Posted by Heather Krill in Life After Paralysis on May 05, 2022# Relationships, Lifestyle First Published in the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation
When we are young, if we are lucky, we are exposed to all kinds of moms. As little girls, we may have wondered if we wanted to be moms, in addition to all the other cool roles we wanted to grow into. Then later, once we decided, “Sure, I would be fine becoming a mom,” or, “No way do I want to procreate, adopt, foster, etc.,” we might begin to sort out the vision of our grown-up self. But I have been extra lucky because I have had the best mom ever– not only growing up but even now that I’m actually a grown-up, moving into official middle age and hot flashes. Coupled with a fabulous mother in law, and surrounded by tons of solid moms in my own childhood and adolescence, and later by warm and loving moms of boyfriends– and now a mom myself– I’ve embraced a mom tribe of sorts, where most of us screw up daily, and none of us seek perfection. EVER.
To say that my mom was relaxed growing up would be an understatement. There were rules, sure, and chores, of course, but the nitty-gritty of the day never really wore on her face, or at least not in my memory of that version of her growing up. Always present and supportive, yet never pushy. It was never Polly’s way or the highway. She was the mom who begged me to take the day off from high school to go prom dress shopping or just sleep in longer to catch up “because you seem so tired.” Almost 30 years later, not a lot has changed there, and I know she worries about me and the lives we tackle as working moms and caregivers. She was really sick this past fall and winter, and it was truly the first time in my 47 years she was down and out, a little bitter about life and feeling like she didn’t have any good answers.
But the good news is that my mom is healing, and she likely is annoyed that I’m writing about her. The thing is, I wrote this first mothers’ day draft really quickly, and it didn’t resemble this later draft at all. It had become a laundry list of frustrations, and while it was cathartic to write them all down, the world is full of heartache right now– me complaining about the weather or being stuck at home battling colds and allergies and many times one another–would not change my attitude.
The weather certainly didn’t help, until the last day, of course, today in fact, as I’m happily writing in the sunshine of my front porch, birds chirping up a symphony of good stuff, the daffodils just turning yellow, the bald eagle swooping down to the river in front of our house. So, when Geoff asked me for help because he needed a “standing” picture of himself, I chuckled, thinking, “Oh, this is an easy one.” There are many of him standing, thanks to his parents’ unparalleled skill at documenting his childhood, printing photos and putting them into frames. We also have a lot of those standing photos scanned into a wide variety of PowerPoint presentations used over the years for various speaking engagements. But guess what, I could not find the one photo he really wanted to send them to be part of this short film being made by Nordica about his world as a professional skier. Instead, I found many other items that had been missing since we moved into this new house. I tried, time after time, to channel my best Polly Ehrman, my mom who was never rattled by anything, not whiny kids or needy husbands, bad weather? Pshaw. Those clouds are going to burn off no matter the rain coming down. Yeah, that woman. Well, I could not find her in the boxes in the attic; nor could I find that patience in the photo albums stored above the garage. But I did find this old photo of me playing soccer, the one time I made it in the newspaper, and seeing that strong young woman made me smile.
I showed my kids, “Hey, this is your mom too.” They were unimpressed. They had been begging me to get on the trampoline with them earlier in the day, which I hate doing, mostly because it combines two of my biggest fears: getting hurt and peeing my pants. But, oh my word, I got on the trampoline and bounced while my kids and husband laughed at my conservative jumping technique, “Mom, your knees are absorbing all your bounce if you keep them bent like that.”
So, my Mother’s Day wish for all of you out there is to try to channel a mom moment that is bigger than we are. Whether you want to become a mom or caregiver– whether you are a new mom, a tired mom, a super mom, a stressed-out mom, a funny mom, a mom who is missing their mom or not a mom but like a mom to many; if you are worried about your mom or if you want desperately to become a mom, and it’s taking forever– just know that I’m conserving some of my mom bounce for you. Happy Mother’s Day…and well, maybe for Father’s Day, I’ll be able to find that standing photo Geoff needed. Even if too late for the film, it might be just what he needs.
Heather Ehrman Krill is a writer- wife- teacher-mom who lives in the White Mountains of NH with her husband, Geoff, a paraplegic and professional skier, and their two children, Carver and Greta, who are 12 and 10, respectively. Please check out her novel True North, website www.heatherkrill.com, author FB page Heather Krill, and @heatherkrill1 on Twitter.