I Am Not A Mother

When I was a little girl, I would come home from church on Sunday after noon and after peeling off layer after layer of itchy scratchy dress and understuff, I would come down to my slip. My silky, soft white slip. Sometimes I would pull it all the way up under my skinny arms into my armpits and pretend that I was wearing a very glamorous strapless gown. I might even add a piece of jewelry, or stick a flower behind my ear, or grab a clipboard and pretend I was Julie McCoy.

More often that not, I pulled that long white slip up over my head to where the elastic just fit around my face at the hairline. And I pretended to be Mother Theresa.

That’s not even remotely true. But it sounds better than…I pretended to be a bride.

It’s true. I played bride more than anything else. I used to get my mom’s old frothy nighties and flounce around the house carrying some hard plastic bouquet of flowers that were crusted in dust and smelled like old people. I loved it.

I always thought it would be the easy path I would take. It seemed so natural then…it seemed so easy to believe that the girl with the freckles, and the big ears and the continuous string of unfortunate perms…would grow up and find love and become a momma.

The first man that proposed to me…well let’s just say the words weren’t even finished hanging in the air before we’d picked out the colors and settled on who would be in our wedding. Looking back, clearly this wasn’t a relationship based in any kind of reality or truth. I mean, he (my hand to God on this one) really at one time wanted to be Batman.  I started listening to Morrissey to impress him. And while the Dark Knight always has been and always will be my favorite super dude to play dress up…there’s only so much of that music I could take before I started eating my own hair. I did love it though, and listen with fondness now.

 

The second man that proposed to me…I married.

He made me laugh. I followed him to college, and had what became one of the most defining times of my life. But we were young, and it’s been several lifetimes since I’ve been called Wife. We had started to seriously think about a baby.  Thank God we didn’t follow through with that genius plan.

I used to yearn for a child. The want in my heart and in my body was so real, that I used to talk to it. It kept me company. It filled me with hope.

someday.

someday.

I used to pray that God would give me a child. But I wanted that child to come with a father. A father that wouldn’t leave. I didn’t want to do this alone. I’ve been a first hand witness to how difficult that was and never thought myself strong enough to handle the task alone.

I then began to pray that God would just give me peace.  That He would replace that want with a purpose and the energy to forge ahead. Ride this trail that I never thought I’d be on. Seek new adventures and quit thinking about how I will never have anyone to pass down MeMe’s Desert Rose china to.

It was an amazing day when I realized that my prayers have been answered. Not in the removal of a want…but in the addition of sweet beautiful faces.

I’ve been given Hayden and Holden.

Jack Ryder and Huddy.

Ally and Asher and Baby Anniston.

Peyton Ruth and Jantzen.

Aubrey and Karlie.

Lily Kate and Nate.

Gabe and Riley and Tanner the Magnificent.

Kory and Alli

Jake and Jamie

Isabelle.

My heart splits wide open each time I see their faces, or hear their laughter, or listen to a joke or watch a magic trick or pull a finger and make fake fart noises. I laugh till I cry at their serious dance moves and worry and fret at what will face them with each new day. I’ve bought my weight in cookie dough, been there for births, seen the prom pictures, sat through dance recitals, graduations and weddings as well as slept at the hospital, rejoiced at birthdays, and applauded at performances.

I realized that one doesn’t have to be RELATED to play an important role.

I think back to the women in my life, in addition to my mother, that helped to form and shape me into the woman I am today.

My mother taught me that I could be anything and do anything I wanted to.

MeMe taught me that strength need not always show up with fanfare, that the most courageous thing I could do was to try.

Mary has taught me so much about faith and what that means in this life and how it can sustain us.

Carla (Auntie) taught me about ABBA. Lacy J Dalton. blue cheese dressing and All My Children.

Carla (Nonna) taught me about Robert Redford in The Way We Were. She took me to see When Harry Met Sally. She taught me grace and dignity.

Ma taught me that opening my mind also meant opening my heart. That it wouldn’t always feel pleasant and nice, but in those moments we find something even better. She taught me not to just follow my bliss…to chase after it.

Those kids up there? I’m only related to two of them, but they all are part of my family. Part of my ever sustaining tribe. I am graced by their presence in my life and can only hope that I may someday be an important person in theirs. I don’t mourn the path not taken…very often. I’m happy with where I am and that I have the ability to love so many.

