Thirty-two years ago…reminiscing about motherhood.

I’m reminiscing about motherhood on this special day:

Thirty-two years ago today, when I became a mother at 7:32 p.m., on Wednesday, August 13, 1986, I had no idea of the difficult road ahead. No parent-to-be knows for sure what to expect in their new role, of course, but there’s a continuum of “typical” and there’s off-the-child-development-charts “unpredictable.”

If you’ve followed my story, you know where my motherhood experience fell.

I thought I was ready to be a mom. I had loving role models in my parents, I was an attentive big sister, and I babysat as a teen. I had a supportive husband, a fulfilling career, a cozy house with a crib, and a changing table stocked with onesies, cloth diapers, and blankies. I took my prenatal vitamins and shunned alcohol and attended LaMaze and breastfeeding classes, and read every page of What to Expect When You’re Expecting, first published in 1984, two years before Matthew was born.

I was prepared for a typical child. I expected to be a perfect mom. Matthew and I were neither.

But we’re resilient. Matthew’s recovery from his brain tumor, diagnosed when he was 11, is profound–unpredictable in a good way. Every time I see him, I think he’s smarter than the last time, and the last time, he was reading The Communist Manifesto. 

He’s one remarkable human being. I am so blessed that he is here today so I can wish him:

Happy Birthday, Matt.

Love, Mom

Thank you for reminiscing about motherhood with me. It’s nice to have company on the journey down memory lane.


  1. Sheba Olenik on August 13, 2018 at 9:28 PM

    Lovely Picture!

  2. Karen DeBonis on August 13, 2018 at 9:51 PM

    Thank you, Sheba!!

  3. Jack Herlocker on August 14, 2018 at 1:56 AM

    Wonderful photo, of the both of you!

  4. Karen DeBonis on August 14, 2018 at 10:08 AM

    Thanks Jack – It’s one of my favs.

    • Leon on August 15, 2018 at 10:41 AM

      Hi what tumour has he got ? X

  5. Debbie Kirsch on August 14, 2018 at 4:35 PM

    Happy Birthday to him, and of course congrats to you! But it was lovely for me to read of this day, because it was also my own mother’s birthday. And, is one of my best friend’s birthday (Sherry Brockett: Karen, did you know her from one of her 2 times working at RSC Library? She’s in New Mex. now). And third, but not least, it is the 6th birthday of the lovely and whimsical Marianne Mock, granddaughter of some of my local best friends! So, a popular date in my life, August 13th!

    • Karen DeBonis on August 14, 2018 at 11:39 PM

      I do remember Sherry! but I don’t remember it being your mother’s birthday. I was working at the library when I had Matt, of course, so you must have enjoyed hearing that he was born on Aug 13. Thanks for your good wishes!

  6. Debby Rampolla on August 17, 2018 at 2:10 PM

    Karen. It’s been a crazy week for me, so I just read this. It made me cry. While your story is one of many difficulties for you, Matt, and your family, it’s such a heartwarming story of perserverence, hope and love. I can’t wait until it is all told. It will be so helpful to so many.

    I love the picture, I love the fact that you two have worked through and continue to work through tough
    situations, and I’m glad that you guys have each other and that you are in our lives.

    Matt, Happy Birthday, with all my love. We are all so lucky to have you. ❤️
    Aunt Deb

  7. Karen DeBonis on August 17, 2018 at 3:16 PM

    What a beautiful comment, Deb! You can take as long as you like to read what I write, if you reply with such supportive comments. (You can take as long as like, anyway – I know you’re there.) You’re right – it is a story of perseverance, and also resilience. I wish you could see Matt these days. He has absolutely blossomed!

  8. […] my memoir, and re-living the challenging years of parenting Matthew through his brain […]

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