Late Spring 2012 -- My Satisfying Yet Untraditional Upbringing

Dear Friends

My parents really, really wanted a son. So when my older sister was born and turned out not to be that son, the onus was on me, the second child, to be him. Obviously, I was not. My grandmother, too, really wanted me to be a boy (I think this all had a lot to with 'carrying on the family name') so when my parents placed their newborn into her arms (she'd been ailing and didn't have long to live), they told her I was her grandson, a belief she took to her grave.

My mom told me this story on her deathbed and you can imagine my shock. Looking back, though, I can pinpoint times in my life when it really did feel as if I was treated like the boy I was supposed to be. Yes, there were some confusing identity issues, but now I can laugh about it. On the one hand, I attended an all-girls' school for 11 years where we were taught social graces, wore white gloves on Monday morning, and learned French. On the other hand, it was my job, not my sister's, to mow the lawn, start the BBQ, and wash the car. Some would say it was a somewhat bizarre childhood at times, and more than one therapist would raise an eyebrow, I'm sure. Yet, here I am and I wouldn't trade my upbringing for anything.

I tell you this as Mother's Day approaches and I wish my own mother was alive for me to pamper. Mom made my sister's and my frilly dresses, insisted on good manners, showed us what a strong feminine presence looked like, was both a 'lady' and loved good fun, modeled independence for her daughters, worked a full-time job, and cooked a nutritious dinner every night even though cooking was about her least-favorite thing to do. Mom was my jokester Dad's foil; she knew when to put her foot down when the rest of us got too rowdy, and, corralled by my father into being a sports fan, went into labor at a Major League Baseball game. Her labor with me was long. I was breech. Dad, of course, was sequestered in the waiting room. They made her walk the halls of Labor and Delivery, clutching the railings with each contraction . . . alone. And after all that, after 9 months of their longing for a son, I turned out to be a girl. The rest is history: the rather, let’s just say, 'untraditional' childhood I had. Yes, my parents may have yearned for a boy, but Mom did everything in her power to appreciate and raise the girl I turned out to be, and I doubt that any little girl has been loved more than she loved me. And even though she's not here this Mother's Day for me to fete, I smile when remembering her and can only hope I've even marginally filled her shoes as a mother, myself. To all of the adults reading this, my hope is that you can find some wonderful qualities and experiences your mother shares or shared with you, even though growing up might not have been a Leave It to Beaver experience. And to all of you mothers reading this, may you have a wonderful Mother's Day filled with love and laughter.

Other Issues:
From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

From our archives -- The Art of Imperfection

From our archives -- Saddle Up

From our archives -- Taking Ourselves Off Automatic

Early Summer 2014 -- Embracing our Dormant Times

From our archives -- Taking Time to Listen

Late Spring 2014 -- Seeing More Clearly

Spring 2014 -- Savor What Makes Your Heart Sing

Early Spring 2014 -- The Power of Quotes

From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

Holiday 2013 -- Taking the Time to Listen

Holiday 2013 -- Open our Hearts to the Good Around Us

Fall 2013 -- How to Cope in Tough Times

Late Summer 2013 - The Priceless Gift of Friendship

Midsummer 2013 -- My Luck is Pretty Good Luck

Early Summer 2013 -- Slow Down Enough to Smile

Late Spring 2013 -- Recognizing Gifts

Spring 2013 -- Doing the Best We Can

Early Spring 2013 -- Know Where You're Going

Holiday 2012 -- Our Power to Adapt

Fall 2012 -- Gratitude for What We Have

Early Fall 2012 -- See the Beauty in Front of Us

Late Summer 2012 -- Modify So It Works for You

Summer 2012 -- Finding Balance

Early Summer 2012 -- Go Ahead and Take that Risk!

Late Spring 2012 - Trusting Your Gut

Spring 2012 - Living Life to the Fullest

Early Spring 2012 - New Year, No Excuses

Winter 2011 - A Thoughtful Tip

Holiday 2011 - How Did I Get Here?

Fall 2011 - Giving Thanks for What We Already Have

Late Summer 2011 - Taking Ourselves Off Automatic

Midsummer 2011 - Friends Through Thick and Thin

Early Summer 2011 - The Power of Nice

Late Spring 2011 - The Gifts of Spring

Spring 2011 - Worst Case Scenario

Early Spring 2011 - Break Away From the Herd

Winter 2010 - Lessons From Feral Kitty

Holiday 2010 - The Art of Imperfection

Fall 2010 - When the Student is Ready...

Late Summer 2010 - Saddle Up

Midsummer 2010 - Hurry Up and Wait

Early Summer 2010 - Don't Just Stand There. Do Something!

Late Spring 2010 - Gifts From My Mother

Spring 2010 - Taking That First Step

Early Spring 2010 - I Think it's Time

Winter 2009 - Choose Love, Not Fear

Holiday 2009 - Paying it Forward

Fall 2009 - You're Not Alone

Late Summer 2009 - "Searching" for Peace

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