By Esther Yang
My seven brothers and I were adopted by an incredibly awesome family. Hard to believe they were strangers at first yet my brothers and I felt they were our parents from Day One.
My mom was a young widow, she gave all of us up so we could have a better life. It was very altruistic. My adoptive parents included my mom in everything which showed that love made everything possible.
My adoptive mom, Marj, was Scottish. She was a Director of HR for a big automotive company. When she retired, she became the Director of RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program). Marj didn’t have any children but she loved us like her own and like there was no tomorrow.
(I will write about my adoptive dad, Harry, on Father’s Day. A million books will never be enough to write about the extreme kindness that my adoptive parents showed my biological mom, my brothers, and me.)
I never appreciated Mother’s Day until I myself became a mom. Being a mother is probably the most thankless, under-appreciated and most criticized job, but it’s one I’d never give up.
Marj always invited my friends over for dinner, movies and served overflowing, endless buckets of popcorn. She would wait for me after my dates, sitting in the kitchen with a pot of tea. She wanted to stay up, so she could hear all about it.
Marj would make all my favorite foods for my birthday – string beans casserole, meatloaf, corn on the cob with extra butter, garlic mashed potatoes, upside down cherry cake, blueberries and pineapple upside down cake and Carvel ice cream cake with extra cookie crunch. Marj’s attempt to make Chinese lucky birthday noodles never came out very good, but it was the thought that counted.
Both moms laughed at my lousy jokes. They were thrilled when my daughter, Grace was born. They said that their hearts expanded, and they raved about Grace to no end.
The holidays were a riot at my home. Marj celebrated everything and decorated the house for every festivity – Valentines Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s. Whatever the holiday, our home was always so over-decorated that you ended up stumbling over those pumpkins or elves or whatever was in the hallways.
My biological mom and Marj became the best of friends. When I gave them gifts and asked Marj which one she wanted, she told me to ask my mom first, whatever she doesn’t want I will take it. My biological mom did the same thing – ask Marj first she’d say. I stopped asking after awhile. They were happy when we were happy. A true sign of motherhood.
One day in the kitchen, Marj said to me, “Esther, have you notice that your brothers’ kids don’t look like us.”
Confused, I asked her, “What do you mean?”
She said, “You know, Grace your daughter looks Asian, she looks just like us. But none of your brothers’ kids look like us.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell Marj that she is not Asian. Once a mother always a mother.
Unfortunately, my biological mom passed away a few years ago and Marj now has dementia. Sadly, Marj doesn’t remember my brothers and me anymore. I miss Marj’s tenacity, her constant unsolicited advice, her pure joy seeing Grace and me and receiving our calls every single time.
I am beyond grateful that I have two mothers who loved us soooo much that they united to become one HUGE heart for my brothers and me. ❤
To those who are lucky to still have your mom, hug them more often and more of it.
Happiest and Bestest Mother’s Day to all of you.
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