Happy Mother’s Day

I haven’t seen my mother since I was maybe three years old.

I don’t know exactly when that last meeting was. What I remember is she had long brown hair and I must have been waiting for her, because I was at the window,  watching her get out of a yellow car. We went to the zoo, and she bought me a red badge. I wanted to see the monkeys, but there wasn’t time, we had to go home, she said. I threw the badge on the floor. She cried. We went home. And I never saw her again.

For the longest time, I’d have told you that these childhood memories and experiences didn’t affect me. But, I don’t know, lately that memory makes me want to cry. I want to cry  for the three year old who didn’t believe it when her foster parents said she was special, because how special can you be if your Mummy doesn’t want you? But I also shed a tear for that 19-year-old girl who had to admit that she couldn’t cope, and who made the impossible decision to leave her little girl behind.

So, for her, because she didn’t get all the others, this one’s for you: Happy Mother’s Day.

About 

Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She's also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world's coolest ten year old.

35 Comments

  1. 14th March 2010 / 12:42 am

    I wish your mother would read this touching post – you have done her proud.

  2. 14th March 2010 / 1:22 am

    omg, that’s so beautiful. I’m all teary eyed here!
    You are such a wonderful person to be able to look at it like that.

  3. 14th March 2010 / 3:44 am

    That’s so sad. I really feel for both of you. Happy Mother’s Day to you x

  4. Mwa
    14th March 2010 / 7:57 am

    I don’t really have words. Big hug. xx

  5. 14th March 2010 / 8:50 am

    Moving, Sally… Like you, I’ve seldom thought about the mum I didn’t know and who didn’t know me until recently. Now, when I look at Charlie, I think about it almost every day. Happy Mother’s Day, wherever you are.

  6. 14th March 2010 / 9:24 am

    Oh Sally 🙁 I feel a little like this, my birth mother had me at 16 and my grandfather and step grandmother forced her to give me up and they sent her to cornwall for basically bringing shame on the family. We’ve tried but failed to have a relationship.
    We just can’t imagine what they really went through. I find today quite hard as well. And I can’t look at it like you, so well done for being able to see it this way it’s not easy 🙂

  7. 14th March 2010 / 10:12 am

    Much love to you, funny how many of us have a similar background. x

  8. 14th March 2010 / 10:21 am

    I don’t know about wonderful but it’s not until I had Flea that I realised how hard that choice must have been on her as well as me. And having a baby at 16 must have been terrifying, I think she must have been pretty brave.

  9. 14th March 2010 / 10:24 am

    You’re right, having Flea and my divorce really made me think about my adoption for the first time – it’s not something I really thought about for the longest time. I just wanted to spare a thought for my invisible mother this year, I guess 😉

  10. 14th March 2010 / 10:25 am

    Nat, that’s such a sad story, just tragic for everyone involved. I’ve never really had a relationship with my birth mother, I just don’t quite see what’s to gain from it, but maybe that will change. Sometimes I think having Flea makes me understand more of what she went through, sometimes it’s the opposite and I don’t understand at all. You’re right, though, it is hard.

  11. 14th March 2010 / 10:26 am

    The older I get the more I realise these slightly odd childhoods, fractured relationships and broken hearts are the rule, not the exception. It’s just life, isn’t it?

  12. 14th March 2010 / 10:33 am

    That’s deeply moving, Sally. The problem was not yours, she was not capable of being a mum, for whatever reason or reasons. And they were probably complex ones. Some mothers just aren’t able to mother. The rest of us make up for it with our own kids. Happy Mother’s Day to you.

  13. S.
    14th March 2010 / 11:12 am

    My parents divorced when I was six. They were in their late 20s / early 30s. It was in the mid 70s.
    When I think about that and compare how times have changed and how naive they were compared to today’s more streetwise population, and wonder how I would have coped making that choice when I was their age, I realise how hard it would have been for them, and how really they did a bloody good job by me and their other kids, trying to protect me and make it as easy as possible.
    It doesn’t compare, but it’s easy to think of our parents in today’s terms and forget that things were very different when they made those hard, hard choices.
    Your post is lovely Sally. And how wonderful that now you have Flea, Mother’s Day can be celebrated. Are you in contact at all with your birth mum or does she remain a mystery?
    Hope you girls have a lovely day together.
    xx

  14. 14th March 2010 / 2:28 pm

    I’m so sorry, that must have been hard for both of you. My father left when I was very young but that probably only gives me half an idea of what you’re feeling – a mother is so much more (or can be).

