I know Mother’s Day is all about being pampered and spoiled, but to me this day means being thankful for the two most beautiful boys my husband and I brought in to this world….and reflecting on how I’m doing at Motherhood, and how I can get better.
I’ve been a mother several times over now…I’ve mothered my sisters, both when they were very young and later, when H and I brought them in to our home. I’ve learned that anyone who can raise a girl to be confident in herself and encouraged to follow her dreams is both a hero and a saint. Adolescent girls have to be the most difficult to figure out- they are fragile like fine china, but fiery- and infuriating- in their rebellion.
And while we went through microcosms of hell with both of my sisters, I hope they know how much they are loved, and how much we tried and tripped and tried again, to be the best parents we could be. I tell people that it’s difficult being a sister and a mom- your inner sister wants to pull hair and cat fight, but you inner mother knows that you have to be the adult in the situation and have to react as a parent. This is not always easy to do.
I’m grateful that by the time H and I had Little P- it seemed we had adolescence down pact and were looking forward to the joy of parenting babies!
I wouldn’t trade all the sleepless nights, spit up, blow out diapers, and tantrums for anything in the world. Because all of those moments are greatly outweighed by the delight we share in every first step, first word and new adventure.
There was perhaps no mother in my life more influential than my Grandma.
In all her Irish fieriness, she was everything a Grandma and Mother should be. She was Happyness. She was love and kindness and understanding. She was baking and arts and crafts. She was a neat freak. She loved to fish, and didn’t care about getting her hands dirty or piling on the bug spray to do it. She was the woman who had a homeless family to dinner without warning my grandfather, and who fostered a Korean girl because she needed help (also without warning my grandfather). She was firm, and commanded respect and didn’t take crap from anyone and because of that she was loved by everyone. I wish so desperately that she were here to see her two amazing great grandsons! She was an incredible woman who touched everyone’s lives she encountered.
Those of you who know my past also know that it’s about appreciating all the second moms in my life that have helped me become who I am… my Grandma Betty- who I’ve only become close to in my adulthood. She is a business woman, a hard worker and enjoys life. She has taught me to be true to myself and that it is okay to be selfish and take care of one’s self, because if you don’t take care of yourself you can’t take care of anyone else. She understands life and all the chaos and busy-ness that comes with it. She is kind and helpful – to those who are willing to help themselves. She respects honesty above all. Rhonda– who introduced me to horses- a life long passion I’ll never give up- and helped me see that people are and can be good. Sue– whose open mindedness and kind heart took me in at 15 when I was desperate to get free. Lori- my first trainer and one of my best friends, who is an amazing mom of three energetic boys, who was the example all I wanted to be- a mom that owned a business, loved her kids, and realized that sometimes the kitchen and vacuuming had to wait- even if it was because she had to hose off half-naked boys on her front porch. Susan– whose daughter I nannied while I was in college, and whose family I share a connection with to this day. Susan is the epitome of a mother who is confident and in control, and affectionate beyond words. She also taught me that it’s okay to tell people to go to hell, that my life is my life and not anyone else’s. She has mastered how to prevent her daughter from becoming addicted to the computer or Facebook or television. She has achieved great balance in parenting and life. Dr. Laura– whose kindness and understanding and wisdom helped me feel appreciated and know that I deserved to be appreciated. My mother-in-law, who I am proud to call “mom” and whose family was the first real example of what “normal” looked like during the holidays. I hate using that word- normal- but it’s the best I’ve got. Actually, no…. stable, loving, nurturing, balance and flow would be better I think. She accepted myself and my sisters into her home that first Christmas with the girls, H and I having just moved in together, and having never met his family. I can speak for my sisters and I when I say we never felt more at “home” in our lives.
And last, yes, today is about being thankful for my own mother, who through her mistakes and dysfunctional parenting, taught me a lot about the adult and mother I did not want to be. I don’t doubt that she loves us….but her love is more a selfish love and less a nurturing one. She was always better at being a “good time charlie” than at being a mother. When she wasn’t fun, she was miserable and impossible to please. Nevertheless, time and wisdom have enabled me to forgive and see her for who she is- a woman who has made incredibly bad choices, one after the other, whose shackles of selfishness, addiction and mental illness have never allowed her to do anything else. And yet, although she rewrites our past on a regular basis, as a coping mechanism for all the horrible memories she’s inflicted on herself and others, she picks herself up time and again, and keeps trudging through life. She is, if nothing else, a survivor. I’ve come to feel a certain sympathy for her that my younger self never thought could happen. Mental illness is a disease and I’m in some ways grateful that I am aware and can remain vigilant for myself and my boys. I know what to do if I start to see any signs of depression in them. And I try to focus on what good memories I do have with her- of camping and going to the beach, of my first roller coaster ride at Busch Gardens, of clam and crab bakes.
So, thank you to all the mothers in my life that have taught me how to pursue my Happyness. And I wish you all an amazing day, and hope that your children will see in you the wonderful things that I have.
Love to all!