Being a Mom Ain’t Easy

This is Mother’s Day, pandemic style so a little different than we’re used to. I spent the day working in the yard putting mulch down in the flower beds with the help of my 15-year old son. I got flowers and some chocolate which is always nice but Mother’s Day is often bittersweet.

My mother passed away nearly 16 years ago and I often wonder what she would have thought of today. I’ve thought that about a lot of days over the past 16 years because she always saw things from a perspective I hadn’t even considered. It’s good to get other perspectives in life so you don’t get to thinking you’re smarter than everyone else.

My daughter also had a bittersweet Mother’s Day. She spent it with her 3-year old son but is still mourning the loss of a baby. This is the second miscarriage in a row and she was so thrilled to have seen the ultrasound of the baby and seeing a strong heartbeat. At her next appointment a month later she learned the baby had died.

She had to have a surgery at the hospital with no visitors allowed due to Covid-19. That just seemed like an added slap to an already sad occasion.

Watching your own daughter go through so much pain from a distance is difficult to say the least and she’s been through a lot in her young life.

She escaped an abusive marriage in which she was nearly murdered by her then husband. It was a two-year nightmare for all of us.

It was absolute terror not getting a regular text message from her. Knowing how to handle that situation was never a sure bet that how I was handling it would work out.

Her husband had cut her off from nearly everyone but me and that’s because I didn’t let on to him that I knew what was going on. I played dumb.

I’d drive by the house and see if her car was still there or the lights were on. I was afraid he would kill her and my grandson and take off. He was a drug addict and mentally ill so he was capable of anything.

Others would often tell us that if their daughter was going through the same thing that they’d just go over and beat her husband’s ass. That would not have helped. He would have taken it out on her and completely cut us off.

Then one day I got a text message from her that simply stated, “Call the police now.”

She hid quietly in the house while I called 911 and then drove to her neighborhood watching her house until the police arrived.

She had bruises on her swollen neck and was still healing from a black eye he had given her a couple months before. The police took pictures and wrote a quick report. Her husband had taken off and was wanted for questioning.

“Wanted for questioning?” I thought to myself why wasn’t there a warrant for his arrest. He was hiding in the woods but the police never bothered to look.

During these experiences you soon discover that the law is not on the woman’s side. We couldn’t do anything legally for our daughter unless their was child abuse and that’s what finally broke her free.

DCFS was going to take away our grandson and as grandparents we likely would have gained custody but we wanted our daughter safe too.

If he had strangled anyone else other than his wife he would have been charged with attempted murder. Instead, he got probation and a domestic abuse charge. We don’t know where he is now.

Domestic abuse laws in Illinois are atrocious. Animals have more protective legal protections than married women. It’s true and it’s something I hope I can help change.

Thankfully my daughter found a much better man and I can sleep at night again, though I’m still haunted by the terror she went through. Yeah, being a mother isn’t for the fainthearted.

Also thankfully, being a mom has had many more good days than bad. I can’t even imagine my life without having had children. If I never do anything else with my life, being a mom was enough. Everything else is just extra.

Yes, I care about community involvement and what I do for a living but those things pale in comparison to the single best job in the world.

On this day I always think of the strong women in my family that have led the way. I couldn’t be more proud to be cut from the same cloth. I hate to say it but a lot of the men in my family wouldn’t exactly win any prizes. My dad is an exception. He was always faithful and good to my mom. He adored her. But more often than not, if it hadn’t been for the women in my family, the family would have never made it.

I’ll try not to write such a heavy post next time but not everything in life is sunshine and roses.

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