Being A Mom Without A Mom

Earlier this summer, I fed my daughter in the picnic area of the park. After watching my husband push my son on the swings for a few moments, I noticed a young mother sitting at picnic table next to me. She was feeding a baby close to my daughter’s age. An older woman, who I assumed was the young woman’s mother, fussed over a little boy close to my son’s age.

I quietly watched them as my daughter drank her milk. When the baby started to fuss, the young woman asked with exasperation, “What do I do?” Her mother immediately picked up the baby and gestured to her daughter. “Go take Jake to the playground.” The young woman’s weary face lit up.  “Are you sure?”

“Absolutely,” the older woman said, as she rubbed the wailing infant’s back. “I have this.” The young woman and her son smiled at each other and rushed off to the playground, while the older woman walked around the picnic area, trying to soothe the baby.

I felt a pang of envy as I looked at my own infant daughter. I don’t have anyone to do that for me. My mother passed away several years ago. And while I don’t begrudge any woman for having her mother, I wish my mother was still around for so many things.

I wish my mother knew that she had a grandson. After a year in hospice care, she died when my son was six weeks old. My mother had two daughters. She doted on all of her nephews. It would have thrilled her to have a grandson. Although I brought my son to visit her one time, near the end of her illness, I don’t know if she remembered that visit.

I wish my mother knew that she had a granddaughter. My little girl already comports herself like a lady. She is very much like her grandmother. Just as beautiful and feisty. Each smile is sweet and each gesture is graceful. My mother once told me that she “bossed people around with a smile.” She would have adored her tiny doppelgänger.

I wish my mother had brought me food when I first delivered the babies. She was the most amazing cook I’ve ever met. My mother could just taste something at a party and recreate it at home without at recipe. It would have brought her so much joy to whip something up in the kitchen and bring it over to my house when she visited her new grandchild.

I wish I could have called my mother when I was freaking out about the babies.  She would have known exactly how to calm my fears and assure me that everything would be okay.  Instead, I relied on Google, friends and any parenting book I could purchase.

I wish I could have cried on my mother’s shoulder when I felt like I was a failure as a parent. Or on those days when I felt so lost and alone. She would have listened to me and more importantly, really UNDERSTOOD me. No one understands you like your mother does.

I wish my children had one more person in their lives who thinks that they’re perfect. Someone who finds their temper tantrums adorable and plays Candy Land twenty times without appearing bored. My mother was an artist, who taught me how to draw flowers. She would have been so proud of her grandson’s blossoming artistic abilities. In my dreams, I see the two of them hunched over a table, as my mother guides my son’s hand along the paper.

But most of all, I wish I could tell my mother how much I admire and respect her. I never realized what an amazing woman she was until I had children. My mother juggled raising two small children, managing a household, and putting herself through school to obtain a master’s degree in clinical psychology. She devoted her life’s work towards helping the most challenging people in society:  prisoners and the mentally ill.

Each day I look into the faces of my children and feel my mother’s presence. I see her sweetness in my daughter’s smile and her fire in my son’s eyes. I hope that wherever her spirit lies, she knows that I am proud to be her daughter.

15 thoughts on “Being A Mom Without A Mom

  1. baaacnguyen says:

    This is and forever will be, a beautiful article. I definitely teared up as I read through this – you make me want to call my mom just because to tell her that I love her. Just from the way you write about your mom, one can only assume that you are an amazing one yourself and you probably have more of your mom’s tendencies as a mom in you than you know. Continue to write & I would love to continue to follow and read.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. dhanya Vani Rao says:

    Beautiful, Taara… this is a beautiful tribute to your mom. You should know that you are doing a fantastic job raising your kids, even though you don’t have your mom helping you each step. She would have been so proud of you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Taara Donley says:

      Awww….. Thank you, Vani. I really appreciate that you took the time to read and comment on this. I hope you guys are all doing well. It would be great if all of us could get together and catch up over the holidays! Will you be around?


  3. Angelia Brooks says:

    I so needed this article today. I lost my mom 3/25/12 after a 5 year battle of cancer. The wounds are still fresh. The holidays make me think of her more than the average day to day. Thank you for sharing this article, you hit everything I have dealt with during my grieving process. After many years of home health, hospital stays and hospice I find most of my friends just don’t understand. I get the envious jealousy of my friends with their moms during the holidays, and things I do with my 4 kids. Or during my daughter’s cheerleading events, I was a competitive dancer and my mom was my sidekick. It gets easier,, then bam something reminds you of mom and the emotional roller coaster takes over. This is a club that isn’t fun . Only a few understand it all. Thank you again for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Taara Donley says:

      Hi Angelia, thank you for taking the time to read my article and post a comment. I am very, very sorry for the loss of your mother. It’s brutal to watch someone you love suffer for so long and then have to let them go to free them from such suffering. Yes, I agree. We are both members of an unfortunate sisterhood. I hope you find comfort, as I do, from seeing your mother in your children. Know that you are not alone. Sending you a hug.


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