My mother was 35 when I was born. Nowadays, you throw a sentence like that around, and no one bats an eye. There are women having children well into their 40’s. But back in the seventies, it was a Big Deal.
Mom likes to tell me about how when she was applying to adopt, a perky young social worker came to the house to interview her. The girl was probably fresh out of school, asking my thirty-five year old mother how she was going to handle being an “older” parent, and asking whether she was prepared for the challenges of motherhood.
Nothing, and I mean nothing, prepares you for the challenges of motherhood. Mom was probably ahead of the game, with oodles more life experience than the girls who were pushing kids out before it was legal to pop the cap off a beer. After growing up with my fresh-off-the-boat Irish grandmother (a noble feat for anyone), going to an all-girl’s school, spending seven years as a nun, becoming a nurse, and practically saving the world, my mom was as ready as she could be.
I’ve read a lot about this whole adoption thing, how it can be more difficult for a mother to bond with her adopted child because she hasn’t carried her for nine months. I can only speak to that from my side, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s bull. Seriously, it’s crap. I can’t imagine being closer to my mother.
There’s an intuition that goes along with being a mother. You can’t explain this to people who don’t have kids. I remember when I was a child, there used to be all those Time Life books for sale, about paranormal events. Remember those? There was one on UFO’s, or one on Fairies, things like that. I remember one about ESP, and they had a clip of a mother rushing to the phone before it rang, knowing her son had been in an accident. I’ll attest to that. When Nicholas was in the NICU, he kept having difficulty keeping an IV in his wrist because he was so tiny. The nurse warned me that there was a chance they’d have to start a new one that night, and I asked them to call me (I was still in the hospital) so I could go down and hold him if they needed me to. I’ll never forget waking up at 3am, sitting straight up in my hospital bed, and calling the NICU. They were just prepping him to start the IV. My son needed me, and I went.
A lot of people think this is biological. They’re wrong. I’ll go to the grave saying Mom and I have a psychic connection, and there’s no blood between us. Most days, I only have to think about her, and she’ll call. It’s to the point that it’s sometimes eerie. She calls when I’m sick, she calls when I’m sad. She knows. She’s my mom.
Biology doesn’t matter.
She’s my mom.