More than 24 years ago I told my mother I didn’t want to see her anymore, that she didn’t have to pretend to want to see us. Just like that, she was gone.

I can remember the weekend vividly, and that is a feat because I don’t remember a lot from my childhood. 

That weekend though, sticks out in my mind because, of all the things I could ever say to someone, I regretted the words that came out of my mouth for YEARS. 

My brother and I had just returned home to our tired and tiny apartment after a weekend visiting our mother and her *then* boyfriend (who shall remain unnamed because he now has a popular “holmes” repair show). 

It wasn’t long after we walked in the door and plopped on the couch that our father was on the phone in a heated discussion with our mother. 

I can’t quite recall the exact disagreement but I remember they were arguing over transportation and frequency of visits.

“I’m not a taxi service … what am I supposed to do when my car is in the shop … the bus is safe … they are mature …”

I knew that there was some discontent over the fact that my brother and I travelled on the bus for a few stops unaccompanied, something that – in TODAY’S world – would be a complete no no, but 24 years ago … meh.

I can remember sitting in the corner of our brown sectional sofa, tucked in with a can of pop and a snack, eves dropping on *what I assumed* was an attack on my father.

Hey girl, this is just the first “installment” (if you will) of the journey to finding my mother. I am excited to share and take you along as our family prepares for a half way cross Canada trip to meet everyone.

Please make sure to comment and subscribe to the blog to make sure you never miss a moment. This is just the beginning of a reconciliation 24 years in the making.

Cassandra Wells

Being the young woman that I was, assertive and very outspoken, I decided that enough was enough. We had a good life with our dad and did not need occasional visits to appease someone else desire to feel like a good mom. I had made up my mind that, if people were not going to stay married than the next best thing would be for one parent to be completely out of the picture. No part-time visits, no shared custody, no attempts to make things “better” between real family and whatever WE were. 

A clean cut.  

I was naive, maybe. 

Stupid, yes. At least in retrospect.

Being a mother now, having five children, three of which can readily tell me how much they love me.  Who can become angry with me when I cut a sandwich the wrong way. Who can whisper in the middle of the night and draw me from the deepest of slumbers … I can’t imagine how cutting my words were. 

“I don’t want to see you anymore.”

I can’t fathom the tears and deep hurt that accompanied the weight of hanging up the phone that last time. Wondering if it was just the fit of an eight-year-old attempting to seem mature beyond her years. Considering the release a blessing in disguise because the visits were tense and awkward. Thinking these were the last words that you would ever hear from your child. 

“I don’t want to see you anymore.”

No light hearted goodbye, no I love you. 

Cutting conclusions, piercing the heart.  

More than 24 years ago I told my mother I didn’t want to see her anymore, that she didn’t have to pretend to want to see us. Just like that, she was gone.

At the time, I thought I was being mature, that I was solving a problem. I thought that I could end the arguing. I was relieving someone of the obligation to play family. I was protecting my brother and I from parents who didn’t love each other and could hardly talk to one another anymore. 

I thought I was being a grown up. 

I never considered the weight of my words and how they would have been received. I gave it barely a second thought. 

I didn’t cry because I would no longer see my mother. I wasn’t sorry that I had been so rash. I thought I had done a good thing and our life went on as it normally did. 

Just my father, my brother and I. 

We can fast forward through so much of my childhood and younger adult years. The years I thought that I had done the right thing. Where I scarcely brought to memory the times I had spent with my mother. When – instead – I kept my focus on the future, on becoming “successful”.

I worked hard through school, university included. I didn’t have to worry too much about friends because I was – and still am – notoriously awful with women. I focused on getting good grades and staying *mostly* out of trouble. I had a boyfriend (my now husband) and a plan, to do better than my parents. 

My mother was long gone and was probably blissfully unaffected by the absence of my brother and I, I rationalized. 

We had it all figured out. 

Until I didn’t. 

I think the first time I thought about my birth mother was when I was elbow deep in baby poop. When my own breastmilk stained every shirt I owned. When I was looking down the barrel of overwhelm, of being in over my head. 

The first time I thought about my mother was when I realized I was walking in her footsteps. 

Sure, I was more successful, better educated, and I assumed that I had a stronger marriage than her and my father (I mean, my new husband and I had already been together for 10 years … nearly three times longer than my parents). But I was newly married, already had a baby, and was pregnant AGAIN … my children would be less than 14 months apart and I had no clue what I was doing. 

There would be nights when I would wonder what it was that pushed my mother over the edge, that sent her packing. What was the thing, the straw that broke the camels back and when would that happen to me? 

Would I run away from my children because it got too hard, because the stress of motherhood was too much?

When would I break?

Those thoughts haunted me as we welcomed our second son, as we treaded blindly through the unchartered territory of building a family. I would often find myself arguing with my husband over the stress of raising children. I would beg him for affirmation on the journey, question whether I was doing it right? Wondering if I was a good enough mother. 

When he asked me to be a stay at home mom, I nearly lost it. 

I cried spontaneously for days at his request. I couldn’t be a stay at home mom. I had no IDEA what motherhood was supposed to be. I had no example to follow. 

I would remind my husband time and time again that I didn’t grow up with a mother. I had no idea what it meant to have maternal instinct and I was still waiting for the trigger to hit when I would get in the car and never look back. 

