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.

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Event? I don’t think so.

Today my oldest grandson and I, Ryan ( who is all of 4 years old) went on a little date.  We got all gussied up and went to Toys R Us for the “Star Wars Lego Event”.  This event, which I received an email invitation to….turned out to be nothing more then standing in a line ( we were maybe 12th.) and receiving, unceremoniously, a free lego building toy ( Star Wars tiny little ship) a poster advertising the new 2015 sets in the Star Wars Series and…and nothing.  That was it.  Two women, sitting at a table draped with a Toys R Us cloth, handing out legos in baggies.  Now, Ryan, the ultimate Star Wars fan and super shopper, was unfazed.  We sat down on the floor, dumped the pieces and attempted to build the ship.  Now, Im a quilter, I should be able to think in little pieces that make big shapes, but, no, I can’t. We made our own little event, fiddled with it for about 15 minutes and declared it a “mommy” job, put the pieces back in the baggie and moved on the the poster.  AH! The poster, advertisement extraordinaire !  All the little star wars figures posed on one side, the new series sets on the other.  lots of oohhhing and aaahhing….then we made our way to the legos aisle where this precious child, who I’m pretty sure had been prepped by his parents to not ask for a toy, spent almost an hour examining every set of Legos….when I finally said, “so, which is it gonna be?”  his little eyes lit up and he said, “what?  Can I get a set?”  which resulted in another fifteen minutes or so of deciding — (the Cantina set won) and the triumphant walk to the cashier, armed with the Cantina, a pumpkin bucket, a witches cauldron, 3 spinning m&m toys and a small set of strange little monsters that pull apart and are stored in a pretend soda can.  Ryan declared it a “great day” me the “best grammy in the world” and we traveled to McDonalds (Grammy, I havent been to McDonalds in like 10 days!) for lunch. All in all a wonderful afternoon for sure.  Full of those unpracticed full face smiles that make this boy so real.

But, I have to say the marketers at Toys R Us deserve a talking to.  This email touted a Star Wars event, a Lego build — where the kids would leave with something they built.  This grammy thought this sounded awesome, got a little sad when the other grandkids couldnt make it….talked it up to Ryan.  Can you say disappointment? There was no one building except my  grandson and me, sprawled out on the floor oblivious to the crowd around us. I found myself having to maneuver Ryan away from at least three families that  obviously had no idea what a toy store visit meant to a child.  Cussing and swearing, threatening kids with “going home’ if they moved in the cart,pushing buttons on their phone calculator, yelling about money.  One mom walking up to her husband and 2 kids, complaining, too loudly and with too many inappropriate words that they had wandered away from her.  When Ryan and I approached the table , he smiled, said thank you, took the gift in his own hands and told the lady he loved Star Wars. In comparison, the two kids in front of us, threatened with expulsion if they so much as moved in the cart, just sat with dull looks on their faces as mom stretched out her hand, barely looking at the ladies working the table. No thank you came from her lips, no smile, just ” I need two, I have two kids”.  Ridiculous.  Is a free $5.00 toy so critical that you have to go grab it, even if it gives you or your kids no joy?  Is it so hard to make a trip to a toy store fun? Was there really such a hurry that none of these people except Ryan and I and one other mom and her kids could sit   down and actually built something?  Is it worth pushing and swearing and groaning?  I don’t get it.  None of those kids in that line could read the paper or the email.  None of them would have known of that event if mom or dad hadn’t put them in the car and brought them to the store.  And why?  Why would you even bring your kid if you didn’t have the time or inclination to have some  fun?  I just don’t get it.

So, again tonight, I realize how blessed I am, with a wonderful set of grandchildren who make me smile, with kids who recognize that kids deserve a good time, fun and  laughter, and make it happen — and who have the good sense to skip the event if its drudgery.  May the force forever be with them. WP_20141011_003

Please excuse my self-absorption

I will forget this and I will need to read it, over and over and over.  So, I apologize for my self absorption, but maybe some of you could benefit from this mantra also.

 

I do not have to drop everything on a Sunday morning and go to the mall with my 28 year old daughter and her 3 month old– even if dropping everything only involves turning off the computer and putting on a pair of sweat pants.

I do not have to babysit my grandchildren every day, without notice, so that my children and their spouses can go to dinner, buy a car or “clean their house”

I do not have to drain my bank account, over and over and over, to pay car insurance, pad a bank account, update someones work wardrobe or buy a toy.

I do have the right to have the phone answered when I call, receive visits that don’t cost me anything in the way of time or money, and be appreciated.  Period.

 

Maybe if I read this everyday, I will begin to believe and live it.

the Happy Medium

Yesterday I stopped  at Oldest daughter’s and played with her two wonderful children for an hour, and then headed to youngest daughters and played with her wonderful oldest son while she nursed wonderful youngest son, for an hour.  This morning I snuggled with our son’s  wonderful daughter who got dropped off at 6:15 because son had to go in to work at a ridiculous hour…then I dropped her off at 8:45 at preschool and then oldest daughter dropped her wonderful daughter off at 9:15 so that she could go buy the supplies for her wonderful  sons 4th birthday party .  Youngest daughter called to see if I was “coming over” today, her oldest was asking for me.  I  answered the phone to have youngest daughter’s husband ask if I could watch their wonderful  boys for a few hours tomorrow afternoon so he could take her out to dinner before she returns to work on Monday, when I will begin watching  wonderful 3 month old on Mondays and Fridays ( because I work Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.) And then, oldest daughter called to remind me that I was watching her two tonight at 5 while she and husband go look for a new car and buy their son’s birthday present.for his party Sunday…But hey, shes gonna order pizza so I don’t have to cook.

