Posts Tagged With: motherhood

Giving In and Saying It Anyway

The earth somehow keeps spinning.

The earth somehow keeps spinning.

I’ve resisted as long as I can.

The voices have occupied my head for a day or more now. Ignoring them makes them grow louder. Sometimes what you want and what you need oppose each other like two big scary dogs, teeth bared, back hunched, a low growl, narrowed eyes, hackles up.

Fine. I give in. Here it is. The thoughts that have raced through my head the past twenty-four hours.

I’m not a Mother’s Day fan.

There. I said it.

What?

You want an explanation? Do I really need to give one?

Seriously, this year I decided to let go of that whiney, complaining, high expectations, nonsense that surrounds a holiday to celebrate motherhood. I had determined to embrace the joy, the beauty, the gift of life attitude of this greeting card holiday.

I nearly lost my Mom this past year. Twice. Heart stopping in its possibility, that thought has haunted me the past day. Haunted me since last July the first time it happened.

I’m sorry, but I can’t let my mother die. That can’t, won’t, shouldn’t, couldn’t ever never ever never happen. My life would come to an end if that happened. You see, there’s this spiritual umbilical cord-like thing that attaches her life to mine and mine to hers. Her blood beats in my body. I’m part of her and she is part of me, in more ways than the merely physical.

We might go a week or two or even a month without talking on the phone and six months or more without seeing one another, but the connection of daughter to mother is strong and undeniable and filled with comfort and power and this undefinable somethingness I can’t find a word for.

How does anyone survive the death of their own mother? And then, how much more pain is there on Mother’s Day when your mother isn’t there to call on the phone, or have over for dinner, or send a card to?

I don’t ever want to find out.

When my best friend died five months ago part of me broke loose and has rattled around inside me trying to find a landing-place. So far it just keeps banging around, running into things, pinching, jabbing, stabbing, clanging about.

She left behind four children who today celebrate, mourn, cry, thrash, scream, yowl, sob, pretend, remember, deny, cherish, ache. My heart hurts for them, for their unspeakable pain and loss.

Then I think about all the mother’s that might have passed away this year, last year, all the years and such sorrow washes over me. How does the world keep spinning in the face of such things?

I have no idea.

I do know that Mothers possess a singular sort of magic.

Maybe it’s sort of like this. Some thing in the power of motherhood pushes life forward, keeps this impossible ball spinning on its axis, gives us strength and will to put one foot ahead of the other, and whispers in our ears, “Live!”

 

 

Categories: Death, parenting, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Sibling Rivalry? Never…

Dear J, J, L and L,

Do you remember how I’d always answer when you asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day?

“Peace on earth, good will toward siblings.”

You all hated that answer. Or at least, you’d groan and say,” MoooOOOoooooooommmmmmm” in a whine of exasperation. I don’t blame you. It’s nearly impossible to run to Target or JC Penney and buy a cute box of good will. Even Wal-Mart, surprisingly, doesn’t carry either generic good or ill will in a bag. And wrapping up peace has so far proven unmanageable to even the biggest big wigs in the world.

It wasn’t that you guys never got along. (That was a double negative, which in math means a positive, right?) Let me rephrase that.

Ummm.

Okay, try this.

You guys didn’t fight constantly. I’ve seen worse. Much worse. And you didn’t come close to some the shtuff I’ve witnessed in other families.

Well, except for the Palestine and Israel years but we’re going to ignore that for the moment. Of course there was the infamous Scrabble incident but I blame myself for that one, in that I responded disproportionately to the constant volley of incoming fire between said “countries” during the game.

“I think this clearly shows that we spend far too much on fancy charts and graphs.” ~ attribution ??

“I think this clearly shows that we spend far too much on fancy charts and graphs.” ~ attribution ??

From what I’ve heard and seen, our family did pretty dang good on the siblings cooperating and getting along well ‘scale of warfare and petty grievances.’

I can tell you’re thinking, “has Mom really lost her mind now?” And you’d be partly correct, but I blame your dad for that more than you four. What you’re seeing and experiencing here is selective memory, and the fog that distance and time provides.

I’m not pretending there weren’t some all out brawls between you, because we all know there were some intense moments, days and weeks, yeah, and months and years. And yet, look at you now. You still speak to each other, you stay in touch, there’s no lasting damage to anyone’s psyche. We can get together as a whole family and there isn’t any major drama. How many families do YOU know that can say that?

I feel pretty dang lucky that it all turned out okay. And that it was more good than bad on the grand scale of things as far as sibling rivalry, conflict and combat goes.

You spent endless hours yelling “Marco” and “Polo” without any bloodshed or maimings. (Whining, yes. Cheating, probably.) Constructing hundreds of blanket forts without any broken bones, stitches, clawing or biting seems noteworthy. We even camped together without accidentally on purpose losing anybody. (We won’t bring up losing J at the gas station that one time, that was entirely my fault, nothing to do with sibling rivalry.)

