I Adopted Some Moms

Deployed moms. One in the Army, one in the Air Force. Usually, I take whoever is next, but this time was different. This time I went looking for the moms. I won’t tell them why. I’ll just send letters, care packages and be upbeat. But I figured I could tell you.

Pre-missing my own mom

Last year my mom had a stroke. Turns out she has a chronic brain bleed and a small aneurysm over the area of her brain that controls speech and memory. Apparently there is no treatment, cure, or expected progression. She could be fine or get worse. She could have more strokes. Or not. No one knows.

She’s doing better now but we live in different states and over the phone, I can hear what’s missing. I hear the blank spaces for words she can’t find and events she can’t recall. I feel like I am losing her very very slowly. And joining a club I don’t want to belong to (I have friends with parents who have Alzheimer’s and other challenges).

Sometimes I fear that the space between us will one day be more than miles. It will be a gulf that all the love in the world can’t cross. And she won’t know us. Then some days I just feel incredibly grateful for where she’s at now.

This pain of current and possible separation makes me want to DO something. But what can I control? I can try to lessen the ache of separation for some other mother and child.

Pre-missing my daughter

I get that this will sound silly. But my daughter is going to sleep-away camp for the first time for three weeks this summer and I’m not ready. SHE’S ready. But not me. This will be the first time we’ll be apart this long. I never went to camp as a kid so this is a foreign idea to me.

Also, I’ve been a single mom since she was five. Yes she sees her dad, but she’s with me most of the time. We’re a team. Although one member of the team could clean up more but, she’s my super girl. I dread her empty room. And I can’t imagine not getting the daily details of whatever good, annoying or LOL things happened. She jokes that she’ll have some of her stuffed animals have “sleepovers” in my room while she’s gone to help me. I laugh but part of me is considering it.

So what can I do about this? I can remember to have perspective. Yes it’s okay to miss Sofia. But I need to remember that other moms are separated from their kids for much longer and for much more serious reasons. Maybe a good way to keep that top of mind is to ease their time apart.

Mom on the brain

Strength is a beautiful, wonderful thing. But lately there have been days when I don’t feel so strong. When I wish someone would scoop me up and “mom” me a little. Make me a grilled cheese sandwich, bring me a soft blanket, snuggle on the couch and tell me everything’s going to be okay.

So how can I feel better? I think giving to others makes us more joyful and stronger inside. Taking action—the act of caring—is its own reward. And, since I’ve had “mom” on the brain and in the heart, I figured adopting these troops who are moms would be a good step to take. For them and me.

My daughter's handprints when she was two years old.

My daughter’s handprints when she was two years old.

© Gina left the mall, 2016

16 thoughts on “I Adopted Some Moms

  1. As always – great to see you, Gina ! And i know when I see your post in the Reader – you will have news of the military community and generous nature of you and your daughter.

  2. Oh, Gina. If I could reach out and hug you, I would.Medical science might not recognize it, but I know there is an organ inside called a “Mom Heart”. I know because I have physically felt it swell (almost painfully) with love and pride. I have also felt is ache (sometimes quite painfully) with sadness and worry. What you are feeling about Sofia’s heading off to camp is not silly at all. It’s the ache of separation (no matter how joyous). Of course there are moms separating for longer and for serious reasons, but that doesn’t mean your ache is any less important. I have no words of wisdom on the pain and fear that is part of watching those we love age. Pardon my language, but it sucks. I know. I too find that helping others is the fastest way out of sadness. Action. The stockpiling of positive thoughts and actions. Your adopted service moms are the lucky recipients of that action!

  3. I always enjoying reading your blog… This one really hits home for me at this point in my life. It brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for all you do!

  4. Hi Gina, I’m so glad your back to blogging. I love reading your blogs, I especially love reading your blogs about our brave military!!! I have very sweet and very special friends of mine who are in the military, and I am so very very proud of my friends who are serving. The have a very special place in my heart. They are my very favorite heroes!! I sure do miss my friends who are serving m, but I know their fighting for me.

  5. Hi Gina, I saw that your daughter Sofia is going away to camp, I saw whet you said that your not ready for her to go, I wish I could give you a hug right now, I know that when my very, very favorite Uncle comes to see me, I get so excited to see him!! And then when it gets time for him to have to go back home, I don’t take that easy. I alwaya lose it when my very, very favorite Uncle has to leave.

      • Your welcome Gina. Yep. It’s always a happy and exciting when I get to see my Uncle. Yep I’m always sad when he has to leave. Yeah your right. Yeah we should focus in the happy. Thank you for that word of encouragement Gina. I’ll hang on to that.

  6. Gina, I know you will be treating your adopted moms extra special, their boxes will be the envy of the group! Maybe you could send some postcards with Sofia that have postage on them so you could drop you a note while she is gone, you could put “Best thing that happened today….”, “Silly camp song that we sing is…”, “Nicest person I have met here…”, you could also stick little notes in her clothes that she could find or in her suitcase. I’m sorry to hear of you mom’s health troubles, she will never forget you and your family and you will always have the wonderful memories you have, no one can take that away from you, can you make a small scapbook or photo album for your mom now? Take care and so glad to see you writing again!

    • Thank you for kind words and tips. I’m a little torn because Sofia said if I leave her surprise notes it will make her homesick. She’s even concerned about getting letters. Which kind of neutralizes my “super power.” So right now my lead idea is to send her “letters” that are mostly images of her favorite Pinterest baking fails that make us laugh until we cry. As for my mom, my first adopted soldier’s wife gave me a gift certificate to make a blanket that has photos printed on it. Mom lives in Florida but she’s cold at anything below 90 degrees so.. we thought it would be a hit. But you are right, no one can take the memories away from us. Thank you for finding me again even though I’ve haven’t been around in awhile. It is greatly appreciated.

  7. Hi Gina…so good to hear from you. I’m sorry that you’ve been going through a rough bit in your own life with your mom. I have always felt that giving to others in any form is one of the most therapeutic ways of dealing with personal stress. I hope you find the healing you seek. I am sure that others will have benefited from your connection.

    As far as Sofia’s trip goes…be brave! She will miss you, too! She will also have lots of fun, adventure and lifetime memories as a result of this trip. As a teacher, I dealt with many parents during their child’s first camping trip away and it was always hardest on the parents. Try to think of ways to pamper yourself in the meantime…you deserve it. ❤

    • Mrs. P, thank you so much for your note. I think your teacher’s insight is spot on. Yesterday we went to a one-day orientation for new campers and families. I can see the excitement in her eyes — even though my eyes had welled up a few times. But yes, I will make a “pamper” list and give that a shot.

      I hope very much to redirect the aches in my heart to a more giving/joyful energy. Whether I fully succeed or not in the healing department for myself, spreading a little kindness in the world is always a good thing. Maybe these days more than ever.

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