She never fully approved of the men I dated. In retrospect, I'm inclined to agree! She was trying to protect me. She wanted the best for her little girl.

Mom and Me, more recently
I always feel a need to tell her everything, good or bad.
She calls every day to make sure that I'm OK. Especially now that I'm pregnant. She has always been a worrier. Neurotic, negative, hypochondriac. She'll call and tell me the latest scare on the news or in the paper. She clips out articles to warn me about this and that. Sometimes she really stresses me out! My Mom doesn't know how to relax. She always seems to think of the worst possible scenario. Yet ironically when something serious happens, she becomes eerily calm and deals with it. It's like she's always prepared for the worst so when it happens, it's not that big of a surprise.  I expected shock and horror when I announced my unexpected pregnancy (after only dating Mike for a month). Instead she and my sister were thrilled. They had always hoped I would have a child one day. Mom said that she was afraid I'd regret it if I never had kids. I didn't even know my biological clock was ticking. It was the furthest thing from my mind, but now I know that it was meant to be and I'm so excited that I'm going to be a Mom. I guess they knew me better than I knew myself. They do know me pretty well. They have been there my whole life.

My sister and my niece

Happy Mother's Day May! My sister is an amazing Mom. She has always been like a second Mom to me. (A more calming, Zen version than our overly neurotic and high strung mother!) May is so warm, so loving, so understanding. She has been there for me to pick me up at some of my lowest moments. She always knows the right words to say to comfort me and put everything in perspective. She's also been there to celebrate my highest highs. She makes me laugh more than anyone and shares my weird sense of humour. We have shared so many inside jokes over the years. More than a sister, she is my best friend in the world. She has been there my whole life. She was admittedly a bit of a tyrant when we were younger. She teased and bullied me (as older siblings tend to do with their younger brothers or sisters) and when she was a teenager I was afraid of her! She was this beautiful, cruel blur that would storm into the house like a tornado and tear up anything in her path. She mellowed over the years. Actually I think it was becoming a Mom that softened her, that made her into the extraordinary person she is. She has raised three bright, beautiful children. She is smart, fun, funny, creative, kind, generous, down-to-earth, honest, reassuring, supportive, understanding, wise. She is my rock. The moments when things looked so dark I couldn't see a way out, she was the voice of reason, the voice of faith, she helped me to believe that it would be OK. She was always able to listen, to really listen and sympathize, without judgment. And she made me laugh even through my tears. You can't help but love her. I am in awe of her.

When I missed my period in November, she was the first one I called. She was the one who told me to get a home pregnancy test and the first one I called with the news afterward. I'll never forget that day (I wrote about it in my first blog post, Expecting Unexpectedly) seeing that YES + pop up in the little window. The moment I realized that my life had changed forever. I was going to be a Mom.

Mom, May and Me

I am so grateful for these two incredible women, my Mom and my sister. I can't imagine life without them. I see them all the time. (Usually once a week.) I talk to them on the phone. When anything happens, they are the ones I need to tell. They are my safe place. I am so lucky to have them in my life. Especially now that I'm about to be a Mom myself I depend on them for their guidance and friendship. I am glad that they will be there for me when I have the baby. I'll be relying on their support and advice every step of the way. There's so much I need to know! They are pros at this. I have no idea what I'm doing! I've read books but nothing compares to real life experience. I can only hope that I can be as wonderful a Mom as they have been. They are very different but they have each raised some extraordinary kids and should be very proud. I love our family. Mom and May are the heart of the family. I love the guys too of course (Dad, brothers and nephews) but as I mentioned in my previous blog post, the bond between women is like no other. These girls are my heart and soul.

People come and go throughout your lifetime. These two have always been there and will always be there. They've accepted me at my worst and helped me to be my best. I admit I'm not always a picnic! I have been a bit of a drama queen through the years. (The angst-ridden goth days of my teens and 20s when my world was painted black.) Bouts of temper. (Hey I'm not only part Irish and part Italian but I'm a fiery redhead and an artist to boot, so what can I say?) But they let me be myself and loved me anyway. I think I have mellowed out over the years. I wouldn't have been ready to have a child before now. I guess God knew that. He waited until I was ready. It seemed like such a strange twist of fate, especially the way it all happened but I believe it was destiny. I'm still terrified. I still don't really feel like a "grown up"! But I have a couple of amazing teachers to get me through. And I will rely on their expertise when I'm stuck. I will probably be calling them at least ten times a day after the baby is born!

The girls and the beach -- my favourite things!

Mom and May, I love you guys more than I can possibly say. No matter what life has thrown at me, it is the two of you that got me through. I am happy that we are so close. It seems that life is always changing and you never know where the next bend in the road may lead, but no matter what, I know that you will always be part of my journey. You will always be my home. The constant, the certainty in my life.

Thank you for being there for me. Thank you for being patient with me. Thank you for loving me when I didn't deserve it. Thank you for teaching me what it means to be a Mom. I only hope that I can be as brave, devoted and loving as the two of you have been and raise a child as wonderful as the ones that you have raised.

Being a mother has got to be the toughest and the most rewarding role that a woman can ever take on. You are responsible for someone's life. You help that child to grow into an adult, to become the person that they are meant to be. More than feeding, clothing and caring for them, you nurture their souls. You teach them what life is, what love is. You share their joys and sorrows. You give them your whole heart.

Mothers, you are angels. Beautiful. Loving. Powerful. You are as close to God as we can get in this world -- you create life. Your love is what keeps the world going. Without you, none of us would exist.

I'm proud to join your ranks. Being a Mom will be the most daring, most important thing I have ever done. I never thought I'd see the day.

Happy Mother's Day to me too!


  1. Ann Marie, what a beautiful wonderful blog!! I love you too!! And you will be an incredible mother. This child will never lack for excitement, creativity and beauty with you. I'm so proud of you, you have so much to offer this child!! Love May xoxox

  2. Thank you. Going to make me cry! xoxoxo