You’ll understand when you are a mom…

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.


27 thoughts on “You’ll understand when you are a mom…

  1. I can’t stand how much i LOVED reading your post, Dena! I love your mom and i don’t even know her!! i love spunk! 🙂 Happy Mother’s Day to you girls!!!


  2. Aww, love it! I love that thing of taking a piece of your bouquet from each important woman in your life. So special! And your mom’s comment above? She’s lying. You win the best daughter contest, hands down.


    1. Thanks Jennifer! It was really hard to keep it together walking down the aisle, and as you can see int he pic I all but lost it with my grandmother! And thanks for the best daughter vote- I will add it to the tally 🙂


  3. You are all amazing mom because you had one yourself and know just what to do! I love your mom because she is also an amazing friend and acted as a second mother at times. I dont know what my (also awesome) mom would do without her! Great post and “Love you Barb!”


    1. How did we get so lucky to have great moms?!? I’m pretty sure that Marie would have been in that getaway car if we had lived closer 🙂


  4. Well said Dena, as tears stream down my face. I feel the same way about my mom the way you do about yours. Well I love your mom too; she did a fabulous job teaching the both of you! xoxoxoxo


  5. Having a very hard time typing through the tears….I love you and your sister with all my heart (EQUALLY, contrary to what either of you may believe). PS… so glad you understand, because I really did “keep notes for comparison” Cannot even come close to explaining how proud of the woman/mother you have become…. thanks for the pat on the back. Love you, Mom


  6. Wow, Dena how awesome tears to my eyes. I love your mom with all my heart and sole and yes you are a fine example of her. She will bee touched by your words…..


  7. LOL, I love that thing about the forking! I read that the first time and thought it was hilarious and love it now – even more, I love that your mom DROVE THE GETAWAY CAR! Such a cool lady!

    This whole post is such a great tribute to your mother. 🙂


    1. When forking, you always need someone to stay in the car with it running! My mom and my bff’s mom would drive the mini-van, and all us girls would hop out, fork a lawn, then scramble back in! Thanks for the comment Vivian!


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