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Category Archives: Motherhood

I published this post on July 16, 2014.  It is no less complex now than it was then. Since then, engagements and babies have added to the world of our family.  But, the communication is still shadowed in misunderstandings and different interpretations. Love is a fragile and complicated thing among families; it is fierce and determined, yet easily broken.

My love has been questioned, doubted and sometimes dismissed. As much as I wish that I could lighten their loads, these are roads that they choose to travel alone.  I am glad that my adult children have found families that bring them joy.  Selfishly, I wish that I could too, but perhaps, later in life it will come back around.  Can I say that I am proud of them? Would it matter? Perhaps, it is too late, for I am no longer part of the daily decisions, but I am happy for them.  I am proud for them as each is self-made as they continue to grow and develop.

Many years ago, my mother spoke to me about my independent and opinionated children. Then, she smiled at me, and said, “Hmmm.  I wonder where they come from?”

Indeed.

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generations by gilad

I love you and you will always be my child. I have been trying to stretch and grow to accommodate your view of life, but I realize that I am uncomfortable at times. Perhaps, it is because I am out of my comfort zone trying to be inside of yours. When I raised you, I had hoped to give you good character and kindness. Given your origins, independence, intelligence, and strong opinions could not help but be part of your nature. Sometimes, those opinions hurt me. You know I am sensitive and I was an easy target. But, still, I love you.

You have chosen to live your life differently than I have chosen to live mine. I try to keep my door open to you whenever you want to walk through it. We have made, and continue to make, different choices. I did not want to choose sides. I thought that I could lean over and hold on to all of them…. I want to be a part of your life and hope that you will grow to love me and include me in yours. However much I think we are the same, there is still too much difference. I am grateful that you are happy, but your version of happiness does not look quite like mine.

Will we grow to understand each other more as you grow in years? Will you choose me willingly, or reluctantly, to be a part of your life?

With every fiber of my being, you are like a limb; I could not imagine my life without you. When you are hurt and sad, I want to fix anything that happens to you. I want to comfort you and be the one who can make you stop crying or heal your pain. That fierce desire to care for and protect you will never change. But, you have found a love, that no parent can compete with, who reaches a part of your heart that I never will. As you grow, the brilliant colors are being added to your personal landscape.

What I am realizing, is that I want to walk with you on your path always, but you are walking on a road that I cannot follow. I am proud of you for choosing what you believe in and being self-sufficient. You are a wonderful friend and caring to those whom you love and cherish. You do not do everything the way that I do, nor do we have the same long term ideas, even though I wish we did. Please don’t judge me so harshly when you ask me to love you unconditionally.

Wanting to keep you near, but having to let you go is harder than you may think. Giving you roots, and wings, sounds easier than it is despite the gratitude that I feel as your parent. I can tell you that you were very wanted and are greatly loved. I did the best that I could at the time and continue to learn every day. If we are lucky enough, both of us will continue to improve until the last day of our lives.

With all my many words, ideas, and ideals, I still cannot seem to say the right thing. We do not agree on the method despite sharing the theory. We struggle to communicate at times. I am not perfect, and as special as you are, neither are you. We are two humans hoping to heal the future and right the errors of the past. While humans tend to focus on the bad, I hope that you will recall happy memories as well.

I hope you can grow to respect me and my feelings. I know that our relationship can be fragile despite the many years that I raised you. While you may not feel the same way, or understand, I promise you that you are a part of me always. As long as you are living, my baby you will be.

Remember, once I was your home.

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Thank you so much for stopping by! It means more than you know.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/complicated/
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Memories of childhood are a fragile thing.  The good things slip away while the negative things are enhanced.  History is revised and pain is magnified.  We carry a lot of baggage from our childhoods and struggle to let it go.

I spoke with one of my closest friends and, naturally, we spoke about motherhood and our children.  “You?” she said, “You were the Martha Stewart of mothers!”  Me?  She recalled the baking, the art projects, special foods, clothing, the trips and other things forgotten by the wayside. She said she was there all along and saw how much I did.  She said that she wished that my children could hear the love that I speak with for them and the sorrow that little of it seemed to be remembered.

We have photos, emails and witnesses to our efforts to succeed as parents.  But, layers of fear and insecurity lodge deep in our hearts and minds no matter how old we get.  Sibling rivalry seems to continue and anger blossoms.  We replay and repeat stories until they intensify in their importance or we create “new” memories.