The fear of breaking under the weight of motherhood slowly faded into a lost memory the more children we welcomed into our family. I started to find a groove in the journey of raising boys and, while I still lost my temper all too often, I wasn’t worried that I would want out. 

I was a boy mom. I was winning over this subconscious insecurity and the thoughts of my mother were blurring once again on the horizon of doubt and fear. 

And then we got pregnant again, with our fifth child! This time, though, we would be welcoming a young lady into our lives. 

Things were about to change. 

And, while this new revelation did not immediately spark thoughts of my mother, it was the precipice that would set in motion all the hormones that would change everything. 

Literally, change everything. 

It started with a Facebook post.

Now, if you know me, you know that I am not a sucker for the “viral” Facebook posts. 

I rarely share the ones that are intended to be click bait (more or less). But this October morning, October 1, 2018 to be exact, I decided to jump on the band wagon. 

Maybe I was bored, maybe I felt as though no one knew I existed anymore, lost between changes of seasons, holiday demands, and a pregnancy that was already tipping the scales as my hardest EVER. For whatever reason, I decided that I would play along. 

That morning, my friend Jess had posted a “share your pattern” post. The idea was that all of your Facebook besties and THEIR besties would comment with pink and blue hearts what their family line looked like. 

A new age version of the family tree

Little did I know, there were unwritten rules to this game. 

I shared what I knew about my family, starting with my FATHER’S mother << you see, that’s where I was mistaken, apparently it is only the female side of the tree … 

When I was asked for “rule clarification” as to what lineage guests were supposed to share, being reminded that this was supposed to be the mother, the mother’s mother, the mother’s mother’s MOTHER and so on and so forth, I simple said that I shared my father’s mother because I did not know my mother’s lineage or story. 

That was the comment that started in motion something I never before considered. 

 

I don’t know what prompted his text or if my father had read the entire thread of this viral Facebook trend, but within an hour of me admitting that I knew very little about my mother’s side of the family, my dad sent me a quick text. 

“Your mother had four sisters … apparently they were left on the steps of a church … in Newfoundland … in the 70s”

That was all the information I needed. I figured there HAD to be something in the paper about a group of sisters, abandoned at a young age in a small town. 

I have no idea what compelled me to dive into a witch hunt of sorts but I began googling the town, the story of orphans, her and her sisters names. 

I had no clue where this would lead or if it would materialize anything. I mean, I had searched my mother’s name periodically on Facebook and Google here and there with no luck before. But this time, this time I had a fraction more information and some MASSIVE divine intervention. 

Within an hour or two of searching I found an article writiten during the past year that gave me more than enough information to take next steps. 

I read the article top to bottom three or four times, taking in all the information about this woman who I barely knew. 

I cried ugly tears and searched for a way to contact the articles author. I also did a hail marry search for a phone number. 

PS >> if you are wondering, here is a link to the article. Seriously, even now, when I open that article, my heart skips a beat. That’s MY mom. A picture of MY mom. The woman I honestly never thought I would see again. 

It didn’t take long to find what I was looking for. 

A phone number. 

An olive branch. 

A way of reaching out to the woman who, 24 years ago, I told I didn’t want to see again. 

She had no idea that I had this. I could just pretend like this little hunt never happened. I could take this tiny scrap of paper I jotted the number on and just “file” it with all the things I would never again touch. 

But something compelled me to continue. 

I had told NO ONE what I was doing, I had no guidance and no one to talk to. 

But I had a nudge to pick up the phone and dial the number. 

Man, when I say that it felt like an eternity before anyone answered, I MEAN it. With each hesitant yet bold number I pressed into my smart phone, with each pause between rings … it felt as though time was standing still. 

I literally held my breath wondering if anyone would answer. Wondering what I would say if someone DID answer. I hadn’t even thought far enough ahead to script and rehearse a greeting let alone flesh out what I thought this encounter would lead to. 

I was calling my mother, after 24 YEARS after all. 

The phone rang more than half a dozen times, each time my hope wained ever so slightly. The thought ran through my head that I could just hang up and pretend that this never happened. I could go back to being ignorant of this other life. 

And then it happened, a woman answered the phone and I lost my breath for a second. I could only muster her name. “Jacquie?” 

There is more to this story and I will continue to write and share but for today … we will leave it at hello. 

 

Mother Idols

Suppressing our feelings is like shaking a bottle of pop. For as long as those feelings remain behind tightly closed lips, the bottle shakes and quivers, building up the pressure and awaiting release. Start opening that bottle cap the tiniest little bit and you bet that baby is going to blow!

Real Moms – SAHM or Working Woman

Being a mother is hard! Especially when the world tells you to work as if you have no kids and to mother as if you don’t work.
Finding peace in the decision is possible.

What if You Don’t Quit

I wanted to take minute this wonderful Saturday, as you wildly prepare for all things Christmas, as you wrap the last dozen or so gifts *or toss them in a bag, there is no judgement here* and ask you a question.  If you would, take a moment to ponder with me over the...

Can my Child Clean the Toilet

Getting your child to help around the house doesn’t have to be a nightmare.

What if you made it a part of your everyday?

Train Up Your Child

To say that I have a particularly hard to love child would feel like an understatement, would feel like I am selling the stress of parenting, consistently correcting, or even just doting on one of my sons ... short.  One of my boys, Lord bless his heart, seems to...