She Doesn’t Want to be my Friend Anymore

It’s hard as a kid when you go to school one day, and you realize that this girl who has been your friend for a while, suddenly, doesn’t want to be your friend anymore. It might be because she found new friends, you just don’t have the same interests, or you are not cool enough. But you go home to Mom upset because you lost a friend unexpectantly. And she hugs you and says, “It’s OK, you have lots of friends, maybe it just wasn’t meant to be”.

Well, here I am a middle aged woman with kids, and I am upset because I have lost a friend. I miss my mom and her hugs, her reassurance that it wasn’t anything I did. But this is a big deal to me. This friend was the first person I called from the hospital the night my mom died. We were close, with lots of intimate conversations about life, family, marriage that were for our ears only. I confided in her and told her my deepest fears and shared my greatest joys.

I met this woman when our oldest sons were in kindergarten. We bonded right away. Less than a year after my mom died, when I was still in such a fog/shock/grief pit, she just stopped talking and calling. I tried for months to reconnect the way we used to. We saw each other often, at school functions and other things are then 5th graders did together, but something had changed. She had gone back to work, so I told myself it was that she was busy adjusting to the new schedule of balancing work and motherhood. She was very pleasant, even hugged me when we saw each other (which confused me even more!!!). I started to avoid her and put up an emotional wall when we were together.

Then last year right after Christmas, she asked to meet for lunch. I was nervous, like, blind date nervous!! She told me she was sorry and that it was all stuff going on with her and our estrangement had nothing to do with me. She gave little detail and I didn’t ask. But I thanked her anyway.

A part of me hoped that now that we had connected a little bit, she would open back up. But she has remained forever closed. Here we are at the holiday season and I get an invitation to a party she is throwing!! WTF!!

I have learned that I am not really capable of being close, intimate friends with someone and then going backwards to being good acquaintances. I simply can’t do that. I don’t keep many resentments, I know they hurt no one by myself but this one has taken me years to work  through. By the way, I politely declined the party, it was just too uncomfortable, the thought of going.

I am like that little girl again, sad that I lost a good friend. And more importantly, not really understanding what happened to end the relationship. It really makes me grateful for the group of friends that I have that are steadfast and true, that I have known most of my life, that will be there for me as I will be there for them.

I am a Leo, they say we are loyal to a fault. My mom was a Leo too (same birthday). She taught me through her actions what it means to be a good friend. But she also taught me that “It’s OK, maybe it just wasn’t meant to be…”.

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Queen of Hearts

I always knew my mother was special. From the time I was very young, something told me that she was different. My mother was born in 1946 with a hole in her heart, a birth defect. As she grew up, her mother would never let her play rigorously and sports were out. This led to a fondness for fishing. In 1957, at the age of 11, and with the financial help of her community, my mother and grandmother flew to Minnesota to the Children’s Hospital to undergo open heart surgery. She became one of the first 100 people in the US to have the successful surgery.

Her physician was Dr. Lillehei and his story is extraordinary as well. He was the first doctor to operate successfully and his heart lung machine was a miracle. He became known as the “King of Hearts” and there is a book of the same name about his life’s work.

A couple of years before she died, she read the book about Dr. Lillehei (he died in the late 1990’s) and she was amazed at what he had done and how lucky she was. She had the surgery in August of 1957 and they had perfected the procedure in March of that year!! Up to that time, patients who had the surgery did not survive and many of them were children like her.

Even then, they told her that she would be lucky to live past the age of 20 and she would probably never have kids. She had two children and lived to be 62 (which is much too young in my opinion as I miss her every minute of the day). She had a pacemaker implanted at the young age of 30 (her heart only beat at about 40 bpm) and she could never really get winded. In the end, her heart simply gave up one day. It was quick (which is a blessing) but sudden (of which I will never recover).

