Mother-a-tude-a-thon: day 2044: HERE’S TO YOU

 

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My mom. Miss her every single fucking day. Seriously.

 

Happy day of the mother to all of you mommies! To the biological mom’s, the adoptive mom’s, the mom’s of spirit, support and encouragement, the mother’s who have never given birth, but know how to mother, the dog moms, the cat moms, and ok, the guinea pig moms too, the moms who’ve gone onto a better place, where there is endless blue skies and no whining.

 

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To mother well is to be totally and utterly fearless.

 

Mothering is a special talent, which has not a thing to do with your womb. Those who do it well know how to love with compassion–unconditionally and truthfully. They are fearless and good at making the hard decisions and disseminating massive hugs when needed. They know how to stand silently in support, and cheer loudly when celebration is in order. Despite exhaustion, they are tirelessly right there. And like we all know, showing up is at least half of it.

People often say things like, “I miss my mom every day.” And it sounds ridiculous and a little bit contrived and completely impossible. But I am one of those people. And it surprises me, but I have actually thought of my mom, Luigina Constantina Gabriela Rotello Friedman every day since she has been gone–more than 25 years ago. She was loving and funny and spunky. She had grit and grace and an eternal optimism. She was beach and garlic and grateful. Her Italian roots run through me and her fight to move forward in the face of gloom are always reminding me to do the same. She was, in short, everything and I will never quite get over that my kids never got a chance to meet her.

 

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My first picture as a mom–blurry, but so grateful to have it.

 

But I see her sometimes in my daughter’s laugh, in my son’s nimble ability to talk to virtually anybody. I see her in the mirror a lot lately, as my aging face reminds me of hers.

 

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A proud mom moment–my son graduating from USC two days ago. A pretty awesome mother’s day gift.

 

For me, becoming a mom has been like getting a PhD in humanity and humility. I am at once bowled over to have gotten the role, and shocked at its immensity and complexity. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, no matter what I do or have ever done, it is nothing compared to being a mother to my two my kids.

To all mothers, wherever you are, whoever you are, however you found yourself in the role, pat yourself on the back today and know that you are loved.  And know, that in our crazier and crazier world, your light is needed more than ever.

 

gratitude-a-thon day 870: the mother of all mothers

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My mom has been gone for a long, long time. More than two decades. She died at 73 from lung cancer, which you almost never get unless you smoke. But smoking was “glamorous” when she was a growing up. Turned out to be the most unglamorous death you can imagine.

It’s been 23 years, and still if I had a wish, it might be to just spend one more day with her. She was warm, and could make friends with the most unlikeable people. She was a natural born reporter, and could get anybody to spill their secrets in the span of five minutes. She was a killer cook. She was most at home at the beach. She was absurdly optimistic. She was HYSTERICALLY funny.

I miss her everyday. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Seriously, 23 years later, and I think of her at least once a day.

But she was a great match for me–a champion of everything I did. She is 90% of the reason I could be a halfway decent mom myself. I realize how fucking fortunate I was to get that one, that mom, and to have had her as long as I did. Whatever brought us together will never pull us apart. She was something, Luigina Constantina Gabriella Rotello Friedman.

gratitude-a-thon day 389: dear mom

This is a reblog. I wrote it a few Mother’s Day’s ago. But it’s still true. And I still miss her madly, and still think about her every damn day. Love you, mommy salami. xo

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She was so cute, my mom. She might be where I got my love of dogs, too.

 

Dear Mom,

It’s been a long time since we’ve celebrated mother’s day together. It’s been exactly 22 mother’s days, in fact. It’s amazing that you’re still dead. And I gotta tell you, it’s really a bummer. No, really, that dying thing sucked. Don’t do that again.

I actually think of you every day. Isn’t that kind of amazing? There I am with my “to do” list,” sitting at the computer doing work, cooking, or driving, and boom, your face will pop into my mind, your long fingernails painted misty mauve, your uniquely “you” smile that only got better with age, your passion for bargain shopping. I think of  your optimism, your wit, your aptitude for throwing together a meal that could have been served in a restaurant, your laugh. I think about how you embraced getting older with the same kind of joy a middle-of the-night bottle gives to a screaming baby.

You were really good at loving me. In fact, you gave me so much love that I’m now able to give it to other people. You put up with my teenage arrogance/confusion/Sybil-like behavior with a kind of grace that’s hard to come by. You took me to all those ballet lessons, up those three flights of stairs, and shared all those post-pirouetting Big Macs with me. You created a summer tradition by finding that little house on the Cape and bringing me there for a month every summer, offering me some of the best and happiest memories I have. But mostly, MOSTLY, mom,  you assured me that whatever was wrong could be solved and that if I tried to do something, I could. With a difficult dad (and here was your major flaw–you should have left him), you tried to give me what I needed to go out there in the world and be ok. I know it wasn’t easy for you. I knew then, but I know better now, as an adult and a mom, just how difficult this must have been. And I know you mustered all your strength because you wanted me to be more than you. It’s funny, because all these years, I have longed to be as much as you.

I hate that you never got to meet my children as much as I hate racism, climate change and liver. Sometimes I think about what I’d give to have a chance to introduce you to them–I cook up all sorts of wacky scenarios in which I’d trade a shortened life span, my house, an inability to lose weight just to be able to give you and my kids a day with each other. But they know you, through me and through themselves, because you show up in all sorts of way, all the time. Ally has your sense of humor. Jake has your compassionate ear. And all three of us love to eat and laugh. But I will never quite get over the ridiculous and cruel fact that you didn’t get to experience these magical grandchildren of yours. It seems impossible that the timing just didn’t synch up, and you missed each other.

Well, anyway, happy mother’s day. I know you’re around, in my flower arrangements and my sauce, my keen ability to get a designer label at half price, and my crazy love for my kids. I miss you. Like, a lot. I wish you could stop by today and give me a hug. Anyway, just know that I’m thinking about you today. Just like I do every day.

xoxo