The Memory Keeper

“Oh, no. This has all got to go!”

While attempting some spring-cleaning a few months back, I came to the frightening realization that I was turning into my mother: I was a hoarder of life’s minutia. Every cabinet, drawer, and closet were overstuffed with items that had clearly outlived their usefulness or purpose. Living in one place for 30 years can do that to a home.

I adored my mother and normally would be proud to be “just like her,” but not in this circumstance. My […]

With All My Heart

“I don’t care who started it!” My mother screamed at her four arguing children. “Don’t make me come in there!”

Throughout my childhood, my mom had a litany of one-liners she’d yell at us to get her point across. There was, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride; eat everything on your plate, children are starving in China and of course, her tried-and-true explanation for everything, I just want the best for you. My favorite, however, was, I love you with all my heart.

In the […]

The Enabler

Hi mom! I’m home.”

I jumped up from my computer and sprinted to my front entry-way. Finding my twenty-year-old, six-foot-tall son there, I screamed, “Hi honey!” and leaped into his arms. Tim was a junior at UCLA, and this was his first visit in four months.

“I’m so glad you’re home,” I said, excited to see my baby boy.

“Me too, mom,” he replied, taking me into his arms and squeezing me tight. “I’ve missed you.”

Wanting to relish every single moment of this mother/son bonding, I hung […]

The Family Bed

In the early 1980s, my pediatrician urged my husband and me to never allow our children into our bed at night. It was deemed physically and emotionally unhealthy for all parties concerned. A woman who rarely did what she was told to do, I didn’t heed the warning even when craving much-needed sleep. Truth be told, I couldn’t stand to be apart from my babies any longer than necessary anyway. I loved the feeling of a tiny body spooning mine at 3:00 am. Perhaps […]

Freedom is Found in Different Ways

 Listening to my child sob hysterically on the other end of the phone, I instantly transformed into Mom, the Helicopter Goddess, my alter ego; the warrior for my children’s happiness. With mighty engines revved, I prepared to swoop in and make everything alright.

Two hours later, I hung up the phone exhausted after I successfully completed my super hero duties once again. But as I placed the receiver on the hook, I wondered, “did my mother do this for me?”

Even though I was beginning to […]

Born to Be

“Jackie, you have to leave,” the kindergarten teacher whispered, gently nudging me out the classroom door. “You’re scaring the children .”

It was 1993, and my baby, Timmy, was about to begin his illustrious school career at St. Simon Catholic Grammar School. Looking like a happy-go-lucky Smurf in his tiny blue uniform, blond curls dancing merrily in the wind, he bravely escaped my vice-like grip and ran straight for the book corner. Watching him fly off to the great unknown and be one with twenty-five other […]