So on this Mother’s Day…I wish you well. I wish you love and light. Be you a parent, or be you someone like me.

I am not a mother.

But I do dress up like one on occasion.

16 thoughts on “I Am Not A Mother

  1. Very touching. I would be honored for my kids to have ever had anyone else to love them, and teach them, inspire them, share moments good and bad with them. Alas, we moved from family through a military life and all they have known is us, in all our
    glorious mistakes and fumbles to “be enough” and show them they are always enough. I used to love the days i sent my son to school and was allowed to observe the class and him in action. I knew I couldn’t be his everything, and my heart would burst with love to see him be inspired by someone else, by situations outside myself. I have mourned more than once the fact that they, who are so dear to me, would not have others love them perhaps for none other than egotistical biased “personal love”. I have feared more than once that I, with all I lack, would be the only and
    main influence on these precious little people. I’m a person who believes in percentages in development. If I screw up 25% of the time it can be ok if balanced 75% of the time. Except sometimes I mess up more than that, and in the end, we have no one else to balance out my mistakes and limited points of views. I’m even allowing my oldest to go to boarding school, so that beyond academic challenge and lessons, he can experience, for once, friendships that last more than 2 years (and bond deeply), and adults with experience to share and care to give, who genuinely care, (or are masters at pretending they do).

    Some people pay for that kind of love and support. Some may never experience it. The wee ones in your life are indeed fortunate and blessed as it sounds you are.

    Happy Mother’s Day.

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  2. It’s an interesting day to not be a mother, isn’t it? Thank you for your words. Your life and the way you live it inspire me. There are many with husbands and children who, I swear to you, Misti (and I’m certain you must know this) are not living as full a life as you. Love ya!!!

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  3. Just beautiful and making me teary eyed. I still get emotional about the whole Mom thing after 5 years. Anytime you want kid time, head down here – though ours doesn’t aspire to be a bride or a mom, just a grandma, firefighter, and snake killer.

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  4. I thought about you yesterday … Alot. Nothing major, just little things popping into my head. I thought about the importance you play in my life, and the different ways you help each one in my family. I think someone asked how long we’ve known each other and even Ringo said, “…. I forget that it’s been THAT long.”. Your name is brought up at our dinner table weekly, your prescence is requested each weekend, “Can Misti come over?!?”. So yeah, it DOES take a village! Happy Mothers Day!

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  5. Oh, but honey you are a mother…to Stormy Soprano, Kikimama, and Lil’ Black Sambo. So your poopy diapers have been replaced with a few trails of feathers leading to loving bird gift that may or may not still be alive…and an occasional beheaded squirrel. They give and receive love and keep the maternal instinct burning. Your four legged kids are blessed to have you as their provider of shelter and food. And, quite frankly, sometimes furbabies are just easier and better. I mean, come on, real children would not soothe your sickliness by licking your toes! purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

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  6. Wow! That was truly beautiful, Misti! You’re a beautiful person and any kid would be blessed to have you in his life.

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  7. Wow. Even though we dont get the chance to talk or really communicate much, this merits you knowing I think you are a strong, courageous woman. How blessed are those kids and families you mentioned……you will make a difference in their lives, and because of your involvement and love who knows what they will become!

    Proud of the wonderful woman u are sister.

    love you
    Sherrilou

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  8. I squished myself into the inside of the booth at brunch yesterday and surrounded myself with the three kids in attendance. I cut up disgusting banana pancakes with my very own knife that might touch my food later. That is love. It was awesome. Wouldn’t spend the day or my life any other way.

    All your kids are lucky to have you.

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  9. Wonderful writing. Wonderful.
    Very reflective of how you have made your life your own… and how blessed we all are… adults and children alike to be a part of it.

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  10. oh that’s gorgeous! thanks so much for sharing it, and i hope every one of those kids realizes someday what you’ve given them! best ever gifts, for sure.

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  11. After watching the news and reading the horrible things on the Internet that people (parents and strangers) do to kids, you have just given me hope that there are more people like us than them. Our stories just don’t make it to PrimeTime. Keep doing what you’re doing. It matters!

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  12. Gabe told me about this post at lunch today. I think she was flattered to be included in your list. She also said you didn’t strike her as “the marrying type.” That’s the greatest compliment she can bestow, FYI. 😉

    “You are a presence full of light upon this earth, and I am a witness to your life and to its worth.” My Mountain Goats always know what to say…

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