Hot Wheels. Only the beginning of many thrills to follow.

Hot Wheels. Only the beginning of many thrills to follow.

J and J, you were each others best buddies for the longest time. I considered that the biggest benefit of your birth dates occurring only sixteen months apart. You worked together so well in so many ways. The most infamous example being when one of you, sleepless and bored during nap time, broke several slats off the end of the crib so the other one could crawl out and play trampoline on the bed with you. Evil genius right there, and great teamwork.

One of my most cherished pictures is big bro J with little sis J riding on the back of the Hot Wheel. You two were, even then, extreme thrill junkies zipping and zooming around like speed demons. Happiness personified!

Look how sweet and adorable! Amazing!

Look how sweet and adorable! Amazing!

And then Big L, you had this amazing gift of tongues when it came to Little L’s mangled language those first few years. What would I have done if you weren’t so in tune with what she said in body language and in words? What a great sister you were providing translations so that she and I weren’t so confused and frustrated in the communications department.

And then, few years later, as you patiently, every night for months, read Harry Potter out loud, until little L decided she couldn’t wait until bedtime and started reading alone as if it were oxygen.

What great siblings you all were and still are to each other. Pretty impressive!

I look back on those years and feel, relief, yes, but mostly JOY for the gift you gave me of motherhood. You continue to present me with delightful surprises and elation beyond anything you could buy at a store.

YOU four are my Mother’s Day gifts. Nothing can top that.

Thank you!

All my love,

Mom

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Family, Friday Letters | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Friday Letters to my Children

Dear J, J, L and L,

I’m not using your full names to protect you from my nonsense. I’ve been inspired by these four Dads whose blog is simply letters to their little kids. After reading their blog for a month or so, I suddenly thought, “I should do that!“ Except, you kids are all grown and flown. And you know me, the epic procrastinator of the century, I’d probably get around to an individual letter to each of you sometime around my ninetieth year, which is half a century-ish away.

So instead of my usual procrastination I’m going to have a weekly post of a letter to my children. One week it may speak to only one of you. Other weeks the letters may seem so off-kilter you’ll wonder why I even started it with the words, “Dear Kids.”

photo by Heinrich Böll Stiftung

photo by Heinrich Böll Stiftung

I just know that if I really want to get something done, then attaching it somehow to my blog and my writing will ensure that it happens. I hope you don’t mind the public nature of this undertaking. It seems a little weird, but also for me somehow, it feels safe. I don’t have that many readers anyway. And the few I do have seem sincere and kind and know me pretty well, or they’re related to me.

Another reason I want to do this came about after spending a week with Baby N and her Mom and Dad. I fluctuated between incredible pride at what a phenomenal Mom she already is and remembering what an epic failure I felt like as a new mom the first five years of motherhood. Rather than wallowing in my self-pity and semi-inaccurate view of my past life, I thought writing about it in specifics might help me paint a clearer picture of my life as a Mother. Maybe through this writing process I can forgive myself for those failures of naiveté, youth and inexperience. That’d be a bonus for me.

It’s been an evolutionary process to raise the four of you. I’ve learned things no university could ever hope to instill. I’ve felt some of the most exalted and some of the most heart-wrenching emotions as a mother. Most of it has been somewhere between the two extremes.

The other part of this Friday Letters to My Kids thing would be to paint a clearer picture for you of who your mother is. Or who I was back then. It’s not like I’m ever going to stop being your Mom. Hardly. It’s a lifetime buy-in that I’m ever so glad I stumbled on.

No names, but you gotta admit these are some cute kids!!

No names, but you gotta admit these are some cute kids!!

With that long preamble said, for today all I want to say is “Thank you!” I am a blessed woman to have the four of you in my life. I’m proud of each one of you for being true to who you are, for being kind, loving, fun, caring, responsible people. You’ve turned out better than my wildest dreams.

You’ve also made me who I am: a little nuts, a lot of worrier and a deep thinker, and someone who needs a ton of laughter for balance and sanity.

I promise I won’t ask you here to pack or move any boxes. I really won’t expect you to do any inventory, or yard work, or dishes, or organizing. A family campout might be in order someday. Can you imagine all of us, with the babies out camping? In the rain?

Oh, and most important of all, I promise, no naked baby pictures!

I look forward to our Fridays. I’m a little scared as well, but I think it’ll be a great ride. It can’t be any worse than being raised by me and your Dad, right? How embarrassing was that? Oh. Right. “Speedos,” thongs, who-hair, family singing and sewing projects. I’ll try to avoid anything that horrifying.

I love you,

Mom

P.S. (I know, I know, it isn’t actually Friday, but it will be in a few days. This is just the introduction anyway. It’s not really an official letter.)

