Before I was a year old my parents divorced. And not too much later my mom married my stepdad. My stepdad was rough. He became a father influence to not just one but three children. I was 3, my sister 5, and my brother 9. I loved him, but he had a temper. He never physically hurt us. But he liked to yell, and for young kids, it’s scary being screamed at.
Though it took about 12 years, being separated twice, and divorced once, my stepdad turned it around. I guess, technically, he’s not really my stepdad anymore. He helped raise me since I was 3, so yeah, I consider him my stepdad.
He was always there, even the days where he was pissed off at the world. I played basketball for 5 or 6 years, and he was at every practice, every game, scrimmage. He witnessed my very first point scored. You name it, he was there. Whether he actually wanted to be there or not, who knows? But he was there. My mom wasn’t. My mom didn’t see my first point. She didn’t see the blood, sweat, and tears I put into every single second, every single year.
You know what she was there for? My high school graduation. My child being born. My wedding. She is what I call the “big event mom”. Because that’s when she shows up. Not for prom, games, or awards. Not even my first photography showcase. It’s the big, important things that grabs her attention for a few minutes. She makes an appearance, then leaves.
She’s tired, I get it. She’s had a hard life, I get it. Socialization makes her uncomfortable, I fucking get it.
My son is the most important thing in my life. He’s what gets me through the day. He saved me from myself when I was at my lowest point. I honestly don’t know that my mother could say the same for me and my siblings. She’s forgotten birthdays and holidays. She’s only met her 4 month old granddaughter twice, even though she lives just 30 minutes down the road. We’re not her priority. I couldn’t tell you a thing about my mother because I don’t know who she is anymore.
Twenty years from now, Jack may hate me. He may say that I was overbearing, annoying, and I smothered him. I hope he doesn’t, because I don’t plan on being that involved, but he just might.
But he will never say that I wasn’t there. He will never have to be searching for my face in the crowd only to find an empty seat. He will never have to be alone. I refuse to be a big event mom. I am an all hands on deck, 100%, never forget a birthday, always (or mostly) on time, overly prepared, annoyingly caring, EVERY SINGLE EVENT kind of mom.
Both my mother and I became moms at very young ages. And God I know it’s hard. I know what it’s like. We will never understand why God trusted us with children so young. But the difference in us is, I’m embracing this life. I’m trying my damned hardest to love this life. I’m making the best of my life with my kid.
What I don’t get is why she isn’t. Why can’t she see what she has right in front of her? She chose to keep us, to take care of us. It doesn’t end after your kids learn how to walk, talk, and make ramen noodles. It never ends.
Maybe one day I’ll get my degree, become a teacher or a journalist, or whatever path I choose. Maybe one day I’ll do something absolutely amazing. But there’s one thing that can’t be beat.
I am a mother. And that is the greatest, most rewarding thing I’ll ever be.