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Arts + Life
Thu May 9, 2013
Preserving The Motherhood Advice And Memories Of A Mom
Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 8:10 am
In 2008, Rebecca Posamentier visited StoryCorps with her mother, Carol Kirsch.
"My mom was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's, and I was hoping to get her voice and her thoughts on tape before she couldn't express them anymore," Posamentier said recently during a second visit to StoryCorps.
Kirsch died in March 2011, but during that first visit, Posamentier chatted with her mother about well, motherhood.
"Um, Mom was very insecure, because she had polio as a child, and she had a limp for pretty much all her life," Kirsch said about her own mother. "She felt that she was not whole somehow, so I had a rocky relationship with Mom. And I was afraid to have children for many years, but I'm so glad I did."
At the time of the first StoryCorps visit, Posamentier was in the late stages of pregnancy with her first child. She asked her mother what she wanted to share with her granddaugher once she was born.
"Well, I'd want her to know that she's going to be very loved," Kirsch said. "And, you know, I've told you that I was worried that my Alzheimer's would get worse, and that I wouldn't be able to spend time I want with her. I really hope I can do that for a while."
And, for the first two years the grandmother and granddaughter were very close.
"But Sophie was so little — she was only 3 when [Kirsch] died — that I don't know how much she'll really, truly remember," Posamentier says today. "The sad part for me is that she modeled everything for us."
A couple of days before Posamentier left for college Kirsch told her about how her parents had not necessarily been supportive. So she told Posamentier that no matter what happens, even if it's horrible, she should still tell her about it. She would help her to get out of whatever situation.
"Those are the qualities of motherhood that I want to have, too," Posamentier said in 2008.
Now that she's a parent, Posamentier says she would love to talk things out with her mom.
"And that's what I miss the most right now."
Audio produced for Morning Edition by Katie Simon.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Hey, it's Friday, time for StoryCorps. And today we have something a little different, as we approach Mother's Day. Rebecca Posamentier recorded two StoryCorps interviews five years apart. She first sat down with her mother, Carol Kirsch, and at the time, Rebecca was expecting her first child. She came back to StoryCorps this week to reflect on that conversation.
REBECCA POSAMENTIER: I first came to StoryCorps in 2008. My name is Rebecca Posamentier, and I'm interviewing my mom.
CAROL KIRSCH: My name is Carol Kirsch.
POSAMENTIER: Tell me - my mom was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's, and I was hoping to get her thoughts on tape before she couldn't express them anymore. What about your childhood and your relationship with your mom?
KIRSCH: Mom was very insecure, because she had polio as a child, and she had a limp. She felt that she was not whole somehow, so I had a rocky relationship with Mom. And I was afraid to have children for many years, but I'm so glad I did.
POSAMENTIER: Me, too.
I think in the original interview, I was due in five or six weeks with my first kid.
You mentioned Sophia. When she comes, what are some of the things that you would want her to know?
KIRSCH: I'd want her to know that she's going to be very loved. And, you know, I've told you that I was worried that my Alzheimer's would get worse, and that I wouldn't be able to spend time I want with her.
POSAMENTIER: For the first two years, they were very close. But Sophie was so little, I don't know how much she'll really, truly remember. And my mom, she modeled everything for us.
I think maybe a couple of days before I was heading off for college, you said that no matter that what happens, even if it's horrible, I should still tell you, and you'd help me to get out of whatever situation. Those are the qualities of motherhood that I want to have, too.
The sad part for me is that now that I'm a parent, I would love to talk things out with her. And that's what I miss the most right now. You know, we had this routine of saying goodnight. She would come upstairs and sing me lullabies.
I think it would be great if you could sing one of the lullabies to future babies that aren't twinkling in anyone's eye quite yet.
KIRSCH: Okay. (Singing) Tu-lu-lu-lu-lu, don't you cry. Mommy won't go away. Stay...
POSAMENTIER: (Singing) Stay in my arms while you still can. Childhood is but a day. Tu-lu-lu-lu-lu, hush-a-bye, mommy won't go away.
INSKEEP: Rebecca Posamentier, at StoryCorps. Her mother Carol Kirsch died in 2011. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.