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Family, Friday Letters, parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Perks of Parental Survival

Every parent understands the yin/yang, good/evil, adorable/despicable, sweet/smelly, insane/delightful opposites of raising children. Enough books, essays, blog posts, magazine articles and late night journal entries exist to fill the Library of Congress twice over on the topic.

This is not that topic. Not exactly.

A beacon...

A beacon of light…

Today I share a beacon of light for those of you somewhere between conception and empty nest.

One of my children, who shall remain nameless said the following, and I paraphrase due to my utter and complete lack of brain cells used up by said child and siblings.

“I’ve realized that all that stuff that just magically appeared at Christmas time and other holidays was done by you, Mother. It dawned on me that now if I want that stuff to happen, I have to do it myself.”

Do you hear that? That’s the sound of vindication Angelic Choirs breaking forth in song and shouts of hallelujah and Amen.

*angelic choir music*

*cue angelic choir music* (Photo credit: Crispy Lettuce)

I’ve walked on clouds since that phone call this morning. My feet have not touched terra firma, my heart has wings, light glows like a halo on everyone I see, well, almost everyone.

What’s this emotion I feel?

Satisfaction? Success? Relief? Surprise? Sorrow? Exaltation? Insanity?

Yes.

What a sensation to feel as if I’m… not exactly finished, but…on the other side of a long dark scary twisty rollicking hilariously terrifying ride called parenthood.

Oh sure, I still worry about each of my kids multiplied by two or three or four, but not in an in-my-face-constantly-what-was-that-siren-and-where-is-my-kid kind of way.

Animation of the structure of a section of DNA...

Animation of the structure of a section of DNA…kinda magical and scary at the same time, huh? (Thanks Wikipedia)

I’m so glad I didn’t give up a few years ago when it was oh so tempting! You laugh, but I was seriously considering moving in with my sister and leaving MSH to deal with it all by himself. But something in me, that DNA connection or something more powerful than the need for sanity, wouldn’t let me go through with my threat. I stayed. I stuck it out. I survived.

Even to this day there are times in my parenthood history that I can’t mentally revisit without tears, or maniacal laughter, or brushing up against near insanity, or absolute and total shock at my stupidity. That my children survived me at all is itself a miracle. That we all still speak to one another and love each other clearly stands as another marvel.

I’m not bragging. Oh, by no means, no. I’m just saying, if I got to this point, then almost anyone can get here. Really!

I haven’t figured out how yet, but here I am, on the other side of the tunnel.

Ever so tired.

But glowing.

I think I need a really long nap.

Categories: Family, Humor, parenting | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Awash in a Torrent

It’s Gratituesday! Today gratitude washes over me when I consider my children. All four of them were in town to celebrate at the wedding reception this past weekend. A whole lifetime of sweet memories, struggles, laughs, sorrows, silliness, sadness, good times and the insanity of family life flooded over me in wave after wave of remembering.

waterfall

(Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

When the house emptied out after a weekend of overflowing joy I recognized more than ever what a blessing each of them have been.

Let’s be honest, with parenting, it’s sink or swim. So you flail your arms about, kick your legs, gasp for breath every chance you get and eventually you have something that moves your through the water of parenthood. It wasn’t all roses. It’s a ton of hard work and sleepless nights, worry and tears.

But, there is a flip side.

rain dancing

(Photo credit: amboo who?)

We had some great times that surely balanced out the challenges. Swings, and slides, sandpiles and diving boards. Cooking and organizing, camping, rock climbing, hiking. Summer crafts and  road trips, summer library challenges. Sidewalk chalk, sleepovers, baking. Hide and seek, shooting baskets, building blanket forts, picnics, parks and playgrounds. Camping in the rain, puddle jumping, dancing in the rain. Skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snow walks and snowmen. Car rides to lessons, activities, games, practices, friends houses, camps. Let’s not forget story time and bath time, movies and barbies, hot wheels and ninetendo, legos, dress up clothes, sliding banisters, cats and parakeets, tire swings, singing, exploring. And so much more!

From that first dark-haired baby boy that I was clueless about, to the golden-blond independent caboose baby, I’ve learned how to be a real person from all four of them. They’ve shaped who I am today.

And them? Wow!!!  In spite of all the parental goofs, gaffs, trial and error and outright mistakes, they’ve become wonderful, kind, thoughtful, hardworking beautiful adults that I’m happy to treat as equals, friends and confidants.

Monsoon

(Photo credit: lokenrc)

This weekend felt like much more than a celebration of a marriage. It felt like a commemoration of life. The monsoon downpour of rain we had as we sent the blissfully wedding couple off into their happily ever after was a grand metaphor of the blessings of my life showering down on me.

Awash in blessings beyond anything I deserve, here’s a toast to the four of you! Thank you J, J, L and L. Being your Mom is an honor and the greatest joy of my life!

Categories: Family, Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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