My Act of Motherhood: I kiss you good-bye. And then I cry.

Sunday is Mother’s Day. I’ve never celebrated Mother’s Day as a mother. However, this weekend I will take the stage in St. Louis, Missouri, and tell my story of being a mother. I will begin by talking about the yellow outfit I dressed my baby boy in for his trip home from the hospital. I will talk about how the social worker came to the hospital to take him home—to a foster home, with a foster mom. Recalling that day, I say to my son, “I kiss you good-bye. And then I cry.”

I was 19 years old, a college student, and unmarried. The year was 1982—the era of Reagan’s attack upon the Welfare Queen. This was long before the days of “Murphy Brown” and Miranda of “Sex and the City.” Being a single mother in 1982 was neither a popular option nor a lifestyle choice likely to garner much support.

Still, I loved my son more than I ever thought possible. And more than anything else in life, I wanted to be his mother. After a very heartbreaking struggle to try to keep him, I finally gave him up for adoption. Another woman raised him as her own. As he was growing up, when he celebrated Mother’s Day, it was this woman—faceless and nameless to me—who received his hugs, kisses and cards on this special day.

Thirty-two years have passed. While there is so much more to this story of me and my son, for now I just want to write about this particular Mother’s Day, when I will claim my motherhood to an audience that will span from the auditorium at St. Luke’s Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri to the global audience of You Tube. I titled my story, “Mothering You, My Son” because I believe that giving him up for adoption was an act of motherhood. And I thank the courageous and creative women of “Listen to Your Mother” for also recognizing it as an act of motherhood, and inviting me to be a part of their show.*

These 32 years have given me the luxury of perspective. It has also allowed the story to unfold. My son is now 31, married and a father. On this Mother’s Day, I will send his wife a card wishing her a day full of hugs and kisses and Mimosas. And my heart will sing with happiness as I think of their little girl, my granddaughter. I will also feel deep gratitude as I think of his adoptive mother—a generous-hearted woman whose own act of motherhood enabled him to become the very fine person he is, and enabled me to continue to mature from the girl I was into the woman I am today: a birthmother who can get up on stage and tell her story of motherhood.

 

*Special thanks to the Co-Directors and Co-Producers of Listen to Your Mother - St. Louis:

Naomi Francis

www.mastereventsplanner.com

Ellie S. Grossman

www.mishegasofmotherhood.com

Laura Edwards Ray

www.braindeadlaura.com

 www.listentoyourmother.com/stlouis/

 

 

 

 

 

“So… I noticed you let your blog go.”

Sadly, yes. I created this space mired in the excitement of turning 50 years old. I envisioned it as a place to narrate the countdown to the big day – August 23, 2012—and the adventure that the first year of claiming “50” promised to be.

What happened? Life happened.

 As promised, I had fabulous celebrations to mark the big day. To the consternation of some, I hosted and paid for them myself. But, hey… I figured a woman of this age should take the bull by the horns, so to speak, and create the celebrations she wants to have to mark her big day. I had an excellent time! And I think my friends did too. The pics speak for themselves. Brews were imbibed, at both 44 Stone and The Broadway Brewery. And we danced to the soundtrack that my music-loving friend, Elizabeth, made for the celebration. Looks like a revival meeting but it’s really just friends celebrating a woman of a certain age!

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Then life happened.

  • The demands of my MFA program swept in like a big wave. (I graduated this past January!)

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  • I became a Grandma. (For this Grandma, it has meant more psychological work than anything else, as I’m still getting used to the idea of being a mother.)

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  • I bought a new house. (Gave up the 1929 Arts and Crafts bungalow for the 1955 walk-out ranch tucked away in the woods at the end of a cul-de-sac.)

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  • I lost a very dear friend to breast cancer.

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Perhaps these are just the usual kinds of things that happen after a woman turns 50. Perhaps this is exactly what turning 50 is all about. So, I let my blog go. Yes—my blog and a few other things, too. But I’m back. Stay tuned!

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Turning 50: How to do it?

Everything becomes a metaphor for turning fifty. Even this blog. I’m obsessed with it. First I couldn’t stop looking at it, examining it in all its beauty and grandeur. Then it sort of became ordinary looking to me, lost its sparkle. Finally, it wasn’t enough; it needed more. But what? Posts? Pics? Pages? Pizzazz?

I returned to WordPress and studied and studied and studied. I’m determined to do this right.

Well, then I got really wild. I figured out what a widget was. Suddenly it felt like the sky was the limit. The world was my oyster. I created a widget for a category cloud. Never mind that I haven’t figured out how to create any categories yet. (What I really want to create is one of those fancy squares full of words in all different typesets in all different sizes. I just like the way they look and I could think of such cool words.)

But wait, it gets better. I figured out how to upload my Goodreads bookshelf. Now I was really cooking! I even opened up a new Goodreads account just for the purpose of collecting books that focus on the wonders of middle age women (things like books on how to deal with menopause, novels about David Cassidy, picture books about other women’s lives). Oh but wait, Dear Reader… it gets even better. I created a new Page! Oh yes. I was so enamored with my new Goodreads bookshelf that I figured it deserved a whole page of its own. “Books for the Journey” I’m calling it. I love that name. Well, I wish I could say the same about html, but alas, I can’t. And I’m working really hard to be frank and honest as I approach this milestone birthday. If I don’t like something I want to say I don’t like it and not pretend that I do. I don’t like html. I managed, however. I figured out how to upload the code well enough to create a page that displays my books. In one long, lonely column. I love every single book on that page, but they really deserve to be displayed in a more aesthetically pleasing way. And I’m wracking my brain trying to find another format or theme that will give them what they deserve.

I won’t even go into my search for a countdown clock that captures days, hours and seconds. Still, I’ll keep trying to figure this blog thing out.

Just like I’ll keep trying to figure out this fiftieth birthday thing. Some days I’m enamored with the idea that I’ll be 50 in two short months. I’ve become one of those obnoxious women in the grocery store line who insists on telling the clerk who doesn’t card me just how old I’ll be come August 23rd. I study her face for any little sign of shock. (Sometimes I’m satisfied. Sometimes I’m not. Intermittent reinforcement is the most effective kind for encouraging repeat behaviors.) Other days, (like today), I look at photos of myself and wonder when I got these hips and thighs and that slightest suggestion of my father’s jowls. But I digress…

So here I am, a woman on the precipice of her 50th birthday trying to do a blog about it. Dear Readers, please be patient. I’ll keep trying to figure all this out and hopefully make it worth your time to come visit once in awhile. Surely it can’t be too painful and hopefully the final product will be a thing of beauty to behold. One can only hope.

P.S. I’m shamelessly soliciting advice, suggestions and requests—on both the blog and the birthday.

 Ideas? Thoughts? Anecdotes? Antidotes?

 All will be accepted and considered, with deep gratitude.

 ~AnnB.