by Corey Whelan
It is a mess in NYC right now. Dirty snow piled everywhere and icy patches of melt freeze, melt freeze. My daughter Caitlin has a nine block walk to the bus that gets her to school and I take that walk with her every day. Yesterday it was a joke, the snow was just insane. Today it was more manageable but still scary, and slippery underfoot. Crossing one curved intersection, Caitlin was so focused on watching her own feet that she said to me "look both ways for me Mom, ok?" Of course I will I said. That's my job.
And it is. As her mom, that is my lifelong job. To look both ways for her, when she is so focused on the immediate that she can't do it for herself.
So of course for the next four blocks all I could think about was my friend Andrea, and the baby she lost, and the walks they won't take together. And my gratitude for my own children was just overwhelming to me. And my sadness for Andrea was just as overwhelming.
I am a mom. It is only one of the things that I am. But it is the most significant part of my being, and the thing that defines me, at least to myself. I would be a different version of me if I hadn't had my children. Yes, I am a program director, I am someone's lover, I am someone's neighbor, I am a friend. Always at the heart of me, is me. But I am so very grateful that also at the heart of me are my kids. And that includes the baby that I miscarried so many years ago. Always at the heart of me is my son Connor, my daughter Caitlin, and the baby I never met but named anyway. Jesse Michael. I don't think about him often anymore, sort of the way I don't think about my parents, both gone. But I never let him go. I don't want to. I think that defines me too.
photo courtesy of mysberg.net