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.


Splitting Out Bons: My Kids Said the Damnedest Things

The little angels …. College Girl and Miss Peach

Yes, “damnedest” is a word; I looked it up.

 Making my way through one of my piles o’ stuff that threaten to put me in the lead as the next “Hoarder“, I came upon a box.  It was filled with stories and artwork produced by College Girl and Miss Peach when they were young.  Specifically preschool through second grade. “Oh, how sweet”, I said to myself as I opened the box of memories.  Then I remembered. 

This box contained all the evidence of a group gene fail. Yeah, yeah, every family has the funny relatives and ours isn’t short on them.  Some of my California cousins have amazing tattoos, they live in California, duh!  And my hilarious cousin, MSuey, worked at a bingo parlour on an Indian reservation one summer.  And I did have an uncle who thought Beach Blanket Bingo was a porno movie.  But never in my wildest dreams did I consider that my darlings would publicly expose us as lunatics so early in the game.  Guess it was that family mantra, “Oh well, what the hell!”, combined with a strange sense of humor, a cup of spill-your-guts any and everywhere, gallons of high drama, and an upside down take on most everything.

 Preschools LOVE to hang kids’ art all over the walls. At one parent function, we all admired the childish masterpieces created around the theme, “What are you thankful for?”.  Amidst all the adorable, loving tributes to mommies, daddies, flowers, babies, puppies, and kittens – both daughters – independent of each other and over two separate years – answered this sweet question with the exact same words:  “I am thankful for fried chicken.” Granted, there were a few other strannge tributes such as, “I love $$$”, “I hope my dog never dies”, and “I saw a rock sink”, but really, FRIED CHICKEN?  The darlings had a definite food vibe going; each had recipes published in a local magazine.  Peach’s concoction, Fried Shrimp Soup, consisted of some shrimp, vegetables and hot water, cooked for 10 minutes and then “stored for a day you need it.”  CG and her friend came up with a recipe for French Toast; the ingredients were “stuff you sprinkle, lots of bread, and 4 oil pours. Say the blessing.  Cook the bread for 8 minutes at 12-degrees.  Sprinkle stuff on it.  Put in 2 oil pours.  Even if it doesn’t taste good, the dog will eat it.” YUMMY!

When Peach was in first grade, her story was posted  – again on the wall – for Parent’s Night.  She wrote an essay about her senses which began and ended with, “In my home, I can smell bread and perfume and dirty socks.” A proud moment. 

Her Mother’s Day composition was published in the school newsletter. She said, “I think my mom is the greatest because she has two jobs and two little girls.  She wears funky fashions from all over the world.  She has a very messy closet but that doesn’t matter because I love her.”  This one also liked to answer the phone.  If the call was for me, she would say, “My mom is having a nervous break” and hang up.  She was absolutely correct.  But if Miss Peach was opening up our can of worms for the world to view, College Girl slashed the tin in half and threw the contents as far as the eye could see.

 Her preschool story of life with Mom was succinct:  “My mom lies in bed and watches TV all day.” (This was NOT true, I was working my ass off; I don’t think I even saw a TV that year).  Her recipe for – uh, fried chicken – was printed:  “Get a chicken from the store, heat it in the microwave and eat it.”  Obviously, not homemade as mom lies in bed all day. 
 Just yesterday, College Girl had her first article published in the same newspaper where my first piece was printed.  She was paid, I wasn’t. Nevertheless, I’m proud of her.  She’s come so far since she authored an essay on Thanksgiving:  “It was the feirst thacksgiving and the tercee was so bony that you cood not tack a bit to it witout splitting out bons.”
 Oh well, what the hell.  So what if we are genetic malcontents, branded for eternity as a pack of fried chicken-eating, TV-watching, bedridden maniacs.  We will be remembered as the colorful relatives, just sittin’ around splitting out bons.
 Could be worse.  Right?