Anonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.
It always happens when I’m reading Corduroy.
The book about the little teddy bear searching for his lost button inside a big department store was my favorite growing up, so when I found my old copy at my parents’ house recently, I liberated it to read to my son. What I didn’t know was that reading that book to my 9-month-old boy would bring me to tears nearly every time.
My mother died, extremely suddenly, a little over two years ago. She had a rare heart attack and literally just dropped dead at home one day while my dad was at work. Despite the fact that I was living overseas at the time, she and I were incredibly close and her death is still something I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully process. I try not to think about her or her passing very often, because when I do, I feel like I can barely function. I’m no use to anyone like that. It’s much, much easier to distract myself with day-to-day life rather than dwell on the loss I feel.
Having a child, though, makes it about a million times harder to ignore how much I miss her. When I call him names like “pumpkin” or “angel,” when I read books from my childhood, even when I scold him for trying to touch power outlets, I can hear her voice coming out of my mouth. It makes me long for her so badly. I feel like I can’t breathe.
My mother would have been the most incredible grandmother in the world. Even before I even thought about getting pregnant, she would practice saying the baby names I liked so she could “get used to them.” She even planned how she would fit a car seat in the back of her Volvo convertible. She would have loved my son more than anyone could love anything, and I look at him now and I’m just so angry that he’ll never know.
I can try to explain it to him and tell him stories about how wonderful she was, but at the end of the day, she’ll always just be his dead grandmother — just a lady in a picture who looks a lot like his mom.
The anger I feel that my son was cheated out of this experience is just amplified when I see all the other new moms who get to have their mothers with them to give advice and be there to help with their babies. It’s completely irrational and immature and wrong, but I actually hate other women for their mothers.
They get to have their moms babysit and shower their kids with gifts and do so many things that I’ll just never know. After I gave birth, the jealousy I felt watching the proud grandmothers visiting and staying to help out at the hospital was intense. Despite my new-found motherhood, I just wanted to throw a childish fit, to scream at these happy families about how unfair it is that my son and I can’t ever have that kind of relationship with someone again.
And that’s all it is: childish. I know these feelings aren’t right and I know that these other people have nothing to do with me, my son, or our situation. I know that some women (like my husband’s sisters, for instance) have mothers who are living but don’t care to do anything for their grandchildren. There are plenty of worse things that have happened and are happening in the world every day, and at least I have a beautiful, healthy little boy to share my life with.
But it doesn’t take away the ache when I see a mom and daughter laughing in the park while pushing a stroller. Or the pain I feel when look at the pictures on Facebook of my friends’ kids’ first trip to Grandma’s house. Or when I read the first few lines of Corduroy in a voice that sounds so familiar and know my children will never understand where it comes from.
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