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amazing mother

A few weeks ago, I found myself lost in a time warp. Hours magically disappeared and I found myself wandering in the past…..

I took a trip to Target. For some, this is a weekly occurrence; for me, I have embraced online shopping for a long time, but decided to take a detour from my usual daily living.

While wandering the aisles, I looked at the arts and crafts supplies that I used to purchase in abundance. I saw the loot bags and treats to celebrate birthdays with young friends. Pretty clothing, funny tshirts, shorts, socks, small-sized sneakers… These used to be a few of my favorite things.

The shelves were crushed with fruit juice boxes and jumbo size bags of chips and snacks for packing 15 years of school lunches. I had lists of Column A and Column B choices for each child’s particular pickiness about fruits, sides, and main lunch options. Despite years of uneaten lunches and complaints, they all appear to have grown well and not a malnourished child in sight.

I am now so far away from being that parent to small children for whom I wanted to make things perfect. The attempts to find things to make them smile and be the prince or princess of their days seems long forgotten and dusty in their memories.

But, it was a reminder of where my life used to be, and transported me to another country, time, and place. Hours and years disappeared as I wandered those aisles.

I know that they cannot remember so many of the fine details that I labored over or the worries that entangled each decision for their well-being.

The life of a mother is long, as are the memories, and even when no one else can remember, we do. Our children are always in our hearts and on our minds; even the details of a life lived in the past remain with us always.

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

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You will wear yourself out worrying about your children.

You will stay up nights with newborns, croupy children in fully steamed bathrooms, 4 a.m. calls to get to the ice rink or gym, Will struggle to think of new and creative ways to feed your children and feed them dinner every day. You will buy the clothes and the shoes and the bows and the tie and the socks that match their favorite team’s colors or the colors of their birthday balloons. They will tell you that they no longer like that color, or team, generally at the party that you have worked long and hard to create.

Your children will not remember any of those things.

They will remember the time that you were at your worst and said or did something humiliating. They will not remember the numerous apologies. They will remember it and tell it to their significant other, friend, colleague, and therapist for at least 25 years or more and repeat it over and over until it grows in strength and horror. They will only remember a small part of the situation magnified many times.

You will go to four different stores to find the toy that they love for the Holidays and then, empty handed, will secretly buy it on Ebay. You will not want your child to know that you went without something else so that she would not be disappointed. You will want to be the person to make their magical dreams come true and worked many extra hours to see the sparkle in their eyes and the grateful smile that made it all seem worthwhile.

You will go to great lengths to settle for something so simple as their smile more times than they will ever know.

You will love your children more than they will ever love you. You will try to give them roots and wings and tell them to call you anytime, day or night. They will not call when you think that they will but you will settle all of your anxiety, anger, guilt and fear just to hear them say “Hi Mom.”

You will show off their photos and run out of places to hang their artwork.

You will carry scars that they will never see from giving birth, adopting, raising, and being the recipient of their anger and disappointment thousands of times over.

You will jump through hoops, stay up late, drive thousands of miles and hear that you never did anything for them. And, besides, they never asked to be born anyway.

Your heart will break when that vision of who your child will be crashes to the ground and splinters. Your heart will break when you have to seek professional help for that child or when someone says that it is time to let go.

You will defend the child’s behavior to your spouse, in-laws, teacher, medical professional and law enforcement. But you will pierce your own heart wondering what you did wrong to make him or her turn out this way.

Everything bad that the child does will be blamed on you and their lack of a proper upbringing or careful mothering.

You will never stop having to give money to your child. Period.

You will wonder how it took them two years to develop a vocabulary, and yet, they won’t let you get a word in edgewise.

You will fight for them with principals, teachers, doctors, other family members, and your significant other.

You will give them your last shred of energy even if they are dancing on your last nerve.

You will try to get through their adolescence, realizing that you have failed miserably to learn anything useful to use with your other children. You will realize that none of them behaved the same through those stress-filled teenage years and you will still be shocked and hurt to hear what they each have to say to you.

You will wonder why it hurts each time anew to be the least important person in their daily lives and how much time they want to spend as far away as possible. You will wonder why you have chest pains and stress headaches when they say that they do not want to talk to you, see you, or hear from you.

You will hear things like:
“I hate you”
“You never loved me”
“You were a terrible mother”
“Steven’s mother has food on the table waiting for him when he gets home”
“Sara’s mother lets her go to the Mall alone”
“This is disgusting and I will not eat it.”
“Why can’t you love me unconditionally?”
“Jessica’s Mom lets her……”

You will learn that you have no privacy whatsoever. Not even in the bathroom.

You will come to appreciate that newborns stay where you put them down and cannot say “No.”

You will question your sanity, your finances, your sense of values, your desires, work hours, choice of toys, organic produce, abilities to love and nurture another, the fear that comes with hearing about horrible things happening to children and pray that you never have to make those choices.

You will not know why it seemed so much easier for someone else to raise their children, if a tutor or a second language would have helped them to succeed, or if changing doctors would have affected the outcome.

You will cry more than you laugh and panic more than you sleep.

You will never stop apologizing and wonder why it is always your fault when they do not become accountable. Or accepting.

You will be amazed that you have done so many things over so many years and the time, money, heart, and strength it all took.

You will wonder why children will turn their back on you and seek solace and comfort from some other woman or man who “knows how to be a real parent.”

You will wonder what your life would have been like if you had never done this or had more than one child.

You will wonder if any other mother is going through these things.

You will realize that despite all the drudgery, hard work, sleepless nights, lack of money, hurtful words and withering embarrassment, you would have done it again.

dorothy parker_keeping children home

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If you are a Mom, have a Mom, want to be a Mom, or know someone who fits into one of these categories, please share.
Don’t Worry. They won’t be mad. IT’S ALL MY FAULT, ANYHOW.

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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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