I am back! I took a couple days off to be a bridesmaid (and photograph as much as I could) in one of my very best friend's wedding! I am so excited for them and I actually am almost ready to blog their photos (not yet 24 hours after leaving the reception- how's that for fast turnaround?)!

Now that the wedding is over it's back to business! The second major event that happened to me in 2009 was the sudden re-emergence of my mother in my life. I debated whether or not to write this blog entry. It feels very vulnerable to be sending out into cyberspace, but I like to keep it real and I think there may be readers out there who can relate to my relationship with my mother. I also want to honor all of the women who have been mother figures in my life.

To give a little history, I come from two parents who are both homeless and drug addicted. My mom has never really been a part of my life besides an occasional weekend visit every couple years. Those weekends were usually spent in whichever rent by the week motel her current boyfriend was living in.

It was dirty, smoky, and all around not fun, but I loved my mom and cherished my time with her. I would save up my money so I could take her out of the motels and we could go to a restaraunt... I even got enough money to take her to Disneyland once. I thought it would be good for her, and good for us to biuld memories. In actuality I was playing mom to her and to myself before I was 10 years old.

When I was in high school every Sunday I would go visit her in a drug rehab she was court ordered to attend. I would leave my friends and drive my old Bel Air to the ghetto and sit and listen to what was going on in her life. I tried desparately to show her love and get her to love me.

In college I decided it was in my best interest to very much limit my communication with my mom's side of the family. I realized that if I didn't work for my relationship with my mom we wouldn't have one. So I stopped. I stopped calling her and she never called me, except on my birthday (or the next day- she always seemed to think my birthday was the day after it really was).

Eventually her phone number didn't work anymore and my birthday calls from my mom stopped. From age 21 to 26 I didn't hear a word from her. I suspected she may have died and no one told me. I mourned for her, I mourned for the mom I wished I'd had but never did, and sought out relatioships with older women who could act as a mother figure for me. I grew up and came to peace with what my life was.

Then in July I got an email that my mom was looking for me. It came with a phone number. I debated whether or not to call her. At 26 I knew that my relationship with her as a child was a sham. She didn't love me the way I wanted her to, the way I had loved her. I was grown, healed, and had people in my life that I wanted to invest my time and energy in.

Eventually I did call and we actually had an amazing visit. She was still living in a rent by the week motel, but she was sober. She told me she loved me, she would always be there for me, I could come to her if I needed anything. I bought her dinner and a pack of cigarettes, just like old times. I finally had a glimpse of the kind, nurturing, caring mom I always wanted.

A few months went by and I didn't hear anything from her. That was fine by me- I am busy and would have been happy to visit with her once a year. But around November the phone calls started. At first they were gradual, once a week... then they quickly progressed to once a day and then several times a day. Our conversations were silent on my end and a seemingly unending monologue on her end about how terrible her life was. She was agitated and annoyed that I didn't have enough time for her.

Eventually I stopped answering her phone calls. Thus began the belittling voicemails about how I was a bad daughter and how no mother deserves to be treated the way that I treated her (by not answering the phone). It became clear that she is using drugs again.

Her accusations shed light on a lifetime of hurt, anger and resentment I held towards her. How could she tell me that I was a bad daughter when I tried my whole life to connect with her and get her to love me? How could she look at her own daughter and abandon her for a life of drugs and crime? How could she say I was a bad daughter when she was nowhere to be found every time I needed her growing up? Why didn't God give me a real mom who was safe and loving and could provide for me?

I prayed, thought, and talked it over with mentors and people who I know love me and decided that the best thing for me to do would be to leave that relationship behind. I don't need her like I did when I was a child. God has provided people who are healthy and mature and love me. And as much as I would like to help her, I know enough to know that no one will ever change if they don't want to. I can't help her.

One of the reason's I wasn't sure if I should post this blog is because I don't want to sound like a whiner, or ungrateful, or like I am trying to evoke sympathy. This experience with my mom is a good thing. Now I get to decide what our relationship will look like. I am not the child left wondering why my mother doesn't care about me or if she will call me this year or not. In the last year I have found and lost my mother for the last time.

I want to thank the strong, courageous incredible women God has blessed me with for being my "moms." From them I have learned grace, kindness, openess, generosity, and self worth.

My aunt, Renee

My grandma, who raised me from the time I was 7 until I was 16.

Diana Maddock, who took me in and gave me a home and a family after I graduated college.


  1. Renee on January 3, 2010 at 7:26 PM

    Oh my gosh, your blog is so beautiful and heartfelt. My first thought when I saw my picture was that I couldn't believe you were posting that picture. i look so old in that picture, and that's not how I see myself. Then I read the blog, and it brought tears to my eyes. It was very sweet, and I feel honored to be included as a mom figure. You are an important part of my life, and I think you are awesome!!

  2. Anonymous on January 3, 2010 at 8:37 PM

    Oh, my Nicole. I am blessed beyond belief to be a part of your life and to be one of your mom figures. I love you so much. Your blog is beautiful, as your aunt said, and I know it must have been cathartic to write it. You've come so far in the years I've known you and I'm so very proud of you. You are Nicole and you are awesome!!!
    AND you look EXACTLY like your aunt Renee!! She is strikingly beautiful and so are you. You could be her daughter....

  3. Nicole on January 3, 2010 at 9:55 PM

    So glad you decided to share. You are such a strong and beautiful person. The mothers of your life did a wonderful job, and hey, you had 3! I really admire how you handled such difficult situations, even at the age of 10. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. *Hugs*

  4. Paul on January 4, 2010 at 6:26 AM

    Nicole, You are awesome! I am so proud of you and all you have accomplished in your life. I can relate so much to the feelings of needing a mother who would care for and love you. I think it's awesome that God provided you with 3 great women to be mom for you! May God bless you in everything you do!