It’s another “what a difference a year makes” day. Last Mother’s Day is gone (thank God). Last year we went out to a nice Mother’s Day brunch; this year, we are low-keying it at Mom’s house later in the day after my oldest gets out of work. This year’s is already better, and it hasn’t happened yet.
I’m very lucky (I realize I say that a lot, but it’s true). My mother is still here. And she does so much for me. (Hey, Mom! If I talk about you, will you read to the end? I promise I won’t use the F word this time!)
I found out yesterday that my Mom reads my blog—well, some of them. “Some of them are just too…long and wordy!” S’ok, Mom. People tune out when I’m talking, too! JDoesn’t faze me, I just keep on going!
Like every good child, I was so unappreciative of my parents and what they did for me. I did start to notice one or two things when I got older, and then so much more when I became a parent myself. To this day, when something they did for me or told me finally sinks in, I still tell them (usually somewhat sheepishly). It’s only fair; I alwayslet them know when I didn’t like something. Being a parent is not easy; a fact I didn’t realize fully until I became one.
–You’d better still be reading this, Mom. I’ve already censored myself a number of times and it’s killing me. From here on, I will put this (*) in every place I’ve held back the F word (any variation thereof) so you can see how much I didn’t use it—for you (Happy Mother’s Day!).
My mother is well aware of all of the complaints I’ve had about her over the years. I was always nice like that. I try to do the same when I see something I finally notice that I appreciate. I’m not as good with that, but I am trying, and at least here she’ll have it in writing.
I used to think my mother was weak and dependent. It took me a while to notice that she was young when she had me; she had just turned 22 a week before I was born. I was 26 when I had my first kid, and I still remember how young and stupid I felt the day I brought her home from the hospital (and Mom was there at my house to help me—of course). I think back to when I was 21… nope…so glad I didn’t have kids then. I would’ve really, REALLY messed (*) them up, instead of just really messing them up. She had me in October; by my second birthday—just two Octobers later—she had two more kids. (I’ve done the math on that. Every time I think about it…Eeeee! (*)…there’s just no way I could have even thought about…—anyone who’s given birth will know what I’m talking about!). That could not have been easy; any of it. Three kids in two years. That would have driven me crazy. Thanks for sticking around, Mom. I know what we were like.
A number of years ago she had breast cancer. When she knew she would have to get chemo, she made the decision to have a head-shaving party, saying that if she was going to lose her hair it would be her choice. My sisters and I spent the day with her and shaved her head. It was emotional and awesome, and I was so proud of her. She handled all of it—all of it—with grace (an odd word for this, but it fits) and…strength. I like to think that I would’ve handled the situation the same way, but I can’t guarantee that. And she did most of it alone, I’m ashamed to say. Mom, I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you more then. Weak and dependent? Up your ass, Susie. (Don’t get offended, Mom; I didn’t say (*)!)
My mother babysits for me all the time. All. The. Time. From day one, twenty years ago. She drove from Taunton to Boston (40 miles) every single weekend to help me out the first four years of Deren’s life, so that I could work. She was there when I would get the surprise call from school if Deren was sick and couldn’t leave work, or on the snow days that send working parents into a tizzy. Any of those last minute moments you needed help, she was there. And just when Deren was turning 11, and those times were finally beginning to slow down, I went and had another daughter—(*)!. And Mom’s been there all over again, for the past nine years with Brynn. I have so many friends whose parents aren’t around or who cannot or don’t do that (no judgment), and I’m reminded again and again how lucky I am to have her. She’s even around to babysit when I’ve just needed a break…those days when you get overwhelmed, or when the shit really hits the fan… How (*) lucky am I? That is HUGE. And I know that she never got those kind of breaks, and she had more kids than I do. Just thinking about that…(*)…THANK YOU, Mom. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I think back on my own Mother’s Days. My first was… not good (I am the queen of the understatement). But I shouldn’t put stock in that one day; every day is Mother’s day. I don’t need one day a year to celebrate it (my birthday, however, is quite a different story!). It’s funny, Mother’s Day is only any kind of a big deal because I think about my mother, but not for me. I’m beginning to understand. (Ovid said, “Dripping hollows out rock.” I am the rock. Eventually I will ‘get it’.) Every day is mother’s day.
I still find it hilarious that I am someone’s mother. I go to my kids’ parent-teacher meetings not because there have been issues, but because it’s funny to me that I’m in the position to.
–Brynn just came over to me and when I stood up she put her arms around me and asked me to pick her up. Perfect timing. She’s 9, and just beginning to get to the ‘heavy’ child stage. I picked her up and we just hugged for a long moment. She’s also still at that age where she hasn’t turned on me yet. I will enjoy this while it lasts. J
Sometimes I feel bad for my girls, that they don’t have a ‘better’ mother. Sometimes I do wish I could be June Cleaver…but then the thought of having to shave every (*) day to wear a (*) skirt makes me change my mind fast. I’m doing the best I can, in my own (*ed up) way. And when I step back and take a look at both of them, I see so many wonderful things about them that I know I had a small part in (not just their good looks!). I can’t wait to see where they take it.
Mom (if you’ve read this far, and I really (*) hope you have!), thank you. You did, and are still doing, the best you can. And it’s perfect. I see things in myself (that I like, even!), that you played a part in. Thank you.
To my daughters: Good (*) luck!
To my daughters: Good (*) luck!
(And I love you both with everything in me)
To my mother friends: You all set wonderful examples. You are awesome!
I will end this with my usually-reserved-for-FaceBook Mother’s Day Status (edited, of course, for Mom):
Happy Mother’s Day to all of us: Birth mothers, adoptive mothers, surrogate mothers, single dads, custodial relatives, foster mothers, grandmothers, Godmothers, “Like a Mothers”, Dads who are like Moms, step-mothers, caregivers, pet owners, Fairy Godmothers, Mofos (*)—and MILFs (Marian? J )
(Gotta love my brother in this picture! He sure knows how to make them memorable!)