The Best Gift My Mom Gave Me by Mary Curran Hackett

What’s the best gift your mom gave you?  Today I’m delighted to welcome Mary Curran Hackett to share her thoughts.   Mary is the author of the bestselling novel Proof of Heaven, along with being a mom, a teacher, and many other things besides (see full bio below).   I had the pleasure of interviewing her last fall on this very blog.  Thank you for sharing your memories,  Mary!

Your time will come.

 There’s no way I could recall the first time I heard my mom say those words to me, because I am sure she was saying those words to my impertinent young self as soon as I started talking. Though I am sure it’s a stretch, it’s not too much of one to say that the first thing I ever said was: “When’s it my turn?” (Or some variation: “How come I can’t come/go?” “How come Val/Coleen/Sean/Maureen get to do that and I don’t?

I was born an interloper, a gadfly, a hanger-on. I joined the family long after it was well-established and “perfect” (or at least that’s how my older sister Maureen recalls it– “Two boys, two girls and I was the baby––I had my own room––it was PERFECT before you came along.”

And along, I came, trailing farrrrrr behind.

But it wasn’t always the worst place to be. While the older kids were running along ahead to ball games, parties, and movies, I had our mother to myself. I’ll never forget watching my dad pull our station wagon packed with all of my older siblings and an assortment of neighborhood kids out the driveway as they headed out to see The Empire Strikes Back, while hearing my mom assuage me,  “You’re too young now, but, don’t worry––your time will come.” (It was the beginning of a lifelong exchange: Me feeling like I was always the odd man out and my mother assuring me I was not.) But, I also recall it wasn’t the worst place to be. After the car disappeared around the corner, I remember looking up to my tall, vibrant mother as she reached out her hand to my little one and walked me back into the kitchen and said, “Now how ‘bout you and I have a chocolate milkshake?”

Not a bad place to be at all.

As I grew, so did our family, three little girls followed behind me in quick succession and my sister Maureen’s perfect family of four dissolved into a chaotic and rambunctious estrogen-laden eight. And before I knew it my mother was right, I was the one headed to ball games and movies––and it was my little sisters hearing my mother say the same timeworn words “Your time will come” as the screen door slammed shut behind me.

But still, I wasn’t happy. While I was headed to the movies, the older kids were well on their way to colleges, careers, foreign countries, bars, and weddings. Suddenly my “times” weren’t good enough. A couple of years later, when I was a single mom living in my parents’ basement, caring for my daughter, and working two jobs, I’d often complain to my mom (over coffee now, instead of milkshakes): “How come it seems so easy for others? How come all of this is so hard? What if I never find someone who loves me? What if none of things I hoped for myself or wanted to become ever become real?”

I could  tell she was about to say it: Your time will come. But she didn’t. Because she didn’t have to. I knew.

Have faith, Mary. Be patient. Your time will come.

And though I was far away from my mom when I walked into my first college class as a teacher, or stepped off a plane that landed in Italy, or beheld my newborn son with my husband and daughter standing nearby, or opened the box filled with copies of my first novel, I heard her ever faithful, confident, patient, encouraging, and wise words nonetheless. Only I didn’t hear “Your time will come,” but rather her other favorite thing to say to me:

See. What did I tell ya? God always has a plan for you.

Mary Curran Hackett is a sister, daughter, wife, mother, teacher, editor, and writer. She lives in Cincinnati with her husband, Greg, and children, Brigid (12) and Colm (6). She could write a book about all the things her mother taught her, but only had space here for one story. She is eternally grateful to have learned how to be a mother from the best of them. Her bestselling novel Proof of Heaven  (HarperCollins) is a tribute to motherhood and is available in all bookstores and major retail outlets and on digital devises. To find out more about her or “Like” her on Facebook visit her website at www.mchackett.com or to see her book directly go to Booksamillion  or to Amazon.com

One Response to The Best Gift My Mom Gave Me by Mary Curran Hackett

  1. Hmmm… I could swear I left a comment here. Oh well, I do not see it now, so I will leave this one today.

    When you first posted about Mary and her book, I added it to my reading list. While actual reading has not commenced, I can’t wait to begin.

    I loved reading this reflection, so beautiful and very moving. Thank you for sharing your memories here Mary.