This is mom at about five years old.
It was long before she made the vow that changed her name, before balanced meal moderator duty, before matching five different people's multiple pairs of socks post-laundry, and before preventing four kids from strangling each other daily.
Even as an adult, it's still hard for me to imagine her as something other than Mom.
Maybe she had those days when it was hard for her to imagine it too.
I wonder if that season seemed a distant memory as she was elbow-deep in cloth diapers, or waiting at my brother's hospital bedside while he recovered from one his many surgeries at Children's Hospital, or realizing that every thought, every decision she would ever make would be tied to our best interest.
I wonder if she giggled at herself amidst the chaos of four children, absent mindedly signing her maiden name on a permission slip, quarterly grade report or some other piece of paper that we kids always seemed to be pushing in front of her. (Heck, we've only got one kid and I've signed Rochelle Dukes at least five times in the past ten years. But don't tell Jamie that.)
The writer in me wonders if she would've lassoed all those thoughts and blogged about them had she lived in our Information Oversharing Age. I wish I could know, but her reflections, her joys, her misgivings, her shining moments couldn't be bequeathed to me or anyone else.
These thoughts always creep up around Mother's Day, but this year especially as I, for the first time ever, will read some of the drivel I drivel about here in the blogosphere in a live performance. The reading will be included as one of the pieces about motherhood in Milwaukee's inaugural Listen to Your Mother Show; which is now a little more than two weeks out.
Sometimes I'm excited about being able to say out loud the thoughts that my mom most likely kept unspoken about the motherhood journey. Then the next minute, my palms are sweating, my knees are knocking and my face is hot over it...unless that's just perimenopause tapping on my shoulder.
Whatever happens - clammy hands, wobbly knees, sweaty upper lip and all - I'll tell the mother experience from my vantage point....and wonder if even a little of it will give voice to my mom's story as well.
May 5, 2013; 3p at Alverno College