This weekend, my older sister, Patty, and I went to see the movie “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again”. We had both wanted to see it and since she only lives a few hours away and we had Saturday free, it seemed like the perfect time! I admit it is sort of a “chick flick”…you know, lots of singing, and dancing, and lovey dovey stuff. However, I was not prepared for the last part of the movie, which was a scene in a beautiful country church where the daughter of the main character was getting ready to dedicate her new little one to Jesus. You see, her mother had dedicated her in the very same church many years ago and had gone through her pregnancy, as well as childbirth alone, and had basically raised her daughter on her own to be a beautiful, smart, loving young lady.
These babies were everything to them…even the mother who did it all alone. It was her most important role…to raise this beautiful daughter she had been given. Even though she knew it wasn’t going to be easy, she saw it as her greatest adventure…And she had LOTS of adventures!
There weren’t too many dry eyes in the theater during this part of the movie, as it was very touching; however, for my sister and me, it probably hit closer to home than it did for most. We were both abandoned by our birth mother when we were just tiny girls…I was only a few months old and Patty was a few years old. Being abandoned by the one person who is supposed to love you the most, and nurture you, and take care of you, is not something you just “get over” and “forget about”. It is always there…in the back of your mind. Underlying. Waiting for an opportunity to remind you that you weren’t wanted…by the one person who should want you the most.
I was too young to remember actually being left by our biological mother, but my sister says she remembers it even though she was only about 2 1/2 years old, as incredible as it seems! She has had skeptics who say that she couldn’t possibly remember something from when she was that young. But I definitely believe her! I have talked to two different therapists about how far back one can have memories and they both say that it is possible to have the ability to recall memories from a very, very young age (even 2 years old), particularly if there was a traumatic experience. My sister told me once, that for several years following her abandonment, if she was out in public with a babysitter or someone looking after her, she would panic if she lost sight of them for fear that she had been “left” once again. She grew up without a mother in her life and while her father was good to her when he was around, he often wasn’t. He was also estranged from his family, so they were not in the picture. Patty had basically no extended family from her birth mother’s side either, because no one knew exactly what happened to her …Until now. Boy, has that made for some happy reunions??
I was blessed with being placed with my adoptive parents at 10 months of age, so I don’t really remember my life before them. I do know one thing I have learned is that simply carrying a baby and the act of giving birth, does NOT, alone, make someone a Mother. My adoptive Mother, MY Momma, did not give birth to me, but I don’t think she could have possibly loved me any more if she had?!
She always made me feel loved. She hugged me. And kissed me. And occasionally, she scolded me, or spanked me, or put me in time out, or later grounded me, when I needed it. She rocked me to sleep and sang me lullabies. She read me story books. She helped me learn to read story books. She made me a special birthday cake every year, even though my birthday was only 2 days after Christmas. She always made sure I got the doll I wanted for Christmas. She made sure my dolls had clothes and blankets and a bed and a baby buggy and bottles and diapers…Everything I would need to take good care of them. She combed and brushed, and later curled my hair on those little pink rollers (which I did hate by the way. LOL!). She painstakingly cut out patterns and sewed clothes for me…sometimes, she made us matching dresses!! Later she took me shopping for clothes and shoes. She worried over me when I was sick or didn’t feel well. She took me to Sunday School and Church and Bible School and Youth Group. She was a room mother at my school and all the kids loved it when she baked cookies for our parties. She later taught me how to bake cookies and how to cook other good food. She taught me how to wash dishes, and do laundry, and clean house. And later she helped me learn to drive. She loved taking care of me. And spending time with me. And teaching me to do things for myself. And encouraging me to do whatever I wanted to do. And she loved my friends and when they came over to visit. And later on she loved my husband. And she loved my kids. And their kids. And she NEVER stopped…Until she passed away 4 years ago.
So those are the things that make someone a Mother…or in my case a “Momma”.
Now, back to that DNA, I wrote about last week. While I have found many family members through DNA, including my birth mother, there are these two ladies, Aunt Nan and Aunt Carol, who are definitely “Mothers”, regardless of what the biological relationship is, they have both welcomed and accepted me and my sister, Patty, into their lives and into their hearts and I am pretty sure they are never letting go! And even though they both already have kids and grandkids and great grandkids of their own, they had room for some more “kids” (big kids) who needed them in their lives! They have done the same for our brother, Michael, who was also abandoned by our biological mother as a young boy and grew up in the foster care system.
You see, Aunt Nan and Aunt Carol didn’t HAVE to do this. It wasn’t their responsibility, but they are MOTHERS…They know how to love unconditionally. And how to make those of us who have been abandoned and rejected, feel accepted, and welcome, and cherished. So to my Aunt Nan and Aunt Carol who have “adopted” Patty and me and our brother, even though we are just a little bit old for that, THANK YOU!! Thank you both from the bottom of my heart (and I feel pretty safe speaking for Patty and my younger brother, Michael). All children, no matter how old we are, still like to feel a Momma’s love!