Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day, Part 1

Once again, Happy Mother’s Day to all who mother.

I attribute my happiness in life to having a wonderful, supportive mother. She never berated, belittled, or criticized. Rather, she nurtured the very best in all her children and was unfailingly on our side. This doesn’t mean she condoned bad or inappropriate behavior -- not at all. Her standards were high; her love was unconditional. She made being a mother look so effortless that when I had my first child I accused her of making parenting seem too easy.

It wasn’t.

Married to a workaholic school administrator, she was a stay-at-home mom who forged a decades-long writing career that has resulted in more than 50 published novels.

She is my mother, my writing partner for the last 20+ years, and my best friend.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

Happy Mother’s Day, Part 2

In addition to being a daughter, I am also a mother. An old mother by my reckoning, married at the tender age of 22 and a first-time mom five days shy of my 31st birthday. Had my second son when I was pushing 36.

They turn 16 and 21 this year, so you can do the math.

Unlike my mother, I sadly run a loose(r) ship. Like my mom, I endeavor always to be supportive and value the importance of children stretching their wings.

The other night my older son, Erik, was packing for a train trip East. After a layover in Chicago, he’ll arrive in Pittsburgh, take a Greyhound to Morgantown, WV, liberate his girlfriend’s car and drive to Baltimore to pick her up from college.

I must have asked him half a dozen times if he had packed his tickets.

Like his father, Erik is a transportation junkie. Trains are his preferred mode of travel and his interest in locomotives started at an early age. From “The Little Engine That Could” to Virginia Lee Burton’s better-than-Mike-Mulligan’s-steamshovel “Choo-Choo” to all things “Thomas the Tank Engine,” Erik was a train aficionado.

Of course he had packed his tickets.

I explained to him I feel like I need to catch up on some ‘hover mothering.’ He had come home from his ‘final’ final that same day and announced he’s now a senior in college.

Huh? Seems like only yesterday we were winging to Germany to visit him during his high school exchange year. His little brother, Andrew, is nearly done with his sophomore year of high school.

Erik will be back in a couple weeks, then he’s off again (this time to NYC for a university writing workshop) – via train.

In the fall, he’s hoping to do another study abroad (he studied in Germany again in college). Eventually he’s going to go for good.

Then it will be Andrew’s turn. But it won’t be a totally empty nest since we’ll still have Grandma, thank goodness.

Somehow I recall knowing when I held my tiny (at six pounds we called Erik a ‘little monkey baby’) firstborn son in my arms that long-ago December in northern Arizona, when it was so cold there was snow on the southern cacti, I wouldn’t get to keep him forever.

I just didn’t know the time would come so soon.


  1. Kids do grow up so fast. I had my last one when I was 34 1/2. It is great that you still have your mother and that you work together. I send you late Happy Mother's Day wishes!

  2. Pam,

    I might have had my kids a bit earlier, but no matter how old you are, it's tough to watch them start to move away from you and onto their own lives. It's also exciting, knowing the baby you once held in your arms is now taking off (by train, bus or plane...) Enjoy the ride!

    And you're so lucky to have your mom!


  3. Loved reading this post. I had a great mother too. I learned from a pro. And I don't think any of us know how hard it is until we get to motherhood ourselves. Whew. And grandmothering too as I'm learning. Love the pic of the little you. Adorable.
    Happy Belated Mother' s Day. I've been off line due to babysitting. Whew, mommy's home!!!