Am I A Mom?

I remember dreading when my son had play dates with parents I couldn't relate to.

Now that he's in middle school, I wish I just knew who his friends were.  I hear the names -- Michael and Nazir, Sofianne and Alex -- but who they are and what goes on in school with them and my son is a dark hole I can't seem to fall into.

Maybe that's the point.  I've been reading this Mother's Day about women who worry their babies will grow up to share their neuroses, or like licorice, or the one mom who particularly got to me who worried who she was, now that her three sons were grown. (Of course, I have a ways to go.  Mine is only 12.)

But I came to motherhood so late I was convinced I'd never be a typical mom, or a real one.

Raising a child did not come easily to me.  I felt like people were laughing at me when I bought diapers or scrolled through the six months rack for onesies at Carter's.  What does she know about being a mother?  I even had to ask if there were diapers made specially for newborns.

I didn't join mothers' groups because I felt too old, and what could they teach me, a woman in her late 40's with a baby?

When I walked in the park with my son in a sling on my back, I felt like an impostor.  Look at her with that baby.  She thinks she knows what she's doing.

I'd like to say I become more comfortable in my role as a mom as the years rolled on, but that's not really true either.  I always felt funny going to my son's elementary school, even while getting up and running the newspaper (which I loved).  I used to think everyone was secretly whispering, does she really know what she's doing?

But finally, after 12 years, I'm beginning to feel like a mom.  Just in time to lose one of the best parts of being a mom.  Being needed.

My son now gets embarrassed when I talk about him (especially when I mention his girlfriend).  And he really hates it when I touch his hair.

The days of his babyhood now seem like a dream, and the woman I was in those days I don't really know anymore.  Figures.  Just when I'm getting it as a mom, my son no longer needs it.

So I suppose I am a real mom, suffering through now what we all go through.  Letting go one finger at a time of my child.  And also of who I really was, after all.


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