Today would have been my mom’s 67th birthday. I spend an unhealthy amount of time wondering what would be if she was still alive. Sometimes, I wonder in what ways my life would be different.
Would I still have been a veterinarian?
She worked so diligently to set up regular play dates for me. Grandma Ida insisted that I needed to be social. After she died, the play dates went away. They had to. My dad’s single father lifestyle didn’t allow for things like that. I wanted friends so badly, but I was so shy. I had my brother, my cousins, and a couple neighbor friends, but I mostly felt alone. So, I talked to my cat. All the time. Pumpkin was my BFF and therapist. I’d tell her all about my day and feelings while scratching her neck and stoking her back. She’d purr loudly and writhe around in ecstasy, fur flying all over the place, as my nose got progressively clogged, my eyes itched and watered. My allergies flared, but still I endured the discomfort to hang with my Pumpkin, affectionately known as “Kitty”. I told her I was going to be a vet when I grow up. Maybe if I had more people friends, I would have chosen a different profession.
Speaking of professions, would I have even pursued college or a career at all?
One of my biggest struggles since having my own children is managing a work and home life balance. I love my work and have always followed my passions; first with pursuing a career in veterinary medicine and then specializing in pathology. Of course, she would have supported my passions, but maybe she would have also given me guidance about a passion that I had no idea was inside of me: motherhood. I didn’t know how much I wanted to be a mother until I became one, and my career path was already set. I had no idea that these little people would become my everything, my world. But I’ll bet you knew, my sweet mama. I’ll bet you would have told me. Perhaps I would have changed my priorities earlier in preparation for this part of my life.
Would I have married my husband?
Chances are I would not have. There is no doubt that my mom would have loved Chris. He is a sweet and caring husband, a great father, so intelligent and hardworking. But it’s naïve to think that the stars would have aligned for us to meet given how different my life would have been. I suspect I would have a husband and children, but not the ones that I have in this universe.
Sometimes, I do wonder how my life would be different if my mom was still here, but honestly, I don’t like to think of my life without my career, Chris, or my boys. These experiences and people in the life I’ve lived without my mom make me the person that I am. So, instead, I prefer to imagine my life the same way it is right now, just with her in it. I picture her having a close relationship with Chris and me. I envision the joy in her eyes when she walks into our house and her grandsons run over to give her a hug. I see her pulling them onto her lap to read them The Very Hungry Caterpillar for the 3rd time in a row. I hear her voice on the other end of the phone comforting me when I’m upset. I feel her long thin fingers wrapped around mine as we walk along the North Shore trail hand-in-hand. This may not be how it truly would be, but you, my momma, are the one thing I miss in life the most.
Happy 67th birthday, Mommy. I love you now, always, and forever.