My Disney dream came true, my mom told me.
And, she said, she’d love to meet you.
I’m here, and I’m feeling so good, my friend said.
I have a plan.
You’ve always been so supportive of me, my daughter said.
What’s that plan?
I want to be an actress, my mother said.
She’s been looking for someone for years.
Oh, great, I said, looking up at the ceiling.
How are you doing?
My mother laughed and nodded.
I’ve been so lucky to meet some of my idols, she told me, smiling.
And now I want you to meet my dream.
I want it to be true.
I can’t wait to get started.
I don’t even know how to dress for the occasion.
I’ll try to do my best.
Thank you so much for meeting me, I cried.
This is a story about a family’s journey.
We met in a hotel room, a few weeks after our first child was born.
My husband, a doctor, was in town for a medical conference, and he was trying to organize a meeting for me to share the news.
My daughter was already pregnant, and she wanted me to come too.
It’s not that she doesn’t want to talk about it, my husband told me later.
She wants to talk to me about it.
But I just feel like it would be too embarrassing for her to be on the phone with her mom.
I wanted her to know she had me.
The truth is, I wanted to be her friend too.
That’s why I brought her to my parents.
They have to tell me that.
The rest of my life will be filled with family and friends and stories.
I will always be the only person I can count on for a hug, a kiss, a hug at the airport.
But as soon as we started dating, I knew I was different.
My friends would call me Betsey.
I would say, Oh, you’re Betsey, my friends would say.
It was just Betsey in their lives.
When I had my first child, my family called me “Mom.”
But that wasn’t right.
I was a girl, and my parents weren’t.
We met in the hotel lobby, with the baby on my shoulder.
I told her I loved her, and we cried.
She told me she loved me too.
My husband called me Daddy.
“You’re Daddy, too,” I told him.
My mom hugged me tightly.
I thought she was hugging me.
But when she kissed me on the cheek, she was holding the baby.
I remember thinking, That’s what a mom is.
She told me to hold my breath until we got to the airport, and then I started crying.
I cried even harder when we got off the plane.
Afterwards, I sat in a wheelchair in a waiting room, trying to make sense of my new life.
There was a lot of pain, my parents said.
There were tears.
I felt like I was having an abortion.
I knew what I was going through, they said.
My life was in chaos.
Everything I wanted, they told me over and over.
I’d been waiting all my life to be a mom.
So, when I was 18, my first baby was born, and now I was pregnant again.
I started dating my dream boy, a handsome white man who I’d met online.
I had no idea what I’d be doing with my life.
I loved him, my moms said.
He was so cute.
Even though we met in person, we knew he wasn’t going to be able to make me pregnant.
He had to undergo a hysterectomy.
I needed to know how much of a mom I was.
His first reaction was to call me Daddy, and that was the end of it.
I couldn’t bear to look at him.
I wasn’t ready to have a kid.
Before my first ultrasound showed me that my pregnancy was still going to take longer than expected, my new husband and I had to share our pregnancy news on Facebook Live.
My family wanted to know, too.
I still couldn’t believe it.
That night, my pregnancy test came back positive.
I went to bed that night, feeling terrible.
Two days later, my son, Daniel, was born and was the first of my daughters to be born.
He didn’t make me cry.
He made me laugh.
I called him Daddy, Mom, and everyone in the family called him Mom.
He was always there for me, Mom said.
And he never left my side.
On our third day, we had a big party for the family, and our family invited me to join in.
I didn’t know it