Inevitably, she'd ask what I was doing on that street corner and I would tell her that my mother was dying from a head injury and that my grandmother wished it was me instead each day that she tended to her daughter. My father was also dead from an accident, most of the time my grandmother called it a boating calamity, and my grandfather was a reformed drunk who could barely walk and no one knew why, though they suspected it had something to do with the plate in his skull. There were a lot of accidents in my family, I would add without hesitation. Sometimes I wondered if saying I was an orphan would be easier--this was in constant debate--but I decided that telling the truth was best. If I only knew half of the truth of my life then, it would have been a much better story. I watched hundreds of cars pass me by but I never took that step off the curb.
It wasn't until recently that I decided to take that step, even if it meant I would fall flat on my face. When I told my husband I was going to advertise for a mother, I felt like I was really onto something. He looked at me as if I was on something.
"You can't advertise for a mother," he said. "What kind of person would respond to an ad like that? What would you say?"
"Woman seeking mother. All serious inquiries considered."
"You're opening yourself up to a world of heartbreak. You're going to attract a bunch of crazy borderline personalities who want something from you--something other than mother-daughter bonding."
But I would not be deterred from fulfilling this longing. It is like being born without an arm. At some point, there is acceptance but it does not stop the yearning for it or the wonder of what it would have meant. I desire the approach to life that a mother offers her daughter, I reasoned. It's not too late.
I have always desired to be someone's daughter. To hear them call me daughter. I always wanted to be a mother to a girl and hear myself say, "this is my daughter." It is my first mother's day with my newborn son. I've decided that today is the day to begin to tell my mother quest.