Stop Being A Mother?

I am a mother.

Mercifully, I still have my own mother in a time when the majority of my friends have lost theirs. My mom and I have most certainly had our differences over the years. Big emphasis on differences. But she’s still my mom, and I know that she has always done the best she could to be a good mother. And no matter what my age, I will always be her child.

Many times, I’ve wanted to yell and scream at her, especially when she tells me what I should and shouldn’t do. But I’ve lived long enough to know that she just wants to help, and what sounds hurtful and critical is not meant that way at all. She wants to be relevant in my life, she wants me to be the best person I can be. So, I must let my interpretations of what I think she is saying fall through my mental sieve, and love her. It’s just the way it works for me. Time and experience, wasted anger and rage, have taught me to be the daughter of the woman who would give her life for me. At the end of the day, it’s all about respect. And the fact that my dad would probably whoop the living hell out of me, even at this late stage of the game, if I treated her with any disrespect.

My two daughters are the two best people I know. We get sideways sometimes. I’ll have an issue with one, and after exhausting the topic and getting nowhere, I’ll talk to the other about what I can do – or not do. Mothers are like that; we want our chicks to thrive in the best possible circumstances. And I’ve made more than my share of mistakes, unwarranted comments and offered advice has been misunderstood as hurtful criticism. This part of the mother job is the hardest. And that is an understatement.

Both of my daughters are adults. They are living adult lives. Yesterday, my youngest daughter and I got into it via text; she lives in another city and is making big decisions about the next few years of her life. I wanted to find out where she was in the decision process. Long story short – it ended badly. My opinions weren’t wanted, and I made it worse by pushing and pushing and pushing. Driving home from work, I felt like my skin was going to fall off, I was boiling inside. She was the one who, as a toddler, would press her face against the window and cry hysterically when I had to leave for work. She was the one who would throw up whenever I left town. But she’s an adult now. I forgot.

I’d invited my eldest daughter over for dinner last night. I was still in a swivet when I got home and the story of the day spilled out. She said, “Mom, you’ve got to let her go.” I’d never thought about it that way, but she’s right. The lessons always come from the most surprising places … and circumstances.

So, no matter what, I will always be here for both of them. For the tearful phone calls, for the requests for advice, to feed them when they are hungry, hug them when they are sad, laugh with them when we are amused, help them whenever necessary. Yes, I have to let them go. Hard but doable. This “freeing” process is going to take much discipline on my part. But I’m going to give it my best. I’m quite clear what letting them go doesn’t mean.

I will never stop being their mother. No matter what. Ever.

Be happy. Your choice.

Later.

Advertisements

Home

 

OMG. Have been a shut-in for too long. Having the flu is a good reason to stay inside but it’s gone to my brain. I just cried my eyeballs out WATCHING AMERICAN IDOL. Before you delete me permanently, let me explain.

This contestant, a brilliant young man with a big old voice, came on stage. I barely glanced up from my computer. And then he sang … and the tears started. He sang, “A House Is Not A Home“, and he sounded just like Luther Vandross. I love this song and I realized, while he was singing, it explains what I cannot. Tried in the past, but just keep it to myself now.

“A chair is still a chair

Even when there’s no one sitting there

 But a chair is not a house

And a house is not a home

When there’s no one there to hold you tight

And no one there to kiss goodnight.

Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote this; enlightened men, indeed. But that’s not my point.

I have a house.

I want a home.

A Crock of …

 

I wish I had his shirt. Not his shit, just the shirt.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, so I’ll write. If you are coming late to the party, I absolutely DO NOT  nor have I ever had any interest in online dating. Soooo happy for all the happy couples who met that way. So glad it works for so many. So glad if you like lima beans. I don’t. And that is my prerogative. Online dating + me = NO FRIGGING WAY. Which makes the next part of this story ironic.

Stuck in the house like the rest of the country, I’m on the computer … a lot. Oh boy, here’s a free personality test. I love those, I mean, there is always room for improvement, right? It started out simply … no real names, interests, yada yada … and before I knew it, I was in a bait-and-switch operation, on an online dating site. Ok, screw you, scammers. So I filled in their questions with some real and many false answers.

