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Mother’s Day for the motherless mom

May 13, 2014

Nicole Ott, age 5, and mother Cheryl

Since my mom passed away in 1998, Mother’s Day has been an awkward holiday for me.
Sad? Depressing? It used to be. But why should it?
Yeah, was rough as a child not being able to bring my mom breakfast in bed, bring her flowers or pamper her by cleaning the house on Mother’s Day. And I am envious of those who could.
But at the same time, I am left with wonderful memories of my mom, memories that have shaped me into a better mother myself.
I was seven years old when my mom passed away, somewhat suddenly.
She had been sick for several months, but doctors told her she just had a bad case of the flu. As she gradually felt worse, a trip to the emergency room resulted in testing — and unfortunate results.
My mom had leukemia, within less than a week, she was taken to a hospital in Indianapolis and passed away.
There are a lot of things I missed out on by losing my mom at such a young age. For years, I didn’t know how to paint my own fingernails. My mom didn’t get to share in my dreaded teenage years of arguments of curfews and bedtimes.
But in those seven years I did have with my mom, I learned more than most. I learned how to be a good mother myself.
I remember my mom making me sit at the dinner table (for what seemed like hours) until I would finish my milk. At the time, I hated it. But looking back, it was good for me.
I’m sure my son doesn’t enjoy that I’ve passed that sanction down to him, but some day he will.
The little things I remember about my mom are intriguing, and I don’t think it’s by accident.
I remember going out every winter to build a snowman, sitting at the kitchen table and writing the alphabet — over and over. I remember making silly crafts, and the way she comforted me when I was hurt or sick.

Even though she may not be around to meet her grandson, her presence still carries on through me.

No matter the reason, many of us make the journey into motherhood without a mom. Some mothers choose not to be part of their daughter’s lives, other’s passed away like mine. Regardless of the reason, we all have to make sense of what it means to us as mothers.

I choose to turn the loss of my mother into an inspiration to be a better mother myself. I am enjoying being a parent just as my mother enjoyed being my mom.

And when those dreaded teenage years come — well, I hope she finds a way to give me some guidance from Heaven.

Until then, I’m going to love my son the way she loved me.

I’m going to enjoy Mother’s Day and all the days in between.

Nicole Ott is an editor and sports editor at The Post & Mail. Posted Notes is a weekly column by the editors at The Post & Mail.


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