On my wedding day, instead of the traditional father gives away the bride, I walked down the aisle with both of my parents and my bouquet was made up of 6 pieces, handed to me as I made my journey to my future by 6 of the women in my life who have shaped me into the woman I am today.

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Getting the fourth piece of my bouquet from my Nanna…
Photo Credit: Jim Vaiknoris

But no one woman has been more of an influence on who I have become than my mom.

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Nanna and her babies…
Photo Credit: Dena Fleno

My mom was my first best friend,  but made it completely clear that she was my parent first and foremost.  She was always there for my sister and I, ferrying driving us around between school, dance and band functions.  She would even drive the 2 1/2 hours to Hartford so that I could visit Phil in between his trips back home from college.  My friends loved (and still love) my mom because she would listen to their drama problems without judgement and offer advice that was completely practical.  She drove the getaway car on our life-in-the-boonies forking excursions.  She was there to cheer when I triumphed and hold me when my heart was broken.  To this day, I know that if I “need my mommy” she would be here in a heartbeat.

Even though she may have uttered on an occasion or two the Bill Cosby line, “I brought you in this world, I’ll take you out,” one of the other things my mom always said was “You’ll understand when you are a mom.”

Boy do I ever!

I understand now the intense love you have upon laying eyes on your child for the first time.  I understand now what it means to be willing to lay your life on your line if it meant saving your child.  I know what my heart feels like when it is bursting with pride for my child’s accomplishments and also what it feels like when it is constricted with their troubles.  I understand the dilemma of wanting  to make all the boo-boos go away, yet acknowledging that you need to let your kids stumble every now and then in order to help them soar.  I understand how frustratingly irritating a cranky, mouthy child can be, and yet how easily it is forgotten by a smile, a laugh, or an “I love you Mommy.”

I understand.

So Happy Mother’s Day to the best mom a girl could ever ask for.  All of the times you have told me how proud of me you are, you should be proud of yourself.  It is you, after all, who I want to be when I grow up.


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