Our new book, Motherhood Realized, launched this week. And I thought it would be appropriate to share a special story that has been close to my heart.
Many of you know that my mother is in the last stages of Alzheimer’s. It’s been progressing over the past three years, and seeing this hero of mine lose her memory has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced. So when I first saw the cover design for our new book, it stopped me in my tracks–completely taking my breath away.
Considering the fact that one of the key chapters in this book is the post in which I first acknowledged what was happening with my mother, our designer’s choice of flower was simultaneously appropriate and heartbreaking. (I’m not even sure if he knew how poignant his decision was…)
“Forget me not” could very well be marked as my personal theme for the past few years. It’s that phrase that keeps running through my head every time my children and I make our Thursday drive to Long Beach to take care of my mom. It’s that phrase I think about whenever we get to her house and I’m about to look her in the eyes for the first time in a week. It’s that phrase I’ve been living with ever since the very first moment I sensed that something wasn’t right.
Please, Mom…please don’t forget me.
I know it probably seems irrational, but I have been holding onto this fear for years now–this fear that the day would come when my mother would look me straight in the eye and have no recollection of any of the moments we had experienced together.
Well, that day came a few weeks ago.
It was during one of my regular weekly visits, and she simply didn’t know me…at all.
Sometimes I was her granddaughter, and sometimes I was my sister. At one point, I was a student in her shorthand class.
I guess it really shouldn’t have mattered because she still hugged me, kissed me, sang with me, and even wiped a little tear that had escaped down my cheek, but as I drove home that night with sleeping children in the van, I simply couldn’t hold myself together.
That was definitely a hard night, but since then, I have received an outpouring of love and advice from friends and family around the globe, and especially from you–this incredible community at Power of Moms.
Your strength and wisdom has finally helped me to overcome this fear of being forgotten (though of course it’s still hard). And I thought today I could share the beautiful ideas I have learned with you.
(1) The love between a mother and her child doesn’t stop…ever.
One of the best pieces of advice I received was from a friend who said that even though my mother might not know my name, she’ll know that there is something unique about our relationship. And she’ll see me as “LOVE.”
I know that’s true–especially when I think back to one specific conversation my mom had with my sister, Lisa.
It had been a long day. My mom was exhausted, and we could tell she was confused.
“I am not your mother.” she told Lisa. “I am the person who is your mother when your real mother can’t be here.”
“Who am I?” Lisa asked softly.
“You know who you are.” my mom responded–trying to brush off the question.
“Yes, I know who I am, but do you know who I am?”
My mom paused for a moment. She brought Lisa around right in front of her, and Lisa knelt down so she was looking directly into my mom’s eyes.
They sat there for a few seconds–Lisa with a sweet smile, hoping my mom would know her name (but realizing she probably didn’t), and my mom searching Lisa’s face deeply, waiting for something to trigger her memory.
Finally she gave the best answer she could give, and her words have played over and over again in my mind ever since:
She simply said, “I know I love you . . . very much.”
That mother-love simply doesn’t end. I’ve included a couple of 20-second audio clips, in case you’d actually like to hear my sweet mom:
- This one is when my mom forgot me.
- This one is when she forgot herself.
Both of these clips make me smile. I keep them on my phone.
(2) When you are about to lose someone, you come to understand what your relationship really means.
Ever since that night when my mom didn’t know me, I’ve stopped expecting her to say my name. But occasionally, she surprises me.
I had to turn my head so my change in emotion wouldn’t surprise her. That response was more than I expected, and my name never sounded so sweet.
I am living my life differently now. Less focus on email, less worry about how I look in my jeans. More time loving the people in my life. They matter most.
(3) The best way to lose a mom is to BE a great mom–and help strengthen other moms.
I’ve come to the realization that I can’t control everything that happens to me. But I have all the control in the world over what I do with my time and how I raise my family.
This is why I hug and kiss my children every chance I get. This is why I take my daughter to craft stores–even though they make me dizzy. And this is why I pick up clown noses when they’re on sale and ask the cashier if we can wear them home.
Motherhood Realized is not just a book. It’s a cause.
It is time for all of us–the mothers worldwide–to realize how important and beautiful this experience of family life is and then stand up and exclaim that we know it.
Yes, motherhood is hard. I am no stranger to that. But in the end, this is what life is for. This time with our children is our most valuable treasure. And together we help each other develop the conviction and ability to build the strong families we know can be ours.
At the end of all this, I think the goal of every deliberate mother is to have created a home life that is so powerful and so beautiful that when our children are grown and gone, they can’t possibly forget us.
Motherhood Realized is available TODAY from Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
These books are perfect for Mother’s Day, birthdays, baby showers, or “just because.”
They’re written for mothers of all backgrounds, all religions, and all family sizes, and we would absolutely love for you to support this book launch by sharing the book with those you love.
As of today, March 25th, this book is #1 in “Motherhood” books on Amazon, and we are working to make the NYTimes Bestsellers’ list.
Your support this week means the world to us.
And for those who order by Saturday, March 29th, there are special prizes you won’t want to miss!
* Due to the huge response to this book launch, the Amazon page linked above may say the book is out of stock, but you can go ahead and make your purchase now. Amazon has assured us that your book(s) should ship within the next couple of days. Thanks!