From your Mama,

Mother’s Day 2020. These recent circumstances, you, my only child. The 24/7 hours we are together, the sleep regression situation is very, very real. I go through different emotions that range from frustration, to total exhaustion to hidden joy that we have all this extra snuggle time.

When I was her age, I was doing the exact same thing except without lockdown in the mix. Cuddling up to my mom, eating up every inch of her body, making “pizza dough” with her arms, creaming up her feet, talking her ear off, protesting sleep. 

My dad was in his prime before he ever had Parkinson’s. He would swear to himself as I got older because I was getting too heavy to carry back to my bed.  I don’t remember what age I actually stopped doing this little bedtime routine. I have to remember to ask my mom about it. There is a big age gap with my two older brothers, 14 and 12 years between us. My sister is 4 years my senior as well, so I was the quintessential “baby” of the family attached to my mom for as long as I can remember, until I wasn’t. When I wasn’t, as a teen, I really wasn’t. I needed to be fiercely independent and do everything my own way, alone, without the snuggles and without dialogue. I came back to my mother when I lived on my own in my early twenties.  I find myself wondering incessantly if she will be the same too.

I come from one big, loud, very loud family. I have been big and bold my entire life: big smile, big thighs, big ideas, bold voice. I can’t think of one small, quiet thing about me.  Growing up in a very traditional Italian neighbourhood, I’d say getting married and having children was one of the most common aspirations around the block but this never came up on my radar as a kid. I wanted to have my own place and become a fashion designer. I made Barbie fashions from toilet paper and handkerchiefs. Barbie was going to run off to Paris to take on the world, I had no Ken. I went to a gifted program once a week at a different school in elementary. I was routinely made fun of by other students for doing this. I clearly remember feeling so bothered by it and just wanting to blend in. Yet I loved the things my teacher Mrs. Borsa taught every week.  She was petite with a platinum blonde bob. She softly encouraged us to be creative. She passed away from cancer. I cried. I cried really hard when I found out. 

I so vehemently wanted to do my own thing. I genuinely didn’t think about sharing my life with anyone or having a family until I was in my early thirties; most likely because prior twenty something potential candidates were less then stellar. Although, when I met my now husband and decided much to my own dismay I indeed wanted to marry and have a family I drove him mad finding a house big enough that we could agree upon. One that would work for a large family just like mine ironically. I was looking at three row SUV’s shockingly.  I brainstormed boy and girl names thinking that any unused names would spill over into the next round of kids. And then Karina was born. This was my 1st choice name for a girl, meaning pure in Latin.  A popular Ukrainian name signifying dear in my husband’s culture also translating to beloved and sweet in my own Italian heritage. Sweet she is. Full of curiosity and wonder, sass and spunk. She keeps me going, filling my heart with love and light. Karina has given me a purpose in life like I could never have imagined. 

I never got the car with the three rows. Our house is much larger than what we actually need. On this Mother’s Day when I am being celebrated for being a mom, I am really celebrating her. She is my greatest gift. My greatest joy. I am one of four kids and although I do cherish my big loud family, I felt this burning desire to make a mark in this world all by myself. Now I look at you when you are finally asleep, my only child, the one I didn’t even think I’d conceive: I see you as the biggest mark I will ever make in this world.  I realize I am whole and complete no matter what tomorrow brings. For this I am eternally grateful.
NM, Xx


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