My grandmother kept up correspondence with Dr. Lillehei up until he passed away. In August of 2007 (one year before she died), Mom travelled up to Minnesota to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her surgery. She met another patient of Lillehei who was still alive and was given the VIP treatment. She interviewed with Minnesota Public Radio and had lunch with Mrs. Lillehei and visited the institute.

Although much had changed, she said the trip brought back many memories (she was hospitalized for 6 weeks), especially of the kind nurses, and racing down one of the inclined halls with the other children in their wheelchairs once all the nurses left for the night.

Because of this experience, knowing her heart was frail, fortunate to be alive, she had a gratitude and love for life that few people have. She saw the world differently than the rest of us, there was more beauty, more miracles, more wonder through her eyes. I strive to live my life like her everyday, although most days I fail miserably. It was a gift, but a gift that came with huge sacrifices and a price. And the price was finally paid for and she is with us no longer.

But I hope that by telling her story, she lives on. I know she does in my kids, I can see it. And memories of her are everywhere. Sometimes I can’t take the pain of those memories, but then I remember how she NEVER took anything, especially her time here with her family, for granted and that soothes the pain alittle.

Even though I told her many times what an inspiration she was and still is to me, I wish I could continue to tell her. But I can’t, so I’ll tell you…

Here is the link to the Minnesota Public Radio Interview: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2007/08/29/patientreturns

Rebel Mom without a Pause

I don’t want to go back to work!! You can’t make me!! I will scream and bite and pitch a terrorizing peri-menopausal fit if you even suggest it!! LA la la, I am closing my ears. I can’t hear you!

Now that my two boys are in their tweens and teens, many of my fellow stay-at-home mothers with kids of these ages are going back to work. I see them dressed now, instead of gym clothes or their cute little tennis skirts, in big girl clothes, nice pants and shirt with heels and makeup!! As opposed to before, when we checked our iphones every once in a while to make sure we didn’t miss a call from our kids, they are checking them every 2.4 seconds to make sure they didn’t miss something from their boss.

They are the true, authentic, multi-taskers. Working moms are the epitome (figurately speaking) of that circus act where you have to keep all the plates balanced and spinning without any of them falling. This act always STRESSED me out!!

Now I know, for many of the women, the decision to go back was not totally voluntary, but a result of these wonderfully stable (i.e. NOT) financial times. I consider myself extremely lucky, at least for today, that I do not have to make that choice. Whether my kids have enough money to go to college without a scholarship or a job remains to be seen…

In the recent months, I have had people ask me outright, “Are you going back to work?” And (I love this part) I watch their faces register surprise, horror, when I simply say, “no”. I love not working!! There, I said it!! And, ready for this???? I am not a member of PTA!!! I had my first child after age 30 (meaning I took my 20s to figure myself and life out) and it didn’t take me long to see the pattern that these poor stay-at-home moms got into once their kids got into full time school. They felt they had to tie up all their time doing stuff for the school so that they had answers to the oh, so frequent questions from society, “So, dear, what do you do with your days, now that you don’t work”. (My favorite answer to this is “I take naps with my dog on the couch almost everyday!! It rocks!!”).

Well, now that even these stay at home moms are going back to work, I am still putting my foot down. Until there comes a time that we cannot put food on the table and clothes on the kids, I am unemployed, a homemaker, simply, a mom. I am a rebel without a cause (to work), a pause (unless it is a nap) a guilt (I am a recovering Catholic and still working on this one). When my husband and I first starting talking seriously about “til death do we part”, I told him point blank that I would not go to work until the kids were in college (if then…). WHY?

Well, if you have been reading any of this blog you will have probably figured out that this is what my mother did with us. This was the 70’s and 80’s and women were starting to work outside the home. But she stayed… and drove my cheerleading team to all the away games, made her famous chocolate chip cookies, knew every single one of my friends and they adored her, WAS THERE WHEN I GOT HOME FROM SCHOOL. I vowed a long time ago that I would give my kids the same time and sacrifice my mother gave me.

