What’s the best gift your mom gave you? Â Today I’m delighted to welcome Mary Curran Hackett to share her thoughts. Â 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). Â I had the pleasure of interviewing her last fall on this very blog. Â Thank you for sharing your memories, Â Mary!
Your time will come.
Â Thereâ€™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 itâ€™s a stretch, itâ€™s not too much of one to say that the first thing I ever said was: â€œWhenâ€™s it my turn?â€ (Or some variation: â€œHow come I canâ€™t come/go?â€ â€œHow come Val/Coleen/Sean/Maureen get to do that and I donâ€™t?
I was born an interloper, a gadfly, a hanger-on. I joined the family long after it was well-established and â€œperfectâ€ (or at least thatâ€™s how my older sister Maureen recalls itâ€“ â€œTwo boys, two girls and I was the babyâ€“â€“I had my own roomâ€“â€“it was PERFECT before you came along.â€
And along, I came, trailing farrrrrr behind.
But it wasnâ€™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. Iâ€™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, Â â€œYouâ€™re too young now, but, donâ€™t worryâ€“â€“your time will come.â€ (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 wasnâ€™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, â€œNow how â€˜bout you and I have a chocolate milkshake?â€
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 Maureenâ€™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 moviesâ€“â€“and it was my little sisters hearing my mother say the same timeworn words â€œYour time will comeâ€ as the screen door slammed shut behind me.
But still, I wasnâ€™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 â€œtimesâ€ werenâ€™t good enough. A couple of years later, when I was a single mom living in my parentsâ€™ basement, caring for my daughter, and working two jobs, Iâ€™d often complain to my mom (over coffee now, instead of milkshakes): â€œHow 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?â€
I could Â tell she was about to say it: Your time will come. But she didnâ€™t. Because she didnâ€™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 didnâ€™t hear â€œYour time will come,â€ 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 Â (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 BooksamillionÂ Â or to Amazon.com.Â