I lost my mother when I was 23 years old to leukemia. She was diagnosed in September; by May, she had passed. That was 10 years ago. I don't think I understood then just what had been taken from me at the time. Sure, no one to send me care packages, no one to call when I needed to know how long to microwave the baked potatoes…but I was, after all, 23. These were things that I could live without or find from another source. In addition to my very loving, very dedicated father, I also have five older siblings. There was plenty of advice to go around.
Our mother-daughter relationship ended as just that: parent and child. We never established a friendship. We didn't get the chance. There were so many things I never knew about her. Questions that you only think to ask your mother when you are going through a life-changing event or hitting a milestone of your own—falling in love, landing your first big job, getting married, giving birth. Forum: Which is harder: marriage or motherhood?
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It wasn't until I hit these major milestones that I began to notice something missing. I single-handedly planned my wedding. And while my father courteously paid for the entire event, I couldn't help but skimp on everything. How could I explain to him that flowers really can cost more than $6.99 a bunch? If only my mom were here, I'd think, there'd be no explaining. Splurge on the table linens? Sure! In the end, I was proud of myself for putting a New York City wedding together all by myself (for $6000!), but I also felt a little sad.
I was not without helping hands. My boyfriend's mother, Marsha, was ready, willing, and able. Anything I needed, she was there. I just couldn't accept the help. When I complained about her to my soon-to-be-husband, the worst insult I could come up with was, "She's too nice." Terrible flaw, isn't it?
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This immature behavior of mine continued, and worsened, as we broke the big news six months after the wedding: I was pregnant. Oh, a grandmother's joy. I immediately felt overwhelmed and territorial by her good-natured attempts. This is my news, I thought. My joy. My moment. I wasn't accustomed to having someone care so much. After 10 motherless years, I had developed an iron-clad self-reliance, which probably wasn't too healthy. Video: How To Get Along With His Mom
With a newborn on the way, I knew the question was fast approaching: "When can we visit?" They were coming from South Carolina, so it would be easy to dodge "Can we be there for the delivery?" but they knew the due date; they could plan a very early visit.