Not my mother’s daughter

I am SO not my mother’s daughter.  I tell myself this regularly.  I pray at night that my wish will come true and that I can hold on to the precious few memories of bonding with my mom and let loose of the pain and the wound tight persona she embodies.

And, today I am reminded of just how much I am not my mothers daughter.  Packing one more box for the dual moves we are making over the next month,  I came across two poems written to us by our daughters.  the first, from our oldest, musing about her memories of car rides and long talks, full of joy and melancholy and family.  The second, a sort of apology and gratitude piece from our youngest, who often feels she has to apology for her past.  This is not true, she does not have to apologize.  She is the most caring, involved, loving person I know.  her passion has led her astray a few times when she was young , but she has nothing to apologize for.  her experiences have made her the amazing woman she is today.

But, anyway.  As I picked up these two poems and read them, I remembered the last notes I had found tucked away in drawers and boxes.  The hate filled notes my mother had written for me to find when, she assumed, she was dead and I was organizing her life’s clutter.  I found them early, but their bite was just as strong.

And I am happy that the notes I have chosen to save are filled with hope, and joy and love.  With good memories and praise.  Notes that will make everyone who reads them, now or in years to come, know that this family faced things together, and loved each other through every heartache.  I am SO not my mother’s daughter….

self-care

The term “self-care” has been a buzzword in my life lately.  The doctor, my trainer, friends…everyone seems to be on this kick and determined to pull me in ….

So yesterday morning, after I self-cared my achy old body to the gym and completed a nice self-care filled workout, complete with squats, viper work and rope play….

I put up a Christmas tree.  First of the season — okay, I know its not OFFICIALLY the season, but it’s two months from Christmas Day, so I figured, what the heck.  And, Christmas Decorations are my favorite things in the world, so I feel like yesterday was a win.

stumbling back in time…

I stumbled upon the pictures ) good ole Facebook) from my oldest grandchildren’s baptism today.  5 years ago we baptised the oldest two,in Silver Spring Maryland, where my oldest daughter was living.  There are hundreds of memories in those pictures, glimpses of dad in the fog that possessed him that day, George holding tightly to his children, and grandchildren, Ryan being hoisted into the air by the best pastor ever….

But what hit me, what smacked me and stroked me at the same time, was the bond between our children.  Solid, physical and spiritual, evident.  They have had their moments.  They have yelled at, avoided, ignored, used and hurt each other over the years, but in the end, in the clinch, in the moment when push comes to shove, they come through. They defend. They support and love each other, no matter what. They show up, kicking and screaming, but they show up.  We have heard, years later, of late night runs to shady stores to wire money to Joe, long conversations into the night about boyfriends or girlfriends or roommates, of phone calls to ex’s — warning them off, of “loans” and “gifts” and “borrowed uggs”.  We have seen them sit for hours, supporting each other after life events that rocked us all off our center and heard them scream until their throats are hoarse.  They have suffered through therapy sessions. visits to people they don’t want to see, college tours and they have, for the last 19 years, kept the pact they made to never tell me who broke the Nativity Set….

I love them more than life.  I respect them and I envy their closeness.  Most of all, I am somewhat calmed and reassured by the fact that they will have each other long after I am gone.  that they will support each other through anything, celebrate success and fight through the crap.

My babies.

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wheres this little gem been?

So, this morning, skimming through my “on this day” page on Facebook, (Good Lord  what did we do without Facebook…) I stumble upon this little blog that I started years ago….( and then obviously became distracted and forgot ) .  Dont have time right now to review it but quite impressed with the little balloons I have climbing up the page….. Be back later…unless some shiny object distracts me…

This girl right here

is humbled with gratitude.  I look around, and though I complain sometimes , I know I am blessed beyond measure, lucky beyond my dreams and protected beyond understanding. .

My kids are healthy.  Physically and emotionally.  Bumps in the road, yes.  But solid, healthy and building strong futures.

My grandchildren are healthy.  Physically, developmentally and emotionally.  they laugh, cry, explore.  they smack each other and hug each other.  they take each other’s toys and bring each other gifts.  They call me grammy and melt my heart.

My husband is healthy. Present and involved.  Tonight he cooked dinner as I lay on the couch nursing a hurt back.  I complained — didnt like the pork chop or the rice.  When he went to pick up my medicine he brought home a nice fresh fruit salad — ,my number one favorite treat.

