Not kidding, this is the first time I have ever seen a picture of my mom pregnant. I wonder what my mom was thinking during this time in her life. Recently buying her first home, expecting her first child…
Without a doubt she wanted to be a mother. I like to imagine she was excited and nervous. What would her first child would look like? What color eyes would he/she have? I wonder if she and my dad decided to find out the sex of the baby before or did they want it to be a surprise? How did they come up with my brother’s name: Nicholas Michael? The middle name is my father’s first name, but I wonder if she thought of something else before deciding. I wonder if my brother would be the same if they named him something else like Brian or Christopher.
The way our mother loved us, she must have been elated to start a family of her own. My mom was one of two children and my dad is one of five. I wonder if they wanted more then two kids. How did she know she was “ready” for a baby? I wonder what life would be like if I had another sibling. Would I suffer from middle child syndrome (as dramatic as I can be sometimes I’d assume so)? I wonder what it would be like now that she has passed away. How would they have dealt with it? Would they have inherited my mom’s green thumb and artistic ability? I suppose these questions could go on forever.
It makes me wonder about my life and my desire to start a family. I feel like there are so many things I want to achieve first like finishing school and starting a new career. Times are so different now, to most people it would be crazy to say I am ready for a baby but sometimes I think I am. A 90 year old woman I x-rayed the other the told me I’d make a wonderful mother. After she left I cried, big alligator tears (thank God I work alone!). I’m not sure why but her comment truly effected me. Maybe it’s because the thought of raising a baby without a grandmother scares me. Who am I going to call at 2am to ask if my kid is dying or just hungry? I know so much of that will be instinct and I will not end up in the ER every other night until I realize I have a colicky baby but knowing she won’t be around is really hard. I know she would be thrilled to become a Baba and would be calling me every day to see how I am feeling, and sharing stories about when she was pregnant with me. It’s a lot to miss out on, it’s a lot you don’t think about until you get older that you need your mom more then ever. And she would have been the best Baba my kids could hoped for. I know she’d teach them Ukrainian and take them to the park and let them paint on the walls and play in the dirt. She would make sure they were educated, well feed and most importantly loved.
We lived on the corner of Odell and had a big backyard with an above ground swimming pool. This picture must have been taken in the late 70’s before my dad, uncle and grandfather built a huge deck, added landscaping and re-shingled the roof. Our next door neighbors were Jim and Judy Cantino. Jim was a Chicago Police Officer, he eventually became a detective and his real life partner moved on to Hollywood many years later to become an actor. He appeared on Law & Order as Detective Lorenti (white/gray hair & mustache) and he attended my 1st birthday party in that backyard. Judy was a baker, once Jim retired, they opened Bittersweet bakery in Chicago. I’m fairly confident her and my mom’s quiche receipt are the same, juries out on who came up with it first. Our neighbors across the street had two girls. I can’t remember anyone’s name but they really loved to babysit me and my brother. I remember the pantry in their house ALWAYS had blow pops and as a kid I would eat the whole thing not realizing that the center was bubble gum.
I hardly remember living there. My room was the smallest and it was difficult to open my dresser drawers because there wasn’t enough room between them and the bed. I remember getting splinters on the back deck and sitting in the kiddy pool with my cousin Michael. I also remember the basement where all the Nintendo games were kept. I remember a sliding glass door and the kitchen table (when we moved to the suburbs it became the desk in the basement). I remember how my mom decorated the house for Easter, Halloween and Christmas and remember her baking.
I remember when we moved I cried for hours and begged to “go home” to “my house” with “my wall paper”. My mom reassured me that we could hang the same wallpaper in my new big girl room, but I wasn’t having any of that. We moved the day after my birthday (I share it with my dad, uncle & aunt) and at the time I remember it being the WORST birthday present ever.
Looking at this picture I realize how much it must have hurt my mom is leave that house behind and build a new one. All the important events and memories made in between those walls. Bringing home her baby boy. All the first’s that happened there. My brother walking, talking, reading his first book, first day of school, riding his bike into a tree and coming home bleeding, first holy communion, preschool and kindergarden graduation… Bringing me home and my first steps and words…
I didn’t realize that until just now. It was a very important and wonderful place for my family, especially for my mom. I’m so grateful to my parent’s who made so many memories for me to look back on. I wonder if anyone ever thinks of those things when buying their first home. What memories were made there, what memories will be made? And if you were to move and leave it all behind, what would be the first memory that would come to mind if you were to find these photos 20+ years later?