I grew up in what I like to think of as the most functional dysfunctional family in the world. After taking a few years to sort things out, my father, stepmother, and mother all learned to co-exist peacefully. My mother, like all ex-wives on my father’s side, was welcome at family events.
When I was a senior in high school, she even lived with us for a while.
Now, I love my mother. And I love my stepmother. But this was my senior year in high school, and I was doing that late-adolescence thing where you want to take the training wheels off. When it came time to go visit a prospective college campus and BOTH mothers were slated to attend, I was overwhelmed.
That’s the age, after all, where you think, “I’m practically an adult! I could do this on my own, if somebody would just let me!” (Also, in my case, it would have been helpful to know how to drive.) But instead of being free as a bird, I felt about as free as an egg in a nest with two mommy birds.
I can’t remember which teacher it was, but at some point, I found myself unloading about My Two Moms to one of my female teachers. She listened patiently and then said, “Some day you’ll look back and remember complaining about having TWO women who love you so much that they both want to be a part of this with you, and you are going to feel like an idiot.”
Over the past few years, things have happened with both of my moms that have made me contemplate that unthinkable thought–what if I didn’t have her here? Thankfully, they’re both safe and healthy, but it hasn’t always been the case.
And, being that we are all involved in this crazy busride called life, it won’t always be the case, either.
So to whichever teacher it was, let me just say, yes, you were right. I look back at myself and I know in retrospect that, even though I was just a young nestling yearning for a little independence, I was indeed an idiot.
My books now all tend to feature mothers–mothers who are strong and smart and have made their own mistakes but are, when all is said and done, loving and amazing women who would do anything for their children.
I’m not a mother yet, but when I am one, I’ll know how to make my children feel safe and and smart and creative and capable and strong and secure and, above all, loved.
How could I not? I, who had the best teachers?
Much love to my two mommies (who walked each other down the aisle at my wedding)!
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