Saturday, March 06, 2010

My Mother is the Woman Who Raised Me

By Jenna Brown

One of them was 14, the other 26. One had made a “mistake,” the other had tried for years to make a baby, without success. One of them I rarely think about, the other is my entire world. She left Buffalo at 4 a.m. one day just to be in Albany when I woke up; she stood outside my dorm room window with a homemade cookie cake and a bunch of balloons. It was my freshman year in college, and she didn’t want to miss a single birthday. She’s the absolute best, the greatest Mom there is. And no, she didn’t give birth to me, but she’s given me everything else.

As my eighteenth birthday drew near, people drove me nuts with all of their questions, silly excitement, and their narrow one-way thinking. “Are you going to go find her?” they would ask. “Don’t you want to know if you have brothers or sisters?” “Do you think you have the same eyes? Ears? Same hair color?”

No, I don’t want to find her. No, I’m not interested in knowing if I have siblings. And who cares if I look like her? I had never considered any of these questions, because I already had everything that I could ever want. I didn’t feel lost or abandoned; in contrast, I felt happy, complete, loved, and very very lucky.

I often wonder why other people feel the need to be so involved in my parentage. I have never understood why it was so hard for other people to grasp the concept that my mother for the past twenty years IS my mother. How dare they ask me to talk about my adoption and then insert terms such as my ‘real mother’ and my ‘current mother’ into my story. How dare they suggest that my ‘real mother’ is my birth mother.

I could never call my birth mother my ‘real mother;’ she was my mother for the nine months that she carried me, but Kymm Brown, the woman I call "Mom," she’s the one who taught me to walk and to read. She’s the one who helped me repaint my room, who stayed up late talking about anything I wanted to discuss, and she’s the one who came to all of my Winterguard competitions. She’s taught me what love is. She’s taught me how to drive, how to recover from a breakup, and how to cook lasagna florentine. My birth mother could never have given me any of that – after all, she was only 14 years old.

My mom right now is my mother and the only mother I have and will ever know. Honestly, in my mind, she IS the person who gave birth to me…we even have the same beauty mark in the exact same spot to “prove it.” So to those doubters, I say, stop asking me your questions, and stop pushing me to meet my real mother. My mother is the woman who raised me, the one who calls me her “miracle baby,” the woman I call on the phone at least twice a day. She may not have given birth to me, but she’s given me everything else I need.

Jenna Brown, pictured here with her mother, is a junior at the University at Albany, SUNY. She is an English major and this is her first published writing. She spent years doing Winterguard dancing and her mom was at every competition.


b said...

What a lovely tribute to a mother and daughter relationship. These are the words of a very strong and mature woman who by the way does take after her mom, the women she claims as her mother. I enjoyed your writing and look forward to the book and sequels. Jenna you were an adorable baby, love that smile of contentment.

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful tribute to YOUR MOTHER and judging by the picture, the bond of love is well established and I couldn't agree more...the one who nurtures, teaches and loves you is the Mother! Just Beautiful.