it’s complicated

Mother’s Day.

Who doesn’t think Mother’s Day is complicated…even just a little bit? I know it is with my Mommy Dearest and myself; but I like to imagine with my kids and me it’s okay…more than okay as they shower me with love via FaceTime, texts, cards, bath bombs, wine, chocolate, licorice, Hamilton lyrics and flowers.

It’s good to be Mom, y’all.

Then my beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy gifted me with a dozen roses delivered to The Big Top with a note expressing how he sees me as nicest, prettiest, smartest mom in the world, and I am done y’all. Done. Oh. My. Gawd. Yes. I cried.

He’s growing up. My baby boy. My fifth and final and youngest child. Grown up gifts, grown up cards with grown up sentiments and I…I am overwhelmed.

Then he comes to me to me at the end of the day overwhelmed in tears as he gives me the handmade gift he crafted at school.

I wanted you to have the most perfect day, Mom. I’m sorry that this can’t be perfect for you.

And, yes, I am a puddle of tears again.

It’s been a grueling, emotional time for this one…testing for his red-black belt in Tae Kwon Do, graduating from Middle School next week…so much more because, people, we are fifteen years old with angst and feelings and hormones.

I pause for a moment, snickering to myself remembering each and every mom in the whole, wide world who told me how much EASIER it is to raise up teen-aged boys, then I hugged my son as tightly as he would let me; whispering fiercely that this Mother’s Day was perfect – it was absolutely perfect.

After the flowers die, I have this, on my my bedside table to remind me. PS He reminded me again in this that I am the nicest, prettiest, smartest mom in the world

Mother’s Day, it’s complicated y’all. I have the BEST kids! Yes, sometimes I am certain that I don’t deserve them either.

Blessed.

I am.

 

 

the big top trifecta

Thirty four years ago today…

…we both had big hair. I had the tiniest waist and yet I thought I was fat in that Gunne Sax dress. Oh, and we got married. A good thing because a few years later, Hollie made us parents; which meant on occasion our wedding anniversary and Mother’s Day would be on the same day. Then twenty-one years ago today…

…this child of ours crashed our anniversary. Naturally it would follow that on occasion May 14 would be our wedding anniversary, Mother’s Day and our Jodie’s birthday (in that order here under The Big Top, of course). Three times since 1996 to be exact.

Weird that we are all not together; I mean what young adult turning 21 wouldn’t want to celebrate it with her Dad and Mom on their 34th wedding anniversary and on Mother’s Day? Oh well. There is always May 14 2023; our next May 14 Trifecta.

for Mother’s Day

Have you seen what mothers want for Mother’s Day on Facebook?

Every year my children ask me the same question. After thinking about it, I decided I’d give them my real answer:
What do I want for Mother’s Day? I want you. I want you to keep coming around, I want you to bring your kids around, I want you to ask me questions, ask my advice, tell me your problems, ask for my opinion, ask for my help. I want you to come over and rant about your problems, rant about life, whatever. Tell me about your job, your worries, your kids, your fur babies. I want you to continue sharing your life with me. Come over and laugh with me, or laugh at me, I don’t care. Hearing you laugh is music to me.
I spent the better part of my life raising you the best way I knew how. Now, give me time to sit back and admire my work.
Raid my refrigerator, help yourself, I really don’t mind. In fact, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I want you to spend your money making a better life for you and your family, I have the things I need. I want to see you happy and healthy. When you ask me what I want for Mother’s Day, I say “nothing” because you’ve already been giving me my gift all year. I want you.

At first read, I sighed a little “Awww” because it’s such a sweet sentiment. Yes, this is exactly what I wish for Mother’s Day, and every day with my kids, now that four of them are grown. I will always be your mother; but now I kind of want your friendship. Except for the fact that I remember when I was your age.

Yeah, I know how that sounds and I also know that you’re rolling your eyes just a little – perhaps a lot if you are that one kid of mine.

But I do, kids. I do recall what it was like to be your age trying to figure out this adult life thing along with love and sex and relationships, balancing budgets, saving – or not saving, school, career, marriage, having babies, having more babies, and everything else that is adulting. I know that nothing filled me more with self-doubt and self-loathing as an adult than the advice that I never really asked for – and there was a lot of it – whether I asked for it or not – usually I did not ask for it.

And so, kids, I bite my tongue – A LOT.

I want to talk to you about your life, your loves, your friends, your school, your career. I definitely wonder if marriage is for you – and children. I want to know about who was that one guy on your Instagram and Snapchat. I am curious about your plans for school, your job, your career. I even want to see what your friends are sharing about you on that birthday tribute page.  I do, kids. I really do.

But I can still remember when I was your age.

Some things are private – for you – for me. As mom, I am not a fan. As a person who values the trust we have built together, you know, as friends, I do my best to respect you.

Yeah, I bite my tongue a lot.

But, my dear kids, I know that I raised up some pretty awesome people – because of, or perhaps in spite of my parenting. And that is why I am privileged to enjoy our conversations – when you ask me questions, ask my advice, tell me your problems, ask for my opinion, ask for my help. When you to come over and rant about your problems, rant about life, whatever. When you tell me about your job, your worries, your kids, your fur babies. I love when you laugh with me and, occasionally, when you laugh at me. I love when you are here, raiding my refrigerator and pantry too. Most of all, I love just hanging out with you – all of you. That time together reminds me what amazing people my children are and, yeah, I am going to take some credit for that.

