My mother was born to a 17 yr old who's boyfriend was enlisted in the U.S. Navy. She was the first born to my young grandparents, Bonnie and Melvin, who had little to nothing figured out. By the time my grandmother was 19, she was married, graduated from high school, had a job, and was a mother to 2 children. Melvin eventually wasn't in the navy anymore and worked full time as a garage door installer. He would tell you every place he installed a garage door or what kind of garage door you had installed in your home. My grandparents grew up on the ghetto side of the city and raised my mother there for a couple years. By the time her brother was born, they had moved three times and eventually bought a house in the country. My grandmother was the middle child of 10 children and my grandfather the first son of 4 children. Together they raised 4 kids before Bonnie was 25 years old and they both worked full time. My mother, 2 brothers, and her little sister. Bookend girls who were 7 years apart and became best friends.
When my mother was 16 yrs old she met a boy who was a junior in high school and played for the hockey team. He was dating the snottiest girl in school, and when he walked by my mother in the hall, he winked at her behind his girlfriend's back. After that girlfriend broke up with the boy, he took my mother's best friend out on a date, changed his mind, and started dating my mother. One breakup before prom, graduating high school together, and dating for 6 years later...My mother married her high school sweetheart at the age of 23. For a couple of years they went on adventures, honeymooned in Florida, drank beer up at the cabin with their friends, and built a house on 5 acres. Five days before my mother turned 26, she gave birth to me on the snowiest day of the year. My parents brought me home in a blizzard and started a whole new life experience together. My mother was meant for motherhood. It was her calling, her destiny to raise a family with her loving husband at her side. My parents gave me a sister when I was 18 months old and we were best friends ever since. I remember my mother doing the dishes, and teaching us how to sing our ABC's. I remember her makeup-less face when I had a nightmare and woke up in her bed. I remember her getting the privilege to stay at home and raise me. I remember going to church every Sunday and her talking on the phone for hours at a time.
I remember staying with friends for 9 days because my mother was in Africa with my dad, and crying because I had never been gone from her that long in my entire life. I remember my mother always getting up and getting ready in her blue robe. I remember her pretending she was good at singing while she mopped the kitchen. I remember the toys she helped me pick up after playing with them all day. That was her job. My mother was "the mom". The mom everybody knew. Everybody looked up to. Who raised beautiful children. Who kept her life busy and messy but it was perfect. The one who taught morals and kept the neighbors kids in line to protect her own kids. She was the glue that kept everything together because her husband had chronic headaches his whole life. Together they lost their house and moved three times in 4 years. Together they lost a couple dogs, but just bought another one. Together they lived their life. Not lives, life. My mother was so intentional about everything she did. She was the mother and wife that made everything make sense and if other people did it differently, it didn't make sense. My mother was a role model. For my grandmother, for my aunts who were much too crazy, for her little sister, for her peers and her children. She was "the mom". Because motherhood was her job.