Mother's Day 1986
Here’s to the memories. All the laughter, tears, happiness, and sorrow that we as your children have experienced with you right beside us every step of the way, making sure we didn’t stray off the path. Thanks, Mommy, for who would we be without you.
Emma gave me a small book of family photos with this lovely message inscribed on the back cover. She was just 13. I carried it around in my bag for at least 3 years, so I could read it every time I felt like murdering her. Her eloquence was only matched by her --what word can I use-- spawn-of-Satanhood?
When she was 6, her first grade teacher said, "Emma knows exactly where my limits and she will go right to the brink, but never cross over." She didn't show such diplomacy with her mother. However, when she worked around the world in her 20's, she never had to bribe anyone at airports. After her first trip to Africa, she got several letters from cabdrivers addressed to "my angel Emma."
Emma repeatedly stuck her tongue out at me minutes after birth.This picture of her at 17 months (the day I got pregnant with her sister Rosalind), is revealing. She should have been born with a printout: "You will win five battles with this child. Choose them carefully." I learned what the five battles were by losing hundreds of others.
At the height of our teenage struggles, Emma used to say: "I don't have sex, don't smoke, don't do drugs, don't drink, don't party at all hours. I am not pregnant; I do well in school; I plan a serious career in world saving. What is your problem, mom?" Of course she was right, and that's why her sisters seemed easier. I didn't fight the silly battles.
But it was all worth it. Watching her mother my grandson gives me absolute joy. Despite our arguments, we have always been extremely close. As usual, my writer Jane says it best (2001):
"Emma is capable of more generosity than anyone I know. She holds herself responsible for you, me, Rosalind, and Molly.. Being incredibly brave as well as generous, though, she doesn't stop there; she is now going to try to save some people in Africa (Rwanda) too, or at least to learn how."
Emma deserves this more than I do: " Here’s to the memories. All the laughter, tears, happiness, and sorrow that I as your mother have experienced with you right beside me every step of the way, making sure I didn’t stray off the path. Thanks, Emma, for who would I be without you?"