It’s been said that the same sex parent is the most defining relationship of our lives. So for all of us women that’s Mom, and for all the men that’s Dad. Not to say that the the relationship with the other parent is of any less importance, it is in fact of equal importance in a different manner. In my case I am particularly fascinated by this subject since I lost my biological Mother at the age of four to cancer. I had many female role models until the age of eleven when my father remarried.
Although I was quite young when my mother died I have very strong memories of her. I think over the years I have relived these memories repeatedly as a way of avoiding losing her a second time. She was beautiful, not like “Helen of Troy” beautiful (her sister Helen actually got those genes), she was beautiful in a delicate doll kind of way. She loved shoes, and matching purses. She was very gifted with a sewing machine. Mom made her own dresses, and matching dresses for me to wear. Mom loved all things girly. She would do our hair together using those large rollers with bobby pins. For those of you around my age you will likely remember a product called “Dippity Doo”. It was the equivalent to styling gel today.
Mom cooked,read fairy tales(in Greek) to me, and the sound of her laughter still rings in my mind. I loved her, and she clearly loved me back. Mom had been very close to her mother and sister, so for as long as I can remember I have been surrounded by incredible female role models.I have to say that as wonderful as they all were I always carried this empty feeling where my Mother had once been. My stepmother, and let me be clear I hate that title. It conjures up images of cruel unloving women who live to torture anyone that did not come from their own womb.I prefer to refer to her as my second Mom. A woman who in came into my life when she was only twenty-five(the exact age my mother was when she died) and, treated me like her very own. Even today we share a closeness that has left a lot of people scratching their heads. In my heart of hearts I like to think my Mother picked her just for me. 😉
Until the time my father remarried, I lived with my father’s sister. I had only met her at my Mother’s funeral, and was put on airplane the very next day to go live with her. My Father had a great irrational fear of my Mother’s family taking me back to Greece, and never letting me see him again. He was out of his mind with both grief and alcohol, and was being shipped out to Vietnam. My Aunt who was very much a stranger to me, became my same sex role model for the next six years. She was quite different than my Mom (and my Mother’s family),but she was very loving and kind.
I have often wondered if my own Mother had lived to raise me, would I be the same person that I am now? Would I have been more like her? I am told that I am. This leads me to the question of genetics verses environment. I have had the great privilege of raising my own daughter. She looks much more like my Mother, and shares her love of all things girly (I’m more or a barefoot in the garden type),and yet she is very much like me in many other ways. I guess I will never really know the answer to this question. I have to admit though I have, and continue to examine all the same sex relationships that enter my world. 😉