I love you kids! Thank you for making me a mom. More than anything, that is the best Mother’s Day gift; all of you.

forever in their eyes

Thirty years ago, I was called “Mom” for the very first time. Sitting at a family Mother’s Day brunch, feeling so beyond tired and a little nauseous (and jealous) while most everyone else around me was enjoying bottomless mimosas, someone wished a “Happy Mother’s Day, Mom” to me for the very first time. So it began while I was only about twelve weeks pregnant with my first born. I was Mom…and I would go on to always be Mom…my kids, the teachers, the doctors, the nurses, my darling husband, my kids’ friends and even my kids’ friends’ moms. There is so much more to the me that I am than me being Mom but Mom I shall forever be because of the people who made me Mom…Hollie, Zoë, Abigael, Jodie and Daniel. For them that is always first how they shall see me and think of me as…I am Mom; affectionately, Mommy Dearest.

I don’t pretend to imagine that I am the best mom ever. The mistakes made along the way are certainly proof of that. But I am confident that I tried my very best always with all the baths, the books read, the meals made, the homework checked, the car rides, the concerts and games and recitals and shows attended, the doctors’ visits and occasional trips to the ERs and hospital bedside vigils and the endless sleepless nights well beyond the promised post newborn baby period. Hollie, Zoë, Abigael, Jodie and Daniel perhaps might not think of all of these when they think of me, but I trust, hope and pray that when they do think of me they will know Mom, in one small way or another is always there when they need me the most because I am…even if it is just that voice in their heads.

To my darling children who right now are looking at this six year old family portrait thinking, “Really, Mom! You had to chose THIS picture of us to share?”, I will remind you of what your Dad and I do want this year for Mother’s Day, your parents’ wedding anniversary and Father’s Day…love you kids!…get on it!…make those family pictures happen!

Thank you, my children, for transforming me, turning me in to forever Mom. May you always see the good, the fun, the silly and every time that I was and am there for you and, perhaps a lot like this.

Well, except for the hair styling because, kids, we all know that is certainly not true about me thanks to so much photographic evidence…and whatever is chewy chicken to you.

Hazel’s Mother’s Day tribute to her mama brought back so many memories. I am certain I have at least five very similar tributes tucked away somewhere. It’s things like these that make a Mom laugh, cry and reassure them just a little that they really are all right…and the kids will be too.  Hazel’s Mother’s Day tribute also provides further proof that Hollie is indeed raising someone so much like herself…and, that she is, in all the good ways, a lot like me. That will be one of the good things about Mother’s Day 2016.

this time on my own terms

I have to confess that as much as I LOVE holidays, I kind of hate them too. They almost never fail to disappoint. Such is the life of a survivor I guess. No matter how scary, no matter how toxic, I have always held out hope that Christmas, birthdays, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Independence Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Arbor Day, ‘Any” Day would be warm and love-filled and absolutely, most definitely toxic drama free. That hope beat with my heart through my childhood and went on limping into my adult life. Yeah, but “hope in reality is the worst of evils because it prolongs the torments of man”. Thank you Nietzsche! You so totally rock…and suck just a little bit.

Still I remained ever the optimist with hope in my stomped upon heart because I am what I am and I continue to be so in spite every single drama-trauma that is often holidays in my life.

You gotta have hope, right?

But as Mother’s Day approached bitterness seeped in. Why hope for all the things everyone brags about every holiday on Facebook: being surrounded by the kids and their spouses and all the grand babies, showered with gifts galore which must all be shared on Instagram, the blowing of the bubbles, the kite flyings, the brunches on the beach, the surprise parties, the barbecues and on and on and on. Why wish for these things? Why hope that you would be invited and included when you know it won’t happen?

Fucking Nietzsche!

Reading Annie Lamott’s essay again certainly helped to add to the bitterness.

Dang!

Right?!

I can see some of the points Lamott makes. I mean, for me at least, it seems that holidays that are important to me have become a chore for others; as in oh geez, we better do something for mom or the wife here or she’ll be mad and when mom ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy…The last couple important holidays to me have felt exactly like that. Maybe that’s how they really were or maybe they were but a part of my own imagination. Still the last thing I wanted was a forced celebration because we have to kind of thing.

Then Bill’s grandmother passed away. And Mother’s Day was but two days away. And all I could think about was Bill’s mom, Hazel’s daughter, without her mother for the first time. And Mother’s Day was coming. And I was soured by the whole idea of this is my day. And…and… Saturday night I insisted Bill go be with his mother.

Sunday morning there were roses, waffles and mimosas and bacon…yes, bacon…a lovely hand-made card from my beautiful son, small gifts that are so me from some of my girls, bear hugs and sloppy kisses from my grandbabies, FaceTime from my daughter living in LA followed by an afternoon of mimosas and chick flicks while my darling husband was in Santa Cruz with his mother. There was even a text from my brother, yes, that brother, with Mother’s Day wishes and gratitude for me taking care of him when we were little. Dinner came later than usual after Bill came home with a delicious salad, roasted rosemary potatoes and a dirty martini prepared by me and a perfect medium-rare steak grilled to perfection by my darling husband.

Mother’s Day celebrated, celebrated mostly on my terms. No tears. No pain. No suffering. No drama. No trauma.

Mother’s Day on my terms.