  • Do you smoke? Constantly!
  • How many drinks do you have per week? Can’t count that high.
  • Education level? Forth fOrt fourth grade
  • Income? ( -$150,000.79) that would be negative
  • Favorite music? Appalachian garage bands
  • Your idea of a great date? Get stinking drunk, throw up on the beach, start drinking again, get arrested.

Then there was a spot where you had to write 200 words about yourself. I typed “Blah” until it reached the stopping point. No photo, nothing. Next thing I know, an email address I have reserved for “trash” is full of creepy “matches”. DELETE. And they just kept coming. DELETE x 30. Really. I assure you, with the information I provided, a man would have to be a psychopath to want to “chat”. Psychopath is so last year. Really.

Had to make all sorts of threats to the administrators of the site to remove myself. I never “joined” or paid a dime. So, my inadvertent and very brief experience with online dating was over before it ever got started. Thank God.

Today, Lady Di sent me an email. She has a precious friend in Arizona who does use one of those sites. The email included her friends’ new “matches”. I almost started crying for her and I don’t even know her. Never have I seen a more motley crew of Eeyores. I know it is shallow to judge anyone, especially by photo. But if these poor souls were putting their best face forward, well, it can best be described as desperate Photoshop situation.

If it’s not organic, I don’t want to play. Which brings many “tsk tsks” from well-meaning friends; the few who haven’t given up on me as a “hopeless case”. After my divorce, I was with a group of women and we were talking about dating. Out of eight, two of us were single. When I said  it was rather difficult to meet nice people, one of the women turned to me and said, “You had your chance and you blew it. That part of your life is over”. Meaning, because my marriage didn’t last, there was absolutely no reason to consider another relationship. Ever.

Hmmm. That comment knocked the wind out of me. I’ve made peace with her and her comment; I make daily peace with the fact that all circumstances indicate she’s right. At least she didn’t say, “Good things come to those who wait” or any of the other platitudes that do more harm than good. And this is the part where I say …. WHATEVER. Enough.

In the WTF department: just stepped outside to turn on a light and A BIRD SHAT ON MY HEAD. This is getting ridiculous. First my wrist, then my chesticle, now my head. Surely someone can find some meaning in this other than I am a bird shit magnet. Aggghhhhhhhhh!

Stay warm. It is colder here in Texas than it is in Alaska right now.

Later. Maybe.

 

 

House of Horrors: Home Improvement Hell

There are two words – just two – that can put fear in the heart of men and women:  home improvement. The worst situations we bring upon ourselves always sound so innocent. You have been warned.

 Today, home improvement means cleaning up the house. But it was not always so. About 10-12 moons ago,  a fragrant combo of potato peelings, coffee grounds, chopped onion and a massive amount of water erupted from my washing machine, via the garbage disposal. Don’t ask. The “flood” did a bit of damage. After a flurry of Rhodes Scholars, insurance adjusters, brain surgeons,  leak detectives, structural engineers, and plumbers tramped through our territory, it was determined that a broken pipe under the kitchen would require some repair and redo. Duh.

Thus began the hostage situation starring my family. At the time, I had a husband and two young children – but they went to work and school – leaving me to deal with the service gods. There are two words to keep in mind when waiting on the fixers: chain reaction.

A couldn’t do his job until B arrived, but he was having lunch with C, who was real mad at D. Now D was the plumber appointed by the insurance company to start this hair ball rolling. He had a little home-based business (out of a city two hours away) and his Mama did all his phone answerin’ and fetchin’. please turn up Deliverance banjo tune as loud as possible>.

D wreaked havoc all over our property, digging sink holes, disappearing into them, and fist-fighting with his team of stooges plumberettes over missing tools. But he did accidentally fix the leak. Leaving the house torn to shreds with debris everywhere.

The parade of magicians thus began their march. The “professionals”, the fixer-uppers who swore they’d make the house “real purty”. I looked into the dazed and confused eyes of every repairman who entered my house and asked the question, “How long will this project take?”. The answer was always the same, “A year or so”. Kill me first.

Our house had always had a mind of its own, deciding when and how hard to hit our bank account. In order to collect the insurance money to fix the house, we had to lower the backyard four inches. Grass begone. Giant mud pie. Don’t ask. There was a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow so we did it. I said, “Don’t ask”. Emergency phone call for unlimited amounts of anti-anxiety meds.