  15. 14th March 2010 / 3:55 pm

    Oh Sally, my heart goes out to little 3 year old you and to big girl you. Today must be hard but I’m glad you’ve found some peace today. Its tough.
    MD xx

  16. 14th March 2010 / 7:56 pm

    My heart goes out to you and your mother. You are a strong and amazing person. It took a lot of courage to write this. Happy Mother’s Day with all the love in my heart to you and your family.

  17. 14th March 2010 / 8:56 pm

    Thanks Rosie, I hope you and IJ had a fab Mother’s Day, too.

  18. 14th March 2010 / 9:02 pm

    S
    I think you’re right. Looking back at my experience, social workers were very keen for me to stay with my foster parents even though both my birth parents were around. In those days, it was thought that was what was “best” for kids like me. The ethos now is so different.
    For my mother, to be 16 and a single Mum (my parents married so I’d be “legitimate” but they separated within a year) must have been terrifying, and to then be faced with social workers insisting she should give up her child – well, I can’t judge her. It was a different time and she was barely more than a kid herself. I wasn’t adopted until I was 10 so my background wasn’t hidden – I know who my birth mother is and where she is, but no, we’re not in contact. I’ve never felt yet that I wanted to meet her.

  19. 14th March 2010 / 9:03 pm

    Yes, I am lucky to have had a great adoptive Mum, so perhaps of the two of us, it’s my birth mother who lost out most.

  20. 14th March 2010 / 9:04 pm

    Thanks MD, me and my little four year old had a grand day, and I’ve been counting my blessings xx

  21. 14th March 2010 / 9:05 pm

    Thankyou – it was a tough thing to write, but I know I’m not the only person to have had this sort of experience, which is comforting in itself. Happy Mother’s Day to you and yours, too.

  22. 14th March 2010 / 10:25 pm

    And every line you write about your daughter shows what a great mother you are yourself. xx

  23. 15th March 2010 / 10:54 am

    Oh FFS, I am crying again. Why I am I so over emotional at this time of the year. I dont normally do all this sop and stuff, but I have ters hitting the keyboard.
    You are a great mother Sally, becuase of everything you have been through, not inspite of it. Tears are hard to live with, so sometimes they are better out than in

  24. 15th March 2010 / 11:00 am

    It’s having kids. It turns us into hormonal wrecks at the best of times 😉
    You’re right though – all our experiences inform our parenting and for every negative thing I could attribute to having an unconventional childhood, I can look at how I cherish Flea and see the positives, too.

  25. 15th March 2010 / 12:33 pm

    That was so beautifully written and incredibly moving.

  26. 16th March 2010 / 6:49 pm

    Oh that is so sad Sally, the picture of that little girl waiting. Is that your first memory? I hope your mum is out there somewhere, she must hav just been a child herself. Have you ever thought of trying to find her?

  27. 16th March 2010 / 8:10 pm

    Not really – I know who she is and where she lives, so I could if I chose to, but at the moment it doesn’t feel like the right thing for us. Maybe one day.

  28. 17th March 2010 / 11:28 am

    Wow, this made me cry…

  29. 17th March 2010 / 7:36 pm

    Oh, you’ve gone and made me cry. What a beautiful post. Happy belated Mother’s Day to you.

  30. 14th January 2012 / 12:06 am

    I’ve just gotten over watching Juno and now I’m at it again, weeping in to my dressing gown sleeve.
    The mental image I get from reading this is doubly sad – for feeling for you as a small child, seeing your mother go but not come back and for your mother to be in such a terrible place in her life not to be able to manage.
    As a mother who did leave her children, all be it for two years without contact it really does reach out and hit an emotional nerve and move me.
    I do believe I am lost for words x

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