Today I honor the two most influential mothers in my life: my own mother, Irene Klein, and my life partner and mother to Julia and Owen, Harriet Jaffe.
It’s been forty years since I’ve had a mother. I have only the same few memories of my mother, and many of them are foggy. I can form no new ones. And many memories are long forgotten. But I know this: I loved my mom deeply. I felt a strong, innate connection to her, like we really knew the essence of each other without having to state it.
Here’s one memory of my mom: on our birthdays she would rock us in the chair and sing an Italian lullaby. Every year. When I got older it became a joke, but still a required tradition. It was funny because my mom and I both knew I was grown up now. David’s an adult. He’s over six feet tall and his mom is barely five feet. He’s way too big and heavy to be sitting in his mother’s lap. She grunts when he sits and she can hardly sing because of his crushing his weight. And the rocking chair— its joints are groaning. But then it turns out you’re never too big to be rocked and loved and comforted by your mother, and that feeling, if you can remember, if you can summon the soothing moment from long ago, you’ve still got your mom.
Here are some other posts I’ve written over the years about my mom. You’ll see what I mean about having the same few memories:
I have to admit I was unsure about having kids. I was nervous I might not be up to the responsibility of parenting or the lifelong commitment required. Harriet showed me the way. She is such a natural mom. Full of enthusiasm and love and endless devotion for our children. I see the results every day now that both kids are in their twenties. How they turn to her for comfort when in need of comforting, for advice when seeking counsel, for companionship when wanting a friend. She always took the extra step, always put them first, always went out of her way to be there for our children. Not only did she shepherd two amazing people from infancy to adulthood, she showed me how to be a better parent. What a mother, what a partner.