My Life as a Mom: Rebel Rebel

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The Strongest Bond

This past Christmas Hayes and I went together to pick up my mother in New Jersey so she wouldn't spend the holidays alone. Once she got here I wasn't sure we'd done the right thing: She was too weak to do anything but lie on the couch, draped in blankets and a post-chemo turban.

Christmas morning made it worth it, though. One amusing moment came when I opened Hayes's present. A clotheshorse and serious shopper, Hayes has always liked to give me things to wear. When I saw my brown tweed skirt and crisp white blouse, I didn't know quite what to say. I live on a farm, work at home, and am as likely to wear jeans and a T-shirt as I am to spend the day wearing what I slept in.

Of course, my mother, watching from her perch on the couch, just loved the outfit. She and Hayes began trying to explain to me all the many occasions to which I might wear it. Meetings! they suggested. Don't you sometimes go to meetings? I thought it was funny and sweet the way they were grasping at straws. And I knew Hayes would forgive me when I exchanged it.

After the gifts were opened and the family dispersed I went to the kitchen to serve my homemade bread and soup for lunch. (See, hippie earth mothers are good for something.) Every once in a while I'd remember my mother, marooned alone on the couch, and stick my head in to check on her.

Every time I looked, Hayes was still there.

Mother-Daughter Bonding: Mother-daughter relationships are about as complicated as they come. Our online forums offer you a place to vent your frustrations, hash out your questions, and celebrate your successes with other women, just like you. Talk it out at


Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, May 2008.


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