So, do you get my drift?  They are all wonderful creative, loving children.  All under the age of 5.  But, man, are their parents needy.  I love being with my grandbabies but 96 hours consumed by shifts of babysitting culminating with a ten hour shift with the newborn?  Grammys gonna be beat.  And then I get to go to work Tuesday….

We’re gonna have to have a family meeting, and soon!

Ah. The family vacation.

Back from the annual ( well almost annual, we missed last year, but that’s another story) family vacation.  A week on Cape Hatteras, sitting in the sand, listening to the grand  babies laugh, and fight. boy can those 4 find stuff to argue about.  You see , they are 1,2,3 and 4 years old.  You get the picture. 

 

But, in the midst of it all I was struck by the lack of urgency.  Often we get to the island and we hurry, gotta do this, see this, spend this much time in the sun…shop, whatever.  None of that this time.  Each day began in the sun and ended on the deck.  Bathing suits and flip flops.  Fried fish and steamed clams.  Blue claw crabs.  MInnows in the bait trap and oysters under our feet.  And no sense of ,” oh heck, its almost over:….just a feeling that we were supposed to be there, and that we would be there again.  Good stuff.  Good stuff.

it sounded like a great idea

Granddaughter Number 1 was spending the night last night.  She had done this countless times since she was a baby.  My son is pretty much raising her himself, her mom having gone in and out of the picture more times than most people paint their nails, but at any rate our girl has her own room at our house, her own potty, massive amounts of toys and books. you get the picture.

so last night she was spending the night.  I thought, hey shes 4 now, lets jazz it up.  Lets have a “camp out” in the family room.  She was all for it.  we changed into jammies, pushed the “princess barbie room” out of the way ( dont ask) , lay blankets and pillows and purple baby and naked barbie and reindeer holding a ice cream cone  on the floor.  The  two ponies rested on barbie;s canopy.  We settled in for a night of “watching  tv all night long.”

“dont touch me, Im making a line”

“grammy I need a drink”

“I spilled on my nighty”

“I DONT WANT TO CHANGE MY NIGHTY”

“lets bounce”

“This blanket has holes” ( crochetted afghan)

“Whats that smell?”

“can I lay my head on your lap?” ( Ahh, grammy moment)

“Im hungry.” ( Cereal at 12:00 am)

“I want to watch Minnies bowtique”

“I dont have to go potty”

“grammy, Im tired, you better put me to bed”

so we stumbled up the stairs way after midnight, me marveling at the fact that she had lasted that long AWAKE.  Placed her in her crib ( I know, way too old for a crib but we havent put a toddler bed up yet and she humors us …), kissed her head, told her I love her and went to my own warm bed.

“Grammy”

“Grammy, you left the door open”

“Grammy, I peed my bed”

whew.  Im exhausted.  next time, into bed at 9.

 

Tango

Today I downloaded Tango.  because my grandson Jax calls my cell phone so much that he knows the words to my ring back tone.  seriously.  so I thought he’d enjoy talking to AND seeing grammy!  Whenever he wants!  Interestingly enough Jax lives about 12 minutes away — i see him almost daily — wrap my arms around that little cuddler — but , hey, if thats not enough, and he wants to speak to grammy, I will learn to tango.

suck it up.

007

Jackson is sick.  Jackson is my grandson, almost two years old.   the most pleasant, adorable little guy you could ever meet.  but right now he is sick.  pneumonia, something viral, croupy and droopy, sick.  Its Christmas break so poppop and I had him here the day after Christmas so his mommy  and daddy could go to work.that lasted about 4 hours, clear up until the doctor told me to take him into the hospital for a chest x-ray” right now”.  i called my daughter and she met us in the parking lot and we took jax to the hospital.  Where he was the best boy ever.  pneumonia does that to you, knocks you on your ass to the  point where, even if youre almost two you lay on the table and let them take pictures of your chest.  poor guy, I almost wanted him to put up a fuss.  then my daughter contacted the pulmnologist the doctor has suggested we visit, and they set us up for an 8:00 am appt. the next day.  Daddy “had to work” so mommy, pop and I left the house at the ungodly hour of 7:30 AM with Jax, to go back to the hospital to see this pulmnologist.  Many head nods, computer inputs and questions later they came up with — well pretty much nothing.  The xrays showed a triangular mess in his lung that they think is viral.  his symptoms indicate reflux or maybe allergies… they are going to test him for cystic fibrosis WHICH HE DOES NOT HAVE and did a lot of blood work.  jax got mcnuggets and a milkshake out of the deal, because he was such a good boy. we came back to our house where he and his mommy hung out for a while.  Daddy was a couple hours away, freaking out about cystic fibrosis, so she stayed with us for support and a little relief.

So that brings us to today.  I had to go into work.  pop had to chop and split wood.  Daddy was on duty because daughter does not want to lose her job…About a half hour into the morning i got a text”  Jax is upset, can you call and make sure they are ok? ”   in the most supportive message I could get my fingers to type i said “yes I will call, but he is his father he needs to suck it up and figure out what to do”  Then I called.  Phone rang 3 or 4 times. then “Hello grammy”. Jax answered the phone, proceeded to tell me many things in the language that only he understands and then put his daddy on the phone.  daddy sounded fine, said they were going to hang out.

Hhmmm.  Sounds like mommy needs to suck it up.  It is hard to believe that someone else can care for your baby  .  Relax mommy, daddy got it.