Blessed, this girl right here is.DSCN8745

Mother’s Day 101: Advice and musings from a “seasoned” mom

When you’re 5 Mother’s Day is a pretty big deal.  You spread toast with jelly, add the card you made in Kindergarten and carry the tray to mom who is “sleeping”  past her normal 5:00 am wake up call and serve her breakfast in bed.  By the time you are 12, you go all commercial and depend on dad or another willing driver to take you to the mall where you expand Hallmark’s coffer and choose a card — which can range from sentimental ” best mom ever” to a farting “how do you put up with me” piece of poetry.  And, if you’re lucky, dad throws in $10. so you can get her some flowers, or a piece of jewelry…In that strange period of time which marks the transition from high school senior to college freshman you see mom as a bit ( ok,a lot ) of embarrassment a good deal of the time.  So Mother’s Day gets the traditional treatment, maybe you and your siblings take her to brunch ( which consists of 45 minutes in line, past the time of your reservation and room temperature bacon served alongside something they call scrambled eggs and a massive hunk of prime rib, or ham….) .  During college Mother’s Day is, well its another Sunday after another “oh my God, the semester is almost over” Saturday night.  You call, and if you can you visit, hoping someone is making bloody Mary’s or mimosas, you know, “hair of the dog…”

Then, you graduate.  You get all melancholy that first year you have your own place, your own bills, your own, well, life.  And Mother’s day rolls around and you make plans to spend the day with mom, and when you get there she comments on your hair, and those jeans and asks if you’ve brushed your teeth or paid your college loan…and you wonder, “What the heck is this lady doing?  Trying to tell me what to do?”  And  you realize there are now two WOMEN in the conversation.  You realize, she doesnt…so you suck it up.

And then, its YOUR first Mother’s Day.  Glory of Glories you have birthed a child!  Trumpets announce the arrival and you sit royally in your throne awaiting the massive parade of guests and gifts.  NOT.  Your husband gets you one of those ” 3 for $10.” bouquets at Acme, the baby pukes all over the one clean blouse that fits those massive breastfeeding boobs and you are exhausted after 3 hours sleep.  Mom calls to ask when you are coming over and you secretly wish you were in Austrailia, with Alexander….

Years come and go and your children repeat the cycle.  You are amazed at how wonderful that jelly toast tastes, how your children chose the most perfect card — Hallmark must have studied my life to write this one —  You treasure the bacon and sing songs while you wait in line.

If you are lucky, and blessed, you will experience Mother’s day as a grandmother.  Yesterday as my husband and I sat on the beach, breathing in the salt and the calm, I pondered this day, my 7th. as a grammy.  I marvel at my daughters and their amazing babies — at their patience and work ethic and the different, yet equally effective lifestyle that they are living and raising their children in.  I treasure the way my son stepped in and raised his Ava, on his own, after her mom walked out on him, and her, at 5 months.   I laugh when I realize that I have had 6 grandchildren in 6 years, and now number 7 is on the way…

My husband sat a triad of gift bags on the counter on Friday.  He and two of the grandsons had gone shopping for my Mother’s Day gift.  Funny man — doesn’t he realize?  My Mother’s Day gifts surround me every day.

Happy Mother’s Day.  Enjoy the ride.

This night

This night, exactly 8 years ago, was probably the worst night of my life.  worst.  my baby, deeply entrenched in illness, came as close as anyone could ever come, to losing her fight for life.  And she was fighting.  Fighting me, fighting her dad, fighting herself.  But this night, tonight, i feel none of that fear, that all encompassing terror that comes from the inability to make a difference — I feel peace.  Triumphant peace, as for the first time in 8 years I didnt need to see her, to touch her, to hold her, to know that she is all right.  It seems, finally, that we are both healed.

I wonder if they know

I wonder if my kids know how much joy it gives me when they laugh with me.  When we connect on that level and find something unbelievably funny at exactly the same time.  My kids, you know, are all grown, with families and stressors and ideas and activities…and adult friends that they laugh with.

We went through that wonderful family time when they were all early twenties — flip cup on the back porch, beer pong, fishing trips…lots of fun and laughter.  Then one got married, one got sick and one got stupid with alcohol so those kind of parties with bonfires and late night bottles of wine, subsided.

We became subdued….

But now, all are healthy, all are married, and they, for the most part, handle their alcohol like adults.  And so, again we laugh.  Sometimes.  Not over beerpong and bonfires, but over things their kids do, or say.  Or the way their father shops. Or something I have told them to do, like place a blanket over their child’s head when they take him outside to protect him from the cold.

And I will look at my child and see that smile in their eye.  and we will laugh. Belly laugh.  And it feels so familiar and so good.  I am so glad they are here.

good riddance

the clock says 6 minutes til midnight, 6 minutes to 2015.  And I say it cant get here quickly enough.  2014 was a mess — I am glad to see it scamper, or should I say slither out the door.  Come on 2015.  Lets do this!