When remodeling, the journeyman working on the house know more about you than your gynecologist, parents, and the government combined. Because they live with you. The husband, kids, and I were relegated to one king sized bed(temporary living room) and one bathroom (the pee-and-tea which doubled as kitchen). Call me a curmudgeon, but the warm, fuzzy experience of enjoying that first cup of coffee in the morning is considerably diminished when surrounded by cold tile and a toilet. Am obviously not cut out for a real prison stint.

When the kids would ask if friends could come over, I had a cheery reply. “Sure, if you all want to sit in the middle of my bed and stare at each other.” Nipped in bud.

When you redo the homestead – paint, floors, lighting – your old furniture no longer works with the new and improved interior. My then-husband only uttered one phrase during the entire debacle … “How much is all this going to cost?”. He lost all battles and the war, leaving him a shell of a man. Made of sterner stuff, I pressed on.

I did try to cut a few corners. Wrong move. I hired my own upholsterer to recover the sofa. When it was returned three months later, I sat on it and closed my eyes. It felt like I was sitting in an airport lobby. The cushions were as soft as a basket of stale sandwiches. <very sad face>

After a year of this nonsense, “the perfect thing” kept cropping up, extending our deadline. I’d thrown in the towel by this time, directing all questions to A, B, C, D, or his Momma. Would have lived under a bridge during this nightmare, but all bridge property was already occupied by home improvement hostages.

Believe it or not, I’ve made this long story short. If you want a divorce, no privacy whatsoever for eternity, and like to be heavily medicated, then by all means, consider home improvement. For the rest of you considering a “redo”, DON’T GO THERE. Really. You’re welcome.

 

Later.

Skippin’

I Love that song, “Skippin‘” by Mario. Always provokes a happy dance. As does the weather here. It’s in the 50’s in the morning! That would be like the first snow for most people, but remember, I live on the outskirts of the Gates of Hell (temp wise). Am uncharacteristically bright and shiny. Have been for a while. Maybe I have to be in a misery to write. Nah.

Stupid Morning: This one. I woke up at 8:10. By 9 am, I’d had blood drawn at one doctor’s office AND had a temporary crown put on at the dentist’s office. No food, NO CAFFEINE. Attire: trench coat over pajamas. Attitude: it’s all a blur – I am a caffeind. Am now drinking magnum of espresso.

 The Crown Thing: The stupid crown on tooth in very back of mouth is seriously out of control. As stated before, my dentist wanted to replace the  $5K/3 surgeries crown. Had temporary put in. The stupid temporary fell out as I was dashing off to a black-tie event Saturday night. Woo Hoo – here comes Clem Cadiddlehopper in a black cocktail dress. Had the stupid temporary put back in on Monday. It fell out last night before Glee. (Did not impair dancing capabilities). Temp put back on this morning, but now dentist thinks more surgery because of aggressive gums. Oh please. By the time – if it ever comes – that I do get my real crown, the cost will be more than a gold crown I could wear on my head. Perky, nice dental assistant suggested I NOT drink hot coffee  or perhaps I’d enjoy an iced coffee. I DO NOT ENJOY ICED COFFEE, SCREWED UP DENTAL ISSUES, OR DRINKING COFFEE THROUGH A STRAW. Shoo, woman!

On the Job Front: Have really gotten quite cozy with this unemployment situation. Very Cozy. In the past 2-1/2 months, I’ve applied for approximately one job. It would require a move as well as making an appearance on tv every day. Couldn’t be a longer shot. Am estimating there are at least a million applicants. But my mantra is, “Oh well, what the hell”. Trust me, I’m not packing my bags. Have found some financial opportunities. Have amassed approximately $20.80 answering surveys online for Opinion Outpost. God knows, I have an opinion on everything. Am figuring that the surveys combined with garage sale and eBay offerings, I should clear a cool $50 this month. Drinks are on me.

Observations from Past Week

  •  Watching middle-aged white men try to keep up with racehorse dates on dance floor is food for America’s Funniest Home Videos. <insert peals of laughter here> Some of you can actually dance; I just haven’t seen it happen. I love to laugh so please keep on dancing.