As young adults, we seek to do everything differently than our parents and cover up the psychic wounds with activity.  As we get older, we doubt the level of love and connection to our family members.  My parents certainly didn’t love every decision or behavior of mine, but, thankfully, we had open dialogue about it.  Did they love us enough? Was their love “unconditional”?  I don’t know anyone who is loved unconditionally.   Loved fiercely? Absolutely.  But, while we love deeply, we do not always agree with the choices made or individually developed personal philosophies.  We are separate persons with different experiences and opinions.  These ideologies are just not our own, so our understanding differs.

Our children never stop being our children whether young or old.  I still get a thrill when I get a smile from my father or hear a shared memory.  But, I can also flinch when I hear his anger and feel like a young child again.  It takes a lifetime to figure out who we are within, and without, our families.  We don’t always remember the same moments from a single event, but we love.

We have layers of history and time that cannot be replaced.  No one will know us as long as the members of our family.  We create many friends who become like family.  But the bond of parenthood goes deep.  We never want to hurt our children and struggle to communicate this.

“Life is like an onion.  You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.”                                                  Carl Sandberg

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Our words are misunderstood as judgmental or disapproving.  Our tone, our words, our actions, and our motives are questioned and doubted.

I only have so much time to impart lessons and envy those with symbiotic relationships with their children.  My hope has been that my children turn out to be good people, kind and empathetic, in and out of the home.  I don’t expect them to live near me, but I do hope that they succeed in whatever it is that they do.  Whatever “happy” means, I want them to find it.

It takes a lifetime to be a parent, but we keep trying to show them the depth and layers of our love no matter how long it takes.

children are the only people that bring you to brink of insanity.jpg

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/layers/

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

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/layers/

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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Look at the eye contact passing between mother and daughter before the tape even begins!!  Oooooooohh.

The Academy Awards ~ bright lights, expensive gowns, hair and makeup, and publicity. Lots of publicity!

Melanie Griffith grins at her daughter and tries to keep her comments brief.  Asked if she will see the movie, she says that she cannot and does not need to see it to know how special her daughter is as an actress.

Meanwhile, Dakota Johnson just keeps plugging away. “It is just a movie. You can see it. I am telling you that you can see it.”

Mom Melanie is biting her tongue so hard, she is pulling her own jaw tighter than all that plastic surgery.

No mother wants to watch her child have sex, let alone have to discuss it.  After 24 years of cleaning up vomit, seeing you through chicken pox and stitches, and the misery of adolescence, a mother wants peace.  Mom does not want to watch you naked, and handcuffed to a bed, writhing erotically and moaning, while some sociopath hurts you to feel like a man. You are just going to have to take my word for it.

Dakota just keeps going like the steaming locomotive that all adult children are, with a one track mind, ready to run you over.  But just in case, this adult child will run you over several more times just to make sure you are dead and she has won the argument.

Awkward.

Melanie Griffith is smiling at her daughter.  “Ok, sweetheart….I am so proud.”

Meanwhile, she is silently screaming in her head: 

WE ARE IN FRONT OF ONE BILLION PEOPLE IN OVER 100 COUNTRIES.  FOR THE LOVE OF G-D, STOP YOUR WHINING.  I WILL FIGHT WITH YOU LATER IN THE LIMOUSINE.

Big Smile to the interviewer.

Meanwhile, Dakota does not give up.  It is her constitutional right to keep badgering the point with her mother

~ and actually gives her mother the {eye roll} seen and heard around the world.

As a parent of a young adult, you observe some of the uncomfortable and painful posturing that goes on between other parents and their children, particularly in social conditions.  The adult child is over the age of 21 and demands to be heard, as well as having the last word, on any subject involving her.

As parents, what we really want is to simply end the fight with as few words as possible.  We want compromise, and if at all possible, a shred of dignity.

While we do not want to see anyone suffer, it is a comfort to know that other parents are struggling to navigate the huge minefield of emotions, hormones, and independence.

Then, you realize that even with all the advantages this child grew up with, sadly, the tentative relationship between mothers and daughters is something we each have to go through.  So, maybe, we are not doing so badly after all.

(I truly empathize with this mother because those of us with young adult, or adolescent children, have been in this messy verbal sparring before.  There is no black and white as a mother……..as we endeavour to try our best, it is ALL Shades of Gray!…..I will leave the masochism jokes to someone else).

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your visit and comments.

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