Monday, May 19, 2014

Home Base

Here in Chicago, I’m happy to say we’re still playing hockey at the end of May. As I cheered on my Blackhawks last night, a thought occurred to me – when did they become ‘my Blackhawks’?  I’m from Boston, grew up cheering on Ray Bourque and the Bruins, rooted for the Red Sox (my T-ball card lists my favorite player as Jim Rice) and sat through cold days watching the Patriots in Foxborough. When did I switch allegiances? Did I truly?

I’ve lived in Chicago for almost 17 years now, but I spent the first 25 of my life in Massachusetts. I’ll save you the math, I’m 42. I keep thinking when I get to the halfway mark, when I’ve lived here 25 years I’ll legitimately be able to say, “I’m from Chicago,” but will I be?  Will I always be from Boston?  When I’m here in Chicago, I refer to Boston as ‘back home,’ but of course when I’m visiting my family in Massachusetts I reverse it.  Also, I don’t currently live in the City of Chicago, nor did I live in the City of Boston, but the suburbs of both and always give the city name rather than my town.  C’mon we all do it.  Only when speaking with someone who actually lives in either city do I get outted, and they always make sure to point out the distinction.

Around this time last year I was put to the test. The Bruins faced the Blackhawks in the quest for the Stanley Cup.  While I really wanted the Blackhawks to win, because it’s fun to be in a place with a winning team and the parade is insanely fun, I joked with everyone, telling them it was a win and t-shirt for me either way.  My brother back in Boston and I had fun at each other’s expense on social media and in the end, well you know.

As for baseball, I flub that one too.  I say I’m a Sox fan and leave it at that.  My husband’s family are all White Sox fans, the other Chicago baseball team is like Voldemort, we don’t use the “C” word.  Again though, when Neil Diamond sang and everyone at Fenway came out Boston Strong, I proudly wore my Red Sox shirts and hats around the suburbs of Chicago.  However, when I took my kids to visit family last summer, we made sure each of us wore a Blackhawks shirt each day. 

Confused as to where home is?  Maybe.  Lucky to have two wonderful cities to cheer for? Absolutely.  Even from the suburbs.  Go Hawks!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Mother's Day Without My Mothers

I've been a mother myself for almost fourteen years now, you would think I would've made it about me by now. I do for appearances, but Mother's Day has always been one of the most emotional days for me. Actually, it begins right after Easter when all the commercials for flowers, jewelery and pampering inundate viewers and listeners. "Don't forget Mom!" they all chime, and at my home-away-from-home, Target, not only do I have to see the cards, I have to buy two. One for my mother-in-law and the other for my father's wife. Both cards will be signed and sent from my three daughters wishing their grandmothers a Happy Mother's Day.

It's been 20 years since I was able to send my own mother, Mum, a card. She passed away in 1993.
It's been 42 years since my birth mother put me up for adoption.

Not a day goes by that I don't think about Mum, I don't need a Sunday in May to make me aware how much she did for me.  Since my three daughters never knew her, I talk about her all the time. I also let myself think about her and cry whenever I feel like it.  At first it happened in department stores, seeing another girl my age shopping with her mother. I left many a store in my twenties to go cry in the car.  In my thirties while my daughters were babies I cried because I wanted her there to help me, no one could replace her during those years no matter how hard they tried.  Now as my girls are getting older, I cry for two reason - one because I'm mad she has missed out on so much, and two because I don't always know how to reach my teenager, who has become -sigh- me.  How did she put up with me?

I also think about my birth mother. Though I don't have any plans to find her at this time, I am keenly aware there is a women out there somewhere who thinks of me too and when I think of her, it is with sincere gratitude.  I will always love and respect her for the tough decision she made. I will eternally be thankful.

So forgetting is not an issue, and putting on a happy face and remembering it's a day for me too is becoming less difficult.  Bring on the Eggo's and coffee in bed, present me with your homemade cards and bookmarks from school.  Put the flowers in the crystal vase, just be careful of those two extra ones I placed in there, they're not for me.