(Please don’t think I am bashing working moms!! One of my best friends is a working mom and damn good at it!! Her daughter is wonderful, stable and grounded. We have often talked about the sacrifices we have both made ((her house is 4 times the size of mine)) but she knew staying at work would make her the best mom she could be. I adore her as a mother and believe she made the right decision. So please don’t send me hate comments, please?? It will make me cry.)

Thank goodness I am now really old enough to not let peer pressure, society pressure, middle class surburban neighborhood pressure get to me and make me feel like I have to go back to work. This is the best part of being old!! I’m serious!! You really stop caring what other people think!! It’s awesome.

I have stumbled upon ebay and have made some extra money selling on it (hey, enough to pay for vacations and Christmases, not bad, eh?) But I am still wondering what I will be when I grow up. The job I took out of college was a great high paying job but I wasn’t passionate about it. I promised myself I would never take a job (again, for food and clothes I would work anywhere) that I didn’t feel passionate about.

And even though, most of the time, when the boys come home from school, they shout, “Hi, Mom” and then are in their rooms, on their electronics, back out longboarding with their friends, they know that I am here if they need me. And that makes me pause… I am a mom, and only a mom, and life is good.

Recipe for Culinary Failure

I will be the FIRST to admit that I am no cook. My specialties can be found on any 10 year old’s list of favorite foods (mac ‘n cheese, spaghetti, tacos, chicken fingers). You get the picture. I do like to bake every now and again though. Usually at Christmas time and usually chocolate of some sort is involved.

I offered to bring a dessert to my book club group (how suburbian mom can I get??) and I was just going to go to the local grocery store and get something from the bakery (I would never resort to getting something from the cookie aisle, I’m not THAT bad). But then I saw what I thought was a wonderful easy, fun recipe in one of my favorite magazines and I had a moment (they are brief but I do have them) of inspiration and decided to make it for the dessert.

A couple of days later, arms loaded with the several ingredients needed for this recipe (hence the assumption EASY) and the morning of the book club, I started to make the recipe. You see, I was forward thinking in that I made it that morning in the very, most likely event that if it didn’t turn out, I still had time to run to the bakery!!

Let me preface this part of the story by adding that my 13 year old decided to be sick that day, and while I was trying to make this recipe, he kept calling me from his “sickbed” to ask the most unimportant questions!!

The recipe was for apple “smores” with melted marshmellow, chocolate and graham cracker crumbs. The picture in the mag was adorable!! Beautifully crafted layered smores candied apples! I can do this!!

After it took me almost 20 minutes just to find sticks to poke into the apples, I started melting the marshmellows on low (LIKE IT SAID). Another 20 minutes later, they are finally all melted and I am sweating profusely over the stove (Mom!! Can you bring me some water?). I dip the apples and put them on parchment paper. The recipe said wax paper, but isn’t it almost the same thing? First step done. Let chill for 15 minutes. Help your son study for a test he thinks he has tomorrow while he’s asking how he can make money to buy a new longboard (Main reason he called you in the first place.) Second step, the chocolate. I stand over the stove again and stir chocolate on low and sweat another layer over the first one. Pull the apples out of the fridge and attempt to take them off the paper…..

Guess what? Parchment isn’t the same as wax!! It sticks!! Really well!! I am pulling off these apples and winding taffy like ribbons of marshmellow around the apple to get it to snap so I can add the chocolate and the graham crackers (Mom, I need help with #46!!). I have marshmellow goo from fingers to elbows and I have now broken two sticks. While I am covering the apples, the others that are still just marshmellow are melting next to the stove. HURRY!! Next step: Let chill. Guess who needs to chill!! NOT THE APPLES!!!

They are finally done and they look… like crap!! This is where I get cranky and mad at all magazines and recipe books that show a picture of the final product. I know they are experts and food photographers and they know how to make it look nice, but seriously, couldn’t they just put in two pictures?? What it looks like if an expert does it and what it looks like when normal, cranky, sweating, wants her son to go to school, suburbia, book club mom does it!! Two pictures, so people like me don’t feel like complete failures with every new recipe they try!!

