The summer I turned seven, my parents separated and my mom became Superwoman. Of course, it was many years before I realized this. But most superheroes are pretty forgiving and my mom was no exception. She managed to work full-time, maintain a happy home and active social life, and raise three energetic kids singlehandedly. More importantly, she managed to give us each every spare ounce of her love and attention.
Realistically, there were lots of things that got neglected and ignored. I remember when I was ten, our TV broke, and we just went without one for several months. But that’s when my mom taught me to become a card shark in Euchre, a title I wear proudly to this day. Lunches were generally two slices of white bread, with a piece of warm bologna stuck in the middle and an apple thrown into a brown bag. And we were one of the first families to have a running tab with the local pizza shop. I’m not sure I ever wore matching socks to school – but I always got a kiss goodbye in the morning.
I was also the only girl to join the local softball league and my mom never tried to talk me out of it, though she may have been nervous about it. Probably even more so when the third baseman was dared into asking me to show them my jockstrap (I joined drama club next summer instead). She proudly read all my sappy, rhyme-y poetry to her friends and continuously encouraged me to write more.
Weekends usually started with warm bagels from the local bakery (the pizza shop only opened at noon), wandering though used bookshops or heading to local community theatre. In hindsight, I realized money must have been tight, but as a kid, all I knew was that there was always money for books (used ones) and the occasional ice cream. I don’t remember my mom ever wearing makeup or high heels, but to be honest, I’m still not sure I get the allure entirely.
As an adult, I’ve adopted my mom’s talent for cleaning and cooking, hence our weekly house-cleaner visit and the kitchen drawer crammed with take-out menus. But I’ve also inherited her love of reading and joy of socializing. As a mom of two, I’m grateful to be married to a man who shares the same parenting beliefs as I do, and we make a kick-ass parenting tag team. But every time my husband gets up in the middle of the night to massage a cramped leg or attends parent/teacher meetings without me, I’m reminded of the invisible cape my mom wore for so many years and hope she knows how completely and utterly in awe I am of her.