Today is my daughter’s 25th birthday, another #12 (I’m June 12, an auspicious number). She is my only child, a true soul mate joining me in whatever the heck this thing called life really is. I suppose that all mothers feel this way about their children, but I swear there is a more special bond than most between us.
I named her after me. Her name is Nora, the sixth generation of mothers in my family line with this name. My original name is Mary Lenora, shortened to Marilee. I was named for Mary, the Mother of Jesus (my mother dedicated me to her) and for both of my grandmothers who were named Nora and Lenora respectively. As an older mother, I had amniocentesis to check her out in utero for chromosomal irregularities and as soon as I heard she was a girl, I knew she was another Nora. Could just feel it. It made sense.
She is a beauty, both physically and in spirit. She has her father’s natural engineering talent and is more intelligent than I am. She has talents in so many things and a whole lifetime to develop them. I completely adore her.
The breakup of our family was very hard on Nora, as was my departure form MIT and all of the press that resulted. She was in college in California at the time and had to deal with it all alone until her amazing advisor, Dean Jeff Huang at Claremont McKenna, stepped in and became a true loving parent in situ. (How can I ever thank him?) The past few years have been rough for her and for us, but we always loop back to each other in love, deeply connected.
She has been my greatest teacher and it hasn’t always been easy. There is no training for parenthood, after all, and she was my one and only. I was so unprepared for motherhood that I sang her to sleep with show tunes every night because I didn’t know any lullabies. (There were no lullabies in my home growing up.) I’ve come a long way since then, believe me, though I’m still figuring out how to parent a 20-something through lots of trial and error, still singing those show tunes, just doing the best I can as a mother.
Nora just called to hear me sing to her a happy birthday song and she told me this story. This morning she was doing laundry in her Brooklyn laundromat, sitting on the curb, when a small girl, a toddler, broke from her Dad and ran to sit next to her on that street curb. Then the child gave my daughter the little flower she held in her hand and off she went. A happy birthday kiss from Spirit.
If you know me, you know that I am not religious but I am a Spirit person. And I have seen how Spirit often works through children in moments like this, small random gems. It must’ve been a beautiful moment for my own beautiful girl.
Happy birthday, Honey. I’m so glad you picked me as your Mom. I love you with all my heart. May you have a long and happy life.