I once altered a very famous quote from one of the best films ever, “Casablanca,” when describing how I met Holly. “Of all the newspapers in the world, she had to walk into mine.” Okay so it’s not said like that in the movie, but you get the drift. As far as I’m concerned that pretty much sums it up – she walked into the newspaper, past my desk every morning to clock in, we started talking and it went from there.
One of my earliest memories of us as we were strengthening our friendship came at a tough time for me at my previous job. As a reporter you “get” to go to accidents to report what happened and why. Those kinds of things can mean fatalities. This one particular day I covered a fatality and just how it happened, I could see the man in his vehicle and very much not alive. It haunted me. I lived a sheltered life, what can I say. It’s an eerie feeling when you know you’re looking upon someone who is dead. Anyway, the grief was compounded by an ick situation at work and Holly was awesome enough to invite me over to her place to hang out with her, the guy and her loveable “Chewy,” a silly mix breed dog. This is what Holly has to say about our meeting:
We worked together at a small-town newspaper and for the first year we stayed mostly in our own departments. However when I became pregnant with Abby we bonded over our love for hot cocoa, and all things Cowgirl Coffee (as it was named at that time). I honestly cannot think of my life without my friend Jen in it, she has listened to my late night ramblings, held my hand through a nasty relationship and helped support me and Abby in our new life together. She had to relocate when Abby was about a year I think but always is so close to my heart that it’s like she is still living a few blocks away.
Life wasn’t always easy during her pregnancy. I couldn’t ever put my finger on it but I always felt compelled to be her sort of caretaker, though I’ve learned she doesn’t need one, she’s a tough cookie. Through the rough seas and scary moments, she battled through it, like any mom would do for her kid. Moms just seem to be able to take on those challenges because they’re blessed with an almost supernatural kind of love that empowers them. This is Holly. This is what Holly had to say about those beautiful, tender moments that come with raising a child on her own:
One of my best memories with Abby when she was about a few weeks old. We were alone resting at home in bed, she would lay on my chest and tummy and sleep. I was still completely overwhelmed at being responsible for this little person when she woke up and began making faces. I would hold her and watch her literally for hours as she changed her expressions, made cooing noises and fed. She had a full head of soft thick hair and the biggest eyes which kept attempting to focus. I forgot about being overwhelmed and just fell in awe of her; which to this day I still am.
Being a mom is tough, whether that be in a healthy relationship or raising a child on her own. There are challenges that come with parenting but being a single parent brings about different challenges. Holly always managed to face them head on and better than she gave herself credit for a long time. It was always wonderful to see how she’d amaze herself because every time she did, she grew stronger and I loved that. She’d realize it was there all the time and she began to believe it and that was a difficult but beautiful process. Here’s what she had to say about the tough days:
My worst day with Abby as a baby was right after her father left for the first time. I was breast-feeding and pumping diligently but the stress of the situation was too much for my body to keep supplying milk. In the course of two days I completely dried up. I remember sitting in Safeway in the formula aisle crying as I tried to read the ingredients on each can. Upset at the situation, and upset at my self for not being able to provide Abby with breast milk. I remember that the milk seemed so much to me as a metaphor for our new life. If I couldn’t provide to her what seemed a few months ago as an easy and bonding moment how could I provide a new life for her. That was probably one of my worst days.
Motherhood couldn’t be complete if there weren’t those awkward or funny moments. All parents hold onto those moments, probably for blackmail later on in life, but really because it brings joy into life. Kids say and do funny things but it’s all in the process of growing up and mothers get the chance to see the growth through those moments and that’s joyful. Children always provide learning lessons in those moments. Just when you think you know your kid, she teaches you something else. Here’s what Holly has to say about those moments:
Abby was about 3 years old and going to preschool. Mornings were always hectic and chaotic for us. One morning as I was getting Abby’s bag together, the dog fed, and rechecking for the millionth time that yes I had my house keys; Abby came up to me and complained that she needed to go potty. I asked her to please try to hold it as we were already late and preschool was only a few blocks away. I turn around and she is waiting for me outside. It must not have been more than a minute literally. I started to lock up when I see poop right outside my front door. I thought it was odd that dog went right there and not in his normal spot, and perhaps I should state how without coffee early in the morning my brain doesn’t fire on all cylinders at once. Abby was fiddling with her skirt and panties and I tried to help get them untwisted, wondering how she may have gotten them soo twisted from the door to the garden. (still not catching on yet) I dropped Abby off at preschool and noticed what I thought was chocolate on my coat, smelled it and realized it was not the dog that pooped on the front stoop but Abby. She really did have to go and did not want to wait five minutes, she just dropped down and took care of business quickly when my back was turned checking her school bag. I had gone into preschool with poop on my coat and my daughter laughing about the dog…to this day I triple check if she needs to potty before we leave, and I also don’t underestimate my daughter’s will.
Motherhood is one adventure after the next. I’ve learned watching Holly and little Miss Abby that life is one curve ball after another and that’s okay. Here’s what Holly had to say about motherhood:
I learned that you can plan and prepare as much as you can for situations; however with a wee one you must always be flexible because they have their own will which many times will overpower your carefully made plans. What might be right for someone else’s child or family may not work for yours so keep an open mind and try to be flexible.
Holly – you’re amazing! Truly an inspiration for me and if I ever become a mom, I know who I want to be my model of motherhood (other than my own mother of course, whom I’ve already noted is truly amazing). This concludes my Mommy Diaries series. I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the awesome moms in my life. I know I’ve learned a lot and I love each of them dearly! Thank you moms! We truly love and appreciate all you do for us today and every day.