Sitting down Monday to write a column for Sunday’s paper regarding Mother’s Day it occurs to me that on Thursday I will be with the woman I met in 1965 and whose friendship I’ve not only treasured all those years since, but that the two of us share a milestone: our very first Mother’s Day as mothers.
Why had I never realized that before? How many years since and it only occurs to me this morning while making the bed?
Turning to my brother’s favorite expression, I wonder, “What’s up with that?”
Did Joanne and I even realize at the time the additional significance for us of the approaching Mother’ Day as we walked our newborns in baby carriages around our neighborhood that sunny May morning 56 years ago?
Would we even have come to know each other if not for these two babies?
One could call it fate.
Realistically, though, it was that age-old quest to turn a profit that brought us to each other.
Homes had recently been constructed on a tract of land adjacent to the street where I lived.
Raised ranches and split levels were sold by the developers for thousands more than the post-war houses on the street that connected the new area to the main road. My four-room house was in the older section, Joanne’s a raised ranch in the new section.
That premise is not etched in stone, and perhaps the two of us would have met eventually in another place and time if we had not lived within baby walking distance of each other.
But we would not have that added Mother’s Day connection to raise our wine glasses to each other when I bring it up during Thursday’s lunch.
There were no young families with children living in my neighborhood. Many were retired with grown children and while “neighborly,” we had little in common. Imagine my elation the day a woman who looked closer to my age and was also pushing a baby carriage walked by me and smiled.
We had both become mothers for the first time the month before. My son was born on April 5th, her daughter on the 13th. We were neophytes and supported each other to build confidence in this, our new role of motherhood. The anxiety we experienced while mixing the babies’ formulas and sterilizing the filled bottles on schedule for Heaven forbid we face the 20-minute cooling down holding a crying baby. Sure, we both had babysat little ones during our teens but another mother had taken care of the prep ahead of time.
We folded diapers watching the debut that year of the soap opera, “Another World,” and while walking our babies our conversations flew from introducing rice cereal or not, projectile vomiting and yesterday’s Horton family drama.
We turned to our mothers for advice and reassurance. But 24-7? You could say that 56 years ago, Joanne and I were on what today is called, “speed dial.” We got better at this mommy business though. By the time we both had a second child, followed by a third and Joanne’s fourth, we pretty much knew what we were doing.
The less difficult aspect of it all, and what eclipses obstacles that can wrap itself around parenting is a mother’s legacy to her child of consistent nurturing and love.
Mothers’ Days have come and gone since our mothers passed on.
Yet their presence in our lives, remains a constant.