When people ask, I say that my mom and I have always been close. It’s funny, though, when she and my father were going through their awful, drawn out divorce, we had tearful conversations about how hadn’t felt close when I was growing up. But then we went back and read our diaries and found at the time, we actually had always felt close – both writing about going for coffee together, visiting museums, and all our funny jokes that just we shared. Obviously, we had the usual dramas and tears that adolescence brought; at one point I even shouted “you don’t know me and I don’t know you” during a fight, only to laugh about it a couple hours later.
As I’ve grown into adulthood, we’ve stayed close. At some points growing closer together and at others further apart. But we always spoke, we always shared pretty much everything, and we have always based everything on the foundation of loving each other no matter what. Even when we disagree, we can usually at least see where the other person is coming from. We get each other in a profound way, and our relationship has been such a solid part of my life. And having Harley made things even more meaningful for me.
It’s hard to pinpoint when it happened, really. I mean, because we were already close, it’s not like suddenly we started talking more. Our conversations did change when I got home from the hospital. She was so sad, so worried, and had felt so far away when I was going through some of the scariest stuff. And she was so helpful when giving me advice while I was pumping like a mad woman for Harley, or slowly recovering from my own medical hardships. But it isn’t about what she did or didn’t do, it’s about how my own mindset shifted.
I think it started around the time that Harley and I started bonding. I was nursing her one night. I was exhausted, awake in those weird hours of the morning, doing what needed to be done to take care of my kid. But more than that, she was latched on my boob and I was looking down at her as she drifted off to sleep. I think my mom and I had talked about nursing earlier that day, and it just sorta hit me – the love I have for Harley, the moments of bonding, the joy at everything she does… my mom went through all of that with me. I mean, obviously I knew that my mom had raised me, the stories we would compare and all of that, but that moment, that pure love and joy and overwhelming sense of connectedness… she had experienced that same thing with me as a baby.
And it brought so much into focus. Things that I took for granted that my mom did for and with me as a kid, that I always just thought were normal, were so extraordinary and important. The way she would talk to me and my brother about the world, politics, current events, and our day at school. The questions she would ask. The things she went out of her way to have us experience, see, understand. We laugh sometimes when I talk about stuff I remember from when I was a kid, things that obviously she remembers because she was an adult, but that she wasn’t sure what parts might stick for me.
Obviously, motherhood changes everything. It changes how I view the world, how I view myself, how I view the people in my life. I’ve become so much more sensitive to injustice, to the wrongs in the world. I’m so much more aware of just how hard it is to be a mom, how much judgement there is in the world, how many hard decisions you have to make every day, and how difficult it can be to share the best of the world with your little one even when you are tired, hungry or otherwise worse for wear. So yes, becoming a mom has made me realize just how lucky I was (and still am) to have such an incredible woman as my mom.