I can’t say that my mother ever brushed my hair, had my favorite home cooked meal ready for me when I got home from school or would stay up late at night with me when my stomach hurt. However, I can say that she walked all over New York City one summer trying to find me Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers, we would try to finish a giant fountain Pepsi that was sold in the summer at Baskin Robbins on 91st and Columbus Avenue by the time we arrived at my dance school on 89th street (we never finished it by the way), I can also say that the night she shit herself on our way back from dance class (yes, I just told the whole world you shit yourself) I took baby steps all the way back home and refused to get into a taxi cab. She hated me that day but a week later, my just desserts were served as I shit myself in the middle of a soccer game. My dad put me in an elevator in our apartment building where the person greeting me when the elevator doors opened was my mother, who was laughing so hard she could not stand straight.
Many people criticized my mother’s decision of allowing my grandmother and aunt to play roles as mothers in our lives. I wanted to live with my grandmother and she granted my wish. It was more than a wish but a great gift. I do not think that even she knew or knows the gift she had given me. My mother never went against my aunt and grandmother when they scolded me, even though they never followed through on her punishments and would tell me to wait until she went home to have the ice cream she took away for the day. I remember my very first slumber party and how I begged her every single day to go. She denied my request every single time. I would cry all night and one evening my aunt and grandmother told me they would talk to her. My aunt purchased fancy pajamas for me to wear, my grandmother bought me a new towel and toothbrush to pack but all this meant nothing to me because my mother still had not said yes. Then, on the evening before the party, my mom said yes and instead of thanking her, I hugged and thanked my grandmother. My mother was never envious of my relationship with those two other women but now that I am a mother I can only imagine how she must have felt to always be the bad guy in my life. No matter what happened, no matter how many shopping sprees, I knew she was the bad cop, that is until now of course.
Thank you mommy for always being selfless, for giving up your life for my love for dance, for perfecting the ballerina bun, for always willing to fight for me no matter what my age, for introducing me to Diane Von Furstenberg, for allowing me to have the gift of three mothers in my life, one who nurtured me, one who empowered me as a girl and then a woman and then of course you, the one that gave up a little of your reign to allow me to have the best of all worlds. Thank you.