May 2019 Guest List: Pat, AKA My Mom

May 2019 Guest List: Pat, AKA My Mom

By Tarleton Walmsley

Guest List: A person living or dead, real or imagined, that we'd have over for dinner.

Mother's Day was this past weekend. This holiday, along with Father's Day, can be complicated for many. For example, as I practice redefining my somewhat more traditional definition of motherhood, I often grapple with understanding how being a "kinda stepmom" fits into the equation and what being a "sort of" mom looks like. Ultimately, I think as women we are all capable of motherhood in ways that go beyond having birthed your own child, and it's been exciting for me to explore that more in my own life. 

As I navigate new terrain in stepmom-hood, looking at photos of my own mom before she embarked on her own motherhood journey made me realize how little I know of her life before she had us, her two daughters. Sure, I know where she grew up, where she went to college, and how she met my dad. But I want to dig a little deeper. That's why I'm inviting her to dinner this month. The December 1980 version of her, in which my father had just asked her to marry him.

I'd ask her things like...Where did you find this beautiful green dress? Did you know our dad was going to propose to you, or was it a surprise? How did he propose? Were you excited to be engaged, and did you enjoy the process of planning a wedding? Were you ever scared about the decision to get married? Did you want to have children right away, or was being a mom something that could wait a while? Also were you a plant lady?!? The questions go on and on, which is why I think this particular dinner guest would be one of the best yet.


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