  • September/October reading list to come … man, I’ve been lazy.
  • Still have sassy attitude in tact (good or bad, depending on person). Saw a friend I hadn’t seen in 15 years; we did the your life/my life deal. I said I’d been divorced five years. He said, “So, you’re single and hot?”. My reply: “No, I’m spoken for and hot!” So there!

Rather than ramble on, am going to take nap or contemplate existence or read a book or dance to Glee rerun ….

Skippin’…

Later.

A Backward Glance While Moving Forward

Reading a number of blogs this morning, I was struck by one headline. “Sometimes your decisions are not yours to make…” by The Reluctant Mom’s Blog. While I love reading all the funny pieces, I also appreciate those that provoke thought.

You decide to have children. Maybe you will, maybe you won’t, maybe you can, maybe you can’t. This decision absolutely changes the course of your life.

You decide to marry, divorce, be a star, buy a house, go to church, take a huge risk, never make any decisions. And, although you believe you know what you are getting into, you don’t. So I think we make choices, which turn into decisions after the fact. Some good, others great, bad, and middle of the road.  Going a bit further, perhaps decisions are the consequences of our choices.  And, regardless of the outcome, those of us who have the freedom to make choices are the lucky ones.

It would not seem so, if we only focus on the mayhem induced by a bad choice or three. But I believe in scale, yin and yang, reasoning. So I have to say that although the end product of our choices can be our worst nightmares, we still had a part in it.

When I made the choice to divorce some years ago, I had no clue what I was getting myself into. I was acutely aware of what I was getting myself out of. And no matter what anyone else thinks, divorce is, to quote a friend, “like being in a bad car wreck every single day”.  Those days, whether they span a week, a year, a lifetime, are indescribably atrocious. Individually and collectively.  I would not wish divorce on any couple I know. But sometimes it is necessary.

My ex is a good person. We have two daughters, two very bright stars, to mark the absolute best that came from our union. And I will never, ever be sorry for getting married because these two girls make the world a better place to live in. 

It has been my experience, personally and from observation, that when the woman initiates a divorce, she is the bad cop. Of course there are many exceptions, but I’ve not witnessed more than a few. As the saying goes, “it takes two”, but, in an effort to make sense of it, most friends and frenemies feel they must choose sides, fuel the rumor mill, and unintentionally make the aftershock of divorce so much worse than it needs to be. Choices, all. My exposure.

To make a long story short, the personal gains have far outweighed the losses. And I am not the same person I was. During, after, and since my divorce, I chose to be misunderstood. I am a private person and the inability to remain married was strictly between me and my ex. The toll was heavy in every way. But everything comes with a price to pay. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

Divorce scares the hell out of couple friends. It forces them to look at their own situation. And they don’t want to catch the disease. After the implosion of family, I think the hardest, most heartbreaking consequence was the loss of lifelong friends. Individual and couples. While they remained at the top of my grid, they quickly filed me in their “out” boxes. No longer a “couple”, a member of their clubs, a part of their gatherings.  After my family, my friends have always been the most important people in my life.  I was naïve. Loyalty is a given if I’m your friend.  Had no idea they would divorce me.  But good always comes from terrible.

There were the handful of friends who did not waver, who will always have my back. And, I have made so many new and strong alliances with amazing people I might have missed along the way. I now know what it’s like to be truly loved. I am not naïve about people any longer. While I still enjoy the occasional celebration with “the old gang”, I must admit that afterwards I usually wonder why I spent so much time mourning their disappearance. And it always comes back to the same conclusion: I believed them to be people they weren’t. My bad. But my good, because my life now is richer because of the people who are in it.

There will always be those days when my heart sinks, just for a minute. And that is awesome. Hearing about the activities and stirrings of my old life, still raging like a freight train with a full tank of gas, used to send me to bed for … however long. Getting that puppy down to a minute is progress, folks.

Even if it’s made one tiny step at a time. “Sometimes your decisions are not yours to make ….”. But it’s what you do with the consequences. This, in my mind, is what determines the wiggly course of your life. Dealing, learning, overcoming, changing, trying … all survival buzz words.

Later.