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death_maya angelou

My mother died five years ago today.  But, tears still come to my eyes.  My children have expressed (or discontinued contact) their opinions on their own childhood as each person packs and carries his/her emotional baggage.

 

Things were not perfect in my relationship with my mother.  I, too, have my own memories of difficult times, very different personalities, or way of thinking.  For those that hear the story, their degrees of separation make them smile at my mother’s behavior.

 

Her way is how she was and is remembered by so many.  Mom made people feel comfortable and welcomed in friendship even if they had met for the first time.  She wrote letters to a jailed community member to comfort him (we knew nothing about this until after she had died).

 

Despite the differences, losing my parent was very painful.  She died of a cruel terminal disease so we watched her suffer before she eventually passed away.  For her it was a blessing, but the gap that she left behind is so large that my father is still struggling to bridge it.

 

She left behind many grandchildren and great grandchildren who would be so grateful to have such a woman in their lives.  Now, she is a photo or the subject of a brief story.  Mom is a reminiscence or a smile.

 

But, for me, tears still continue to fall.  Grief is elastic but never fully leaves the spirit.  It is a goodbye that never ends because there is nothing like a parent and no depth of love that can ever replace it.

 

I don’t know if it is so, but I hope that she is still watching me from the door as I walk away…..

 

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Thanks for stopping by.  It means more than you know.
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gif_peeking through fingers

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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family loyalty_haniel long

 

Family is one of my priorities in this lifetime.

I have been blessed with a large and loving family.  If there is a crisis, all hands are on deck and we are fiercely protective and involved.  While we didn’t all live in the same place, because we had love for each other, our children grew up to love as well.  Is there such a thing as a perfect family?  I certainly don’t know of one.  Our family, like yours, has its own issues and plenty of baggage.  I have endured difficult family struggles and attitudes by some.  It can complicate matters, or cause revisionist histories, when there are misunderstandings in action or communication.

My family is divided as my children live in four different locations in North America and have very widely different philosophies.  (Yes, you guys really are all related!) But, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of each, and try to figure out how to be the best mother to each vastly individual and unique adult child.  We don’t stop being mothers, or worrying, when they leave home.

As a parent, I may not be part of their daily lives, but I carry them with me in all that I do and think about.  There are bonds of blood and bone that connect us.  I am grateful when I observe them extending kindness and compassion to others.  It thrills me and fills my heart to see them show respect to their grandparents and friendship to their cousins.  Having respect for my siblings, and all of their children and grandchildren, my children have witnessed long-term loyalty, and empathy, and that we choose to live it.

Good, bad, or indifferent – we are a family.  There is no such thing as “unconditional love.”  Everyone has a judgment, or strongly held belief or opinion, and absolutely NO fear of expressing it.  But, it is my great hope, in my legacy as a parent, that my children continue to be part of each other’s lives.

When you speak of a family, and each member’s contribution to it, you do not leave out one because they are geographically distant.  If there is truly love and respect, it is understood that we stand united whether emotionally or physically.  The lessons that we learn in our families affect the balance in our future relationships.

We come together when there are milestones and life events, both happy and sad.  We are a family and we don’t pick and choose who has value, or who matters more, as if it were a competition.

Each member has a hand in caring for another and all are important parts of the whole. We are a family and all are welcome and special at our table.

family means no one get forgotten_david ogden stiers

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What does family loyalty look or feel like to you?

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

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busy mom.jpg

 

Some believe that the wars are between the mommies that work outside of the house and the mommies who don’t (not to mention how many of those have a side hustle).  There is a lot of guilt and each side feels the need to overcompensate in some way to prove their mettle.

I remember feeling I had to prove myself with home-baked bread and other culinary delights to prove that I was just as good a Mom.  Getting up at 5 a.m. to make the meatballs for supper, before we had to leave the house in the morning, had to be slotted into my day’s duties.

But in the scheme of things, some attitudes never even get that far in realizing what a challenge it is to be the primary caretaker and answer to many bosses both young and old.

Statistics about women who are the primary caregivers to children, grandchildren, parents, and spouses are plentifully available.

From https://www.caregiver.org/women-and-caregiving-facts-and-figures

  • An estimated 66% of caregivers are female. [Updated February 2015]
  • The average caregiver is a 49 year old woman who works outside the home and provides 20 hours per week of unpaid care to her parent. [Updated 2015]
  • Although men also provide assistance, female caregivers may spend as much as 50% more time providing care than male caregivers.

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