I am now in the 5th decade of my amazing life.  I am a Leo and like the lioness, I am fierce, fiery, aggressive, strong, confident, the provider, the fighter, the hunter, the all-day sleeper and all night prowler. My children know, true to my sign, I would fight to the death for them. The path leading me to being their mother was a long and arduous journey but so worth each and every happy, yet sometimes heartbreaking, footfall.

But will they ever know what all of that really means and the many versions of me that walked that path?  Will they ever know the girl that I was, the teenager, the young adult who was always swimming against the tide, fighting and clawing her way through the jungle that is this world?  

I have no YouTube videos to prove my youthful beauty or silly escapades with my friends, only some old tattered photographs taken with a Kodak or a Polaroid. I have no streaming videos or digital proof to show my sons how I rocked them when they were sick or laughed at all their silly mispronounced words that made me laugh so. I only have stories to share.

I have some old, cherished scrapbooks filled with memories and when I turn those pages, I also turn back the hands of time. I once was quite beautiful, a child of the 60’s. I wore flowers in my hair, smoked pot, took LSD a few times, went to free concerts at American University and saw many of the bands my children are in awe of today; The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers Band and so many others I have lost count. I danced barefoot in the rain and even rocked the crowd on top of a bar once or twice to some long-haired rock and roll musicians playing so loud the walls would shake.

Will my sons ever know how well I could ride a stallion and jump a course of 5-foot fences bareback without flinching?  Will they ever know what kind of training, dedication and talent that takes when they unearth an old at faded picture of me on my horse after I am long gone? Will they know my heart has been broken more times than I can possibly remember when they see that picture of me smiling with sadness in my eyes? Could they even imagine me in my bell bottom jeans and flowered halter top gathered with hundreds of thousands in DC protesting the war in Viet Nam?

My two sons don’t have much interest in the me that once was and my stories are met with a grin or a nod and the conversation moves on. I want to scream and yell, “I was young and beautiful and I wasn’t always a mom! I was invincible, chased by many and only caught by a few wild young men I thought were the answer to all my prayers. I was funny, loud, determined and could always make my friends laugh. My hair was gold and shimmered in the sun and my eyes as blue as my indigo jeans.”

Maybe these things are better left unknown to our children but I would give anything to take a glimpse back in time at my mother running and flirting, tossing her long brown locks driving some young boy absolutely crazy. I was told she was “wild” and “uncontrollable” – words I have heard many times describing me.

I would love to have seen her take that 5-foot jump on an 800 pound horse with no fear, hair in the wind and her heart on fire with passion. I wish there were some way we could step back in time and observe our moms as young girls and bear witness to their passions, dreams and even their heartaches.

My tears fall as I write this. Getting older doesn’t make me sad; I cry because I want them to know I was and am more than their mother, that I was a girl once with a beautiful horse and a pocket full of carrots. I want them to know that some boys thought I was the most beautiful thing they had ever laid eyes on and I bet some of them still think of me today. I want them to know that I was as wild and free as the horse I galloped on and that back then the world was mine.

They were not part of my world then, it was all mine and I am not ashamed to say that at times I miss that world. Would I trade one tender moment with either of them to go back? No, not a chance. I wouldn’t trade those memories for all the money, fame or fortune in the world!

I go back and visit those days often though, sometimes alone in my thoughts and other times with the very girlfriends I shared them with. That young, wild girl is still a part of me, a part of my children’s mom and every once and a while, to their complete horror and embarrassment, they catch me dancing and twirling to The Stones’ Brown Sugar and singing it like a rock star in the organic food section of Wegmans!  This flower child is still stardust, still golden…..

“I bet your mama was a Cajun Queen,

And all her boyfriends were sweet sixteen

I’m no school boy but I know what I like

You should have heard them just around midnight” – The Rolling Stones

Mary Mclaurine blogs at The Heart of Sassy Lassie. You can also follow her on

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