I can remember the mom I had at Quincy’s. Her name was Becky. She always talked to Marmalade, my imaginary friend, and brought us water and sweet tea whenever we wanted. She had shoulder length blonde hair that feathered back in an early 80’s-Farrah Fawcett sort of way. I liked her.
I had a lot of moms when I was a little girl.
They worked at the post office, the grocery store, and other places around town. I never just picked anybody, either. My standards were pretty high. You had to be nice, warm, and pretty. All of my moms were kind and nurturing just the way a mother should be.
I didn’t know much about mothers, except that I didn’t have a real one.
Whenever I daydreamed about getting one I always pictured my favorite women from TV.
I had a thing for brunettes. (Becky was the exception, I guess.)
If I had been given the choice my dad would have picked Connie Selleca from Greatest American Hero. First runner up? Erin Gray from Buck Rogers.
I did like Caroline Ingalls from Little House on The Prairie, but I already knew they didn’t come like that anymore.
The day I met my new mom I noticed something right away.
She was blonde.
I wondered if my dad had been listening when I told him about Connie?
She was pretty though. And thin. God was she thin. Her blonde hair stretched down to her butt and it sparkled in the sun when she walked through the front door. Even though I wasn’t sure about the new arrangement her rainbow platforms were enough to interest me.
She taught me how to zip up my jeans with a wire coat hanger, make macaroni and cheese from a box, and drink Pepsi for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Maybe blondes were more fun?
Having a mom wasn’t anything like what I was expecting. I had been practicing with my dolls for years and this was nothing like that.
She didn’t read me stories at night or tuck me in like I thought she would. She never hugged me for no reason or invited me to sit on her lap at the end of a long day. She never kissed my boo boos or rubbed my face when I needed a soft touch. She was a suck-it-up-and-get-over-it kind of mom.
She was hard and I never felt like I had a soft place to land.
Our home never smelled like fresh baked cookies or homemade lasagna, but my mom worked hard. Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” was like her theme song. She couldn’t bake, but man could she type!
We never formed a strong bond with each other and I grew up watching her have a natural connection with her biological children that only reminded me I didn’t have one.
It wasn’t her fault. In fact, she made great efforts to call us a family. She went out of her way to say things about me being her daughter, telling strangers that my natural tan was a result of her drinking too much chocolate milk when she was pregnant with me. This was always equally awkward for me and the strangers, but her intentions were good. I know she loved me, but it’s never been what I expected.
Years later I met my birth mother.
I faced fears and family drama to do it, but I was going to meet my mother.
The reunion was nothing like what you would think. There were no gushing tears or long embraces at baggage claim. Just an awkward trip to Applebee’s at midnight. It took a little while to get used to the idea of being around her.
That weekend I learned two things about my birth mom.
1. She smelled delicious and 2. We shared the same obnoxious laugh.
It’s been about 7 years since I met her. We don’t have a strong bond and she’ll never be my soft place to land, but I’m glad I know her.
The word mother has many meanings for me, but now that I’m the mother it only has one that’s really important.
Now I’m supposed to be the soft place to land.
Now I’m the one who needs to give a hug for no reason, kiss boo boos, and reach out with a gentle touch.
It means everything that I’m afraid of being and everything I want to be.
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