Around this time every year, my friend Amy and I commenced with the tally for our annual “Worst Mother of the Year Award”. We would review scenarios over the last year in which each of us had behaved in absolutely terrible, horrible, heinous fashion, without any redeeming anything, completely without reason, toward one or some of our collective seven daughters; four of them hers and three of them mine.
We would evaluate systematically all the catalogued transgressions and determine who would walk away with the title based on who had done the worst self esteem damage – hardest to recover from – requiring the most therapy in the future.
This review was conducted over lots of time together in any number of locations; on the phone over morning meeting (which we took pretty much every morning in order to get news, give news, assess who needed to be where, picked up when and fill in how), on our many-times-per-week walks with our dogs in the five thousand acre preserve down the hill from our homes (having lived 35 seconds apart for 23 years), in my kitchen, in Amy’s kitchen over breakfast, lunch, coffee, noshing, dinner or a glass of wine (our favorite!).
We laughed, we cried, we cried from laughing. Sometimes I would win, sometimes Amy would win and there were years we tied. In fact, lots of years we tied. We shared lightening speed tempers when pushed to our respective limits coupled with razor sharp tongues. Can a Viennese Jew and an Italian Catholic qualify as “tiger mothers”?
Amy passed way in November of 2009, nineteen months after being diagnosed with the most brutal type of brain tumor.
Amy might have argued that dying and leaving your children wins you the title of Worst Mother of the Year, no contest. Throw in that the eldest will be married next month without her mother by her side and that seals it.
I would argue back that this absolutely does not qualify.
This was not by choice.
When I consider all the choices I watched Amy make as a mother over the two decades of intertwined, crazy making, raising children years of our dear friendship, I can say, with complete conviction, that she made each and every one of them out of love…
deep, unconditional, no questions asked, tough love, love.
And that kind of love, the kind that will stay with her daughters for the rest of their lives, wins her, in my heart, the Wisest Mother Forever award.