For the Women Who Mother Me
But that idea began to shift a year and a half ago. I remember the day the shift began: I had been dumped the night before, and was a sobbing disaster. On top of the heartbreak, I was also freaking out about a major project I had procrastinated on at my job. I was immobilized from stress, anxiety, rejection. I had to declare emotional bankruptcy.
I called Betsy. Growing up, I lived off and on with Betsy and her family while my dad worked overseas as a chemical engineer. Betsy didn’t pick up the phone, so I called my cousin Sara. I met my cousin Sara–who is more like an aunt–when I was nineteen; she and her family are relatives on my mom’s side. We spoke for a while, and she helped me calm down. When Betsy called me back, I explained through tears the break-up, the mess at work, and how I just didn’t know what to do.
“It’s okay,” said Betsy. “This is mom stuff.” It was a category I had never considered before: conversations that are best suited to talking through with your mother. She made me realize how many conversations with my mom I had missed–but more than that, Betsy was saying that I could have those conversations with her.
There are important women in my life who have mothered me, whom I could call in the middle of the night with something like this, or anything else. Betsy and Sara and others–family friends, friends of my mother’s, women I’ve met in more recent years.
And Betsy is right. Sometimes we have mom stuff. While I’ve spent a long time concentrating on not having a mom, now I also try to concentrate on the thought of the women who are looking out for me, helping me get through the mom stuff.