You’ll Understand…

You’ll Understand…

It’s Mother’s Day, 2014. It’s a gorgeous Long Island day. The birds have been chirping tirelessly since around 4am, as they do around here. The trees are still in bloom. The sun is shining bright today, and all the clouds did their busy work yesterday so the sky is clear and the brightest of blues. A perfect day.

My kids haven’t harassed me this morning. They’re downstairs with their dad. I don’t know what they’re up to, but I suspect it has something to do with me. I remember being a kid and being so excited about Mother’s Day. Like it was Christmas! I remember so well conspiring with my dad, my brothers, and sister on Mother’s Day mornings about doing our thing for Mom. The one day we’d “do” for her–totally out of balance with the hundreds of days she “did” for us.

“Wait till you’re a mother. You’ll understand.”

Mom and Me, about 15 months pre-motherhood. (So thin and fancy I am!)
Mom and Me, about 15 months pre-motherhood. (So thin and fancy I am!)

This was my mother’s mantra. She used it for all kinds of reasons, from explaining why we couldn’t play with a certain kid, to why we were having spaghetti again, for the fourth day that week, to why she was hiding in the bathroom…

My mother was not Donna Reed. Like many mothers, I’m sure she struggled daily between being a person, a woman–being the girl she was before she became a mother at 21–and being a mother. These are different things. A mother isn’t human, exactly. She has a human part of her, like Superman has Clark Kent. But it’s the “Superman” aspect that we count on, and, as the offspring of Superman, we sometimes forget there’s an actual person behind all that extraordinary giving and sacrifice. A person with an identity beyond what’s in it for us. A person with hopes and dreams, sometimes shelved. With spice and verve and maybe even a wild streak.

This is my mother. She is 19 or 20 and, yes, she is smoking!
This is my mother. She is 19 or 20 and, yes, she is smoking!

“Wait till you’re a mother. You’ll understand.” I didn’t understand some of the things my mother did and the decisions she made. And when I got to be a mother myself, I, one time, challenged her on one of these things because I can be a little shit sometimes. Which she knew, because she was my mother.

Me, shitty and defiant: “I’m a mother now. I still don’t understand why you’d ever….” whatever it was.

Without skipping a beat, she looked at me and said, “Wait till you’re a grandmother. You’ll understand.” Ah, she was ready for me.

I understood. I finally understood.

Mom with Dad and the "grandbabies." Oh how she loved these little monsters!
Mom with Dad and the “grandbabies.” Oh how she loved these little monsters!

I was lucky enough to have my mom into my forties. Lucky enough to know her both as a mother and a grandmother. It was really when she became a grandmother that I started to understand her more. Not when I gave birth, but when the mother lifestyle really took hold. The endless needs. The birthday parties. The PTA. All of the obligations. The laundry. The homework. The goddamned f@cking homework!

The “playing field” leveled somewhat, and I did have some time to understand why she didn’t sign up for field trips or ever be a class mother. And for a few fleeting years, we understood together. Without her, I’m not sure anyone will ever understand me the same way again.

I haven’t blogged since her passing last fall, but I blog today to celebrate her. For all of you celebrating with your moms, celebrating your mom’s memory. For all of you new moms, expectant moms. For all of you who long to be moms, and all of you who are moms to furry loves, I understand. Thanks to my mom, I understand.

Go and enjoy yourself! Be yourself! Happy Mother’s Day!


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“Mother, May I?” by Brea Brown

“Mother, May I?” by Brea Brown

“Please, don’t press those buttons.”
“Please, don’t try to sit on my lap when I’m working on my laptop.”
“Please, don’t sit next to me and fart.”
“Please, don’t do anything to make your brother screech.”
“Please, don’t climb on my shoulders.”
“Please, don’t put that balloon in my face.”
“Please, don’t yell at the TV while sitting three inches from my ear.”

These are typical utterances from me when I’m trying to write at home. Tonight is a perfect example. Someone didn’t take a nap or a crap today (my three-year-old, not my husband, although I haven’t asked my husband about his bathroom activities), so he’s extra-whiny, clingy, and—let’s be honest—obnoxious. Sure, you could say he wants attention. I say he has a death wish.

But this is life. I’m a mom, wife, and a full-time employee. Then I come home and write. I write in the evenings. I write on the weekends. I write whenever I have a spare minute. Lunch breaks, waiting in the car for my teenage son to finish up at softball… it’s all fair game. Pun intended.

I envy the writers who have the luxury of letting inspiration strike them. I have to nab inspiration by the scruff of the neck, lick my thumb, and give it a spit-bath whenever I can. “Get over here, you dirty manuscript!”

And often times, I have to devote a lot of energy to tuning out my surroundings. Do I get strange looks in the dark movie theater parking lot, where I sit behind the wheel of my car with my laptop screen casting a glow onto my face as I wait to give my son and his friends a ride home? Yes. Is it difficult to write with the smell of farts wafting around me? Sure. But nobody said this whole writer thing was easy or glamorous. And if they did, they were big, fat, stupid, poo-poo head liars.

The point is (did I really have a point?), I love to write. And now, thanks to the encouragement of friends, family, and a few role models along the way who saw something in me that I wasn’t truly sure I had, I now have readers who love to read what I write. Not a million readers. But enough readers. So it’s more than just a hobby now. And I make it a priority. I find time for it. Every single day.

And I’m a better mom for it. I’m happier and more fulfilled than I ever was with my original career choice. I’ve given myself permission to do what I love to do.

What do you love to do? What do you give yourself permission to do? How does it make you a better person to the other people in your life?

Mother, may I? Yes, you may!



I live in Springfield, Missouri, where nothing ever happens, so I make things up in my head. My published books are Daydreamer, Quiet, Please!, Plain Jayne, and the Secret Keeper series (The Secret Keeper, The Secret Keeper Confined, The Secret Keeper Up All Night, and The Secret Keeper Holds On.) I’m currently writing The Secret Keeper Lets Go. Stop by my website for links to my books, a peek at my blog, and a glimpse of my Tweets (that’s right… hubba hubba). I’d also love it if you stopped by my Facebook page and said hi. I’m on there. All. The. Time. I have three boys, a very understanding husband, and a crush on several celebrities, including Colin Firth and The Man in the Yellow Hat.

Connect with Brea!



Twitter (She loves Twitter dearly; she’ll be delighted!)



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