My heart aches every time I am at the store or mall with my girls and I see my toddler watching intently at a grandma with her grandchildren. I give my girls everything I can but I cannot give them family in their daily lives. A sad twist of life that my two daughters only have one grandma who lives afar and passes through town for small visits every few months.
At her tender age, my eldest daughter has known, loved and lost two great-grandmas and a foster grandma.
Now being a mom makes me miss mine so much more. There is so much I would have loved to know about when I was as a baby. My time between my mother dying of cancer when I was ten until I finally moved out at sixteen was a very dark and abusive by my father’s wrath. To say I was bitter at my mom for leaving us would be an understatement.
I had a huge village growing up. During my mom’s multiple stays at the hospital, both sets of grandparents would take turns caring for my younger sister and I. We loved it but it was tough not having our mom to do stuff that other moms did. I remember being over at sleepovers and seeing my friends’ moms doing things my mom could not do. My mom could not bake or stand long in her later years due to the side effects of chemo. She did watch me ice skate every chance she got. My mom told me she loved me every day,many times a day. Her favorite line was that she loved us more than a million oceans which I tell to my girls’ daily. I did have to fix dinner some nights when my dad worked and no one could help. I got to watch shows with her late if she did not want to be alone. I think that is why I still love Young and The Restless (her favorite soap) I would play dress up with her vast collection of purses.
The weeks passed by after she died, people stopped coming. Little did I know my mom was the glue that kept her family to us. Her family did not like my dad. My grandparents and aunts had been there to help because they knew that she was on borrowed time. My sister and I were shuttled around for Thanksgivings and Christmas time.
The house seemed very quiet this year at Thanksgiving . Since last Thanksgiving, before our youngest daughter was born, our world lost eight loved ones (four cancers, two heart attacks and two killed). The losses never showed its immense presence until the holidays.
We began the day casually in our pajamas until ten o’clock in the morning. Then it was out for a trip to the park in the gorgeous fall sun. There were no early wake-ups to put the turkey in the oven or no crowded house like the ones we had growing up during the holidays.
I watched Jessie munching away at her peas and carrots in her highchair. Alexa sitting like a big girl, scooping mashed potatoes with her fork into her wide-open mouth. Sitting across from me was my husband of almost seventeen years. Only four dinner settings on our table. I know I should be thankful on our youngest daughter’s first Thanksgiving but I am not. All there is this Thanksgiving are burnt pots on the stove showing evidence of my attempts to make my first Thanksgiving dinner for the four of us.
Our baby (who turns one in eight days) starts to convulse in giggles-the kind that starts from her toes- because her three-year-old sister is making faces. I break out of my pity party and say a silent prayer of thanks for my babies and marriage. Our family is smaller but healthy and happy.
As much as I am the primary care giver from 6:30 am until 5pm and nightshifts, I still need the village that I have. This is what it is like to be a single parent. I do not like it or want it. My village may be small and messy but I will take it. We end up parenting our way with no outside influences. Our village is our home that has no back door.