Over the years, when my sons were testing my limits, I sometimes thought of her. When a difficult decision had to be made, I sometimes thought of her. When my husband offered to pick up the boys from a friend’s house so I could make dinner or I was simply tired, I sometimes thought of her.
At her daughter's wedding this past summer, after the ceremony, my friend was sitting alone in the front row, her curly blond hair framing her profile, the sun setting. My husband and I were seated behind her, and I was thinking of how far she’d carried her children. Then I noticed an ever so slight trembling, and I drifted over to hug her hard. Yes, we were celebrating her daughter’s joy over having found love, but I was also celebrating all that I valued in her, even the quiet tears. I thought: Look at what you’ve done. You’ve raised three bright children who are personable and caring. Later I told her these same thoughts, realizing that I could only imagine the challenges and sacrifices that she, or any single mother, had to face.
During the process of writing our collaborative memoir about mothers and daughters, I explored a mother’s role, my own as well as my co-authors’, and I followed the sweeping impact, the indelible fingerprint she leaves on her child’s spirit. For many reasons, I’m lucky to know my friend, but when it comes to motherhood, she has shown me another side of the story, a narrative suffused with an inimitable resilience and fire.
~ Lori Toppel