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Category Archives: Mother

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Your Days are Numbered.”

I wrote this post in January of 2014. As the post was about my days being numbered, I thought that I would reprint it with today’s number prompt.

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so many candles so little cake

It is January 26th – The day after January 25th. So far you are obviously impressed with my superior manipulation of the obvious.

However, my days truly are numbered and the day after the 25th suddenly becomes more weighted with emotion and consternation. Yesterday, my youngest child turned 18; a big achievement and a milestone for us all. However, while I was happy to hear that it was his best birthday ever, it brought reality crashing into the 26th.

This best birthday had nothing to do with me. He is away at school and happy with his teachers, dorm mates and looking forward to bench pressing at the gym.

I brought him into the world and he is more than ready to fly. In fact, he would fly just about anywhere rather than home. No, I am not being maudlin or feeling sorry for myself, it is simply the truth.  His days of adventure and the freedom to travel, without permission slips as a minor, are stacking up like his collection of boxed basketball shoes.

My kids are more powerful and independent and I am more tired. This may be the cycle of things, but it is still scary to see the unknown third act.  Arthritis is setting into my joints as my son bench presses 900 pounds with his legs.  He cannot get his clothes tight enough and I cannot get mine loose.

He tells me that the ability to push off so much weight is all in the mind.  How did the 18 year old figure this out when I cannot? So, it is January 26th, the first day of the rest of my life with “adult children”. Truly, a Mother’s oxymoron if I ever heard one.

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Thanks for stopping by! It means more than you know.

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job of grandmothers to interfere

 

 

Thank you.

Thank you for raising my grandchildren and inviting me to be a part of their lives.

Thank you for face-timing me at the craziest time of the day just so I can see their smiles.

Thank you for running an endless stream of culinary delights to help them to grow strong.

Thank you for protecting them and showing them how strong and organized a mother can be.

Thank you for letting me learn gradually that you are right when it comes to your children and I have to learn to bite my tongue.

Daddy and I get tired just watching you. It is hard to believe that a quarter of a century ago, we were doing the same things. Now, we are grateful and thankful to let you learn from your children how to be a Mommy.

For now, breakfast in bed would too easily become breakfast on the bed.

Physically, mentally, emotionally ~~ motherhood is challenging.  So many sleepless hours pass into oblivion once your child can say “Mommy” and give you a special smile or cuddle.

So, when the time is right, I hope that your children will learn just how hard you worked to raise them. You are a full time teacher, librarian, laundress, caterer, chauffeur, mediator, playmaker, and social director.  You can tell time by your children’s yawns and cries.  You let them fall – where I just gasp – and teach them how to get up again while showing that you are always there.

Happy Mother’s Day Princess! Thank you for all that you do for your children — and for your parents.

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Thank you for stopping by! I hope that you enjoy your visit.
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To all the remarkable women who are mothers, or who deserve the respect and adulation that Mommies deserve, I wish you much compassion, wellness, and humor.  After all, that macaroni frame is not going to hang itself!

things our mothers taught us

With Mother’s Day approaching, I am getting so much mail about gifts to buy, how to celebrate, and things to do with Mom. As we are in the transitions with my mother and grandmother, I empathize with others that are unable to celebrate on this day.  Ultimately, through good and bad, no one loves you like your mother.

I come from a long line of very strong women; I have even given birth to a couple.  The stories and memories that we share of our lineage bring smiles, tears, and laughter – especially to others who don’t have to deal with all of the other baggage! But the inventive sense of humor, creativity, and independence that each lived gives us strength when we need it.  It reminds us that they have not really left us, but remain alive in our hearts and minds with each memory.

Men may be the hunters and gatherers, but it is the mothers who cut the crusts off the sandwiches and make sure that everyone has exactly the same number of cookies.  Mothers can spend 12 hours in the warzone with toddlers, but when Dad walks in, he gets all of the attention. Motherhood is not always fair, sometimes fierce, often fractured, but it is an elemental love so deep and strong, that we persevere.

My mother gave each of us the legacy of family through stories, journals and photographs that she has researched, collected and created for us to acknowledge and remember family members that we did not get to meet face-to-face.  She grew up without grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins and therefore worked very hard to make memories, create family occasions, and document them with pictures and souvenirs.  We grew up with developing fluid in our veins. We knew that if it happened, Mom had a photo of it.  We have had more “natural” posed photographs than some, but we knew it was, and still is, done with love.

The oral history that passes from mother to child brings our ancestors to life. It creates memories and journeys to share with our own children. It is a reminder that mothers will do what they have to do in order to care for their families, and others, in a world that does not always stop to notice.

My great grandparents had to move from one country in Europe to another in order to find work and financially support their growing family.  My great grandfather went ahead to seek work, while my great grandmother waited in another country with my grandmother and her brother.  She waited until my great grandfather was settled and he was ready for them to reunite.  Each European country was tied up in its own borders, paperwork and bureaucracy.  It might be necessary to move families, but they did not make it easy and did not want to take in immigrants to swell the ranks of the social services.  My great grandmother did not let one such border crossing officer utilize his power to keep her from entering the country and beginning a new life with her family.  She was told that the paperwork was not cleared and that she could not enter the country. So, like the clever, strong woman that she was, she told her children to sit down and wait at the crossing, with the nice border patrol, while she went to find her husband and clear up any misunderstanding with the necessary documentation.

