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Missing Mom

The silver lining, if there is one, is this: Every time my mom, sick with Parkinson's disease and dementia, sees me, she "learns" all over again that I'm expecting. She stares at my bulging belly, quizzically at first, then, within seconds, breaks down in tears of joy. She reaches for my hand and rubs my tummy, and this is how the two of us, over and over again, celebrate my "news."

"Who do you need most when you become a mother? Your own mom," a friend with two kids told me years ago. Yes, I miss the days when Mom and I would gossip, shop, try out new recipes, talk about books. When she'd listen with infinite patience as I ranted and raved about work, friends, dating. But if the hole in my lifeĀ  -- that place where she used to beĀ  -- was large before I became pregnant, now that I'm expecting it's a chasm that seems to stretch forever.

Long before Mom got sick, she and I chatted every so often about how I planned to have kids someday. She'd tell me what an easy baby I was, and talk about how, when I called "Mama" from my crib, my dad would sometimes come to me, but I'd push him aside and insist on her. That was typically where these chats ended. Back then I had no special interest in picking her brain about babies and parenting.