My great grandmother was allowed to enter with her family and belongings.

My grandmother was very frugal, as was my grandfather, who carefully measured each portion and calculated every penny of their combined paychecks. In the 1950’s, my grandparents traveled to Europe, by ship, with my mother and her brother to see what was left of the lives that they had been forced to flee.  There simply was not enough disposable income for lavish meals after the expense of the tickets and the limited income they were careful to protect.  Grandma traveled with a large black purse, a seemingly bottomless trapezoid, which opened and closed with a clicking snap.  She carefully planned for their modest needs and traveled with cans of tuna.  At each restaurant where they were able to eat, the bread basket was placed on the table along with the cutlery and linens.  Each time that the waiter turned around, Grandma would swoop the entire contents of the bread basket into her large black purse, and pleasantly request more rolls.  The family dined on tuna sandwiches throughout their journey.

My mother, undaunted by her own strict and occasionally domineering mother, was unfazed at times when she sought independence.  As a teenager living in New York, my mother dreamed of cozy cottages and country climes.  She had seen a wooden rocking chair and wanted to purchase it for her room.  My grandmother felt it was unnecessary and impractical in their modest-sized apartment.  My mother was told that she could not get it. Those are fighting words for my mother.  She purchased that chair and brought it home, remarkably, on the New York subway system.  Through many incarnations, and paint colors, that rocking chair has traveled through several moves across the country and today sits in her home office.

My mother does things on her own timetable and doesn’t let the seemingly impossible stop her. Where I am punctual, my mother found the concept of time to be more fluid. If we were supposed to be somewhere in five minutes, that was enough time for her to put on nail polish before we headed into the car.

When I was a teenager, my family moved to New Orleans for a number of years. Mom and Dad had to acclimate to the weather, so hot and humid compared to our New England winters, and become accustomed to a brand new way of life.  Both of my parents worked and had to figure out how to maneuver in their new environment while trying to find their way around the city.  In the days before Mapquest, and the difficulty in driving in the city while holding a large paper map, it was necessary to remember the minimum number of routes to arrive at your destination. On one shopping excursion, my mother had missed her turn and did not know another way to get back to the Mall.  As I was a teenager, fresh from driving lessons and my license still warm, I told my mother that the sign said “No Left Turns.”  My mother’s steely reply:  “Wanna Bet?”

How can we turn out any other way than strong, determined, caring, and possessing a wit and absurd sense of humor?

We are teachers, doctors, cooks, and personal shoppers. We are chauffeurs, social planners, bankers, and the butt of jokes.  We are tired, despairing, frustrated, elated and proud. We can be examples or warnings.  We are mental health counselors on call 24 hours a day. But wherever we are, and wherever they are, we are forever Mothers.

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Thank you for stopping by! It means more than you know.  I miss you Mom.
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J.K. Simmons accepts the Best Supporting Actor statue at the Academy Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles. In his speech, he told the audience to call mom and dad.

“Call your mom. Call your dad.”

That simple call to action from J.K. Simmons went viral during Sunday’s Oscar telecast.

“Call your mom, everybody,” said Simmons on the air. “I’m told there’s like a billion people or so (watching). Call your mom. Call your dad, if you are lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet. Don’t text. Don’t e-mail. Call ’em on the phone. Tell them you love them, and thank them, and listen to them for as long as they want to talk to you.”

Tapping his hand over his heart, he concluded, “Thank you, Mom and Dad.”

Incredibly, some people actually chose to negatively and sarcastically respond to his heartfelt speech. Even in the beauty of JK Simmons’ empathic and genuine life lesson learned, some chose to dismantle it into some 20 seconds of reflected fame and 140 characters of cynical disdain.  

 

jk simmons call your mother

Today, we can be blocked, disconnected, deleted and dismissed.  It is easy to be callous and careless, when you have one or two parents still alive.  For all the emancipation and estrangement, a parent welcomes (except for unusual circumstances) an adult child’s attempt at communication and reconciliation.

You are blessed to be someone’s child.

Losing a parent hurts, even when you are older in years, because your heart never forgets.  The person who used to tell you that he or she is proud of you is gone. The source of your personal history, and witness to it, is no longer there to be your cheerleader or sounding board.

Having experienced three losses so close together, I understand that feeling of grief and mourning.  We continue to talk to our loved ones, but  we cannot hear their replies.

Grief_elise thomlinson

Simmons told the Detroit Free Press that his Oscar comments were spontaneous and reflect what he’s learned since losing his father, who died in 2012, and his mother, who passed away in 2014.

“That sort of just fell out of my mouth, and it’s because I am a parent, because I loved my parents deeply and they were such wonderful parents and role models and we lost both of them in the last couple of years,” he said by phone. “I think it’s one of those things you can’t know until you know, like having a baby. You can’t know what it’s like until it happens. I had a wonderful relationship with my parents, but you can’t know what it feels like to be an orphan. Even if you’re an orphan when you’re 59 years old, you’re still an orphan. And it’s hard, so I want people to appreciate what they have.”

Make the most of the gifts that you have been given and recognize that it is, indeed, a gift.

Let those whom you love know just how much they matter ~ and come to appreciate the value and wisdom they carry.

Thank you JK Simmons for your life-affirming message, and your empathy, to turn your singular moment into one others could share and learn from.

 
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Thank you for stopping by! I hope that you enjoy your visit.
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