And another thing while I am in my cranky, sweating place of culinary failure, why can’t they detail in the recipe what you SHOULDN’T do as well as what you should do. Like, don’t use parchment paper, the marshmellow will stick! Maybe it’s because
I used salted butter when it asked for unsalted butter. That’s all I had in the house and WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?? Tell me not to do this in the recipe and I promise to not to do it!!

In the past, this is where I would haved called my mother and asked because she was the only person that I didn’t feel completely embarrassed about what I had done (or was about to do). She KNEW I was a crappy cook and she still loved me. But I bet a million bucks she would have had the answers I needed so that I didn’t have to wrestle miles of marshmellow from parchment paper!!

OK, I feel better now. In the end, I took them to the group and we cut them up in slices and everybody loved them (or pretended to). I told them, enjoy!! Cause I am never making these again!! Even if I found out how to do it right, I am protesting. It’s the principle of the thing. Recipes need to be written for all cooking levels, and no assumption should be made that we know what the hell we are doing!!

My cranky, sweating self threw the recipe away but I found the picture that I expected mine to look like… I am putting my crappy baking skills out there for the world to see. Can you see a difference???

 

Forced Family Fun (Part 1) = Dinner In

We are an almost disgustingly average family but I pride myself that most nights, we do get to sit down as a family and eat together. They say, that most families these days are too busy to all sit down and enjoy a meal at the same time. With kids’ sports and their extracurricular activities these days, it’s a wonder we see them at all. We probably eat together as a family about 5 nights a week. Honorable, isn’t it!! I should be proud, happy that we have such a tight knit family. Well, hold on, people, what you don’t know is what happens WHILE we are sitting down to eat. Don’t they say, Quality vs. Quantity, or something like that.

So welcome to a night at my house, when our wonderful American family sits down to eat a lovely dinner together…

The Mom: Go tell the boys dinner is ready… The Dad: DINNER IS READY!!!! The Mom: (5 Minutes Later) Go and physically tell them that dinner is ready. The Dad: as he walks into each of the boys rooms and says, I told you dinner is ready, get in here! The Boys: I heard you the first time Dad! The Dad: Then why didn’t you come when I called you? The Boys: I was coming right when you came in and yelled at me! (OR) I was washing my hands like you always want me to (OR) I didn’t realized you meant RIGHT now.  

The oldest boy: What are we having? The Mom: (Fill in the blank here with a myriad of average dishes, I admit I am no cook). The oldest boy: I hate that stuff, do I have to have it, can I just have a gogurt and a cheese stick instead? And, BTW, do we have ice cream for dessert? The youngest boy: Where’s my plate? The Mom: You get your own plate and serve yourself, I am not a waitress, or short order cook for that matter. And you will both eat what I cook or next time, you can fix dinner for all of us! And that includes the grocery shopping, the cooking and the cleaning!! The younger one: OK, don’t freak out Mom. The Dad: to the oldest son, Do you have to just jump right in ahead of me, I was standing here, wait your turn! The oldest: Well, you told me to get my dinner so I am getting my dinner! The youngest: to the oldest, hurry up will you? The oldest: Chill out, you turd face. 

(At this point, we haven’t even sat down. We have a small, my husband calls it a one butt kitchen. We are all crowded around the stove where we serve ourselves and food is everywhere. I don’t mean in the pots, I mean all over the counter. They are like cave men when serving themselves, especially on taco night.) OK, on with my FFF (forced family fun).

As we all sit down, my 13 year old (oldest boy) has already managed to shove 3/4 of his meal into his mouth. The Dad: Please slow down and eat like a normal person. No girl is ever going to want to go out with you if you eat like this. The youngest: Yeah, dude, you will never have a girlfriend!! The oldest: Wu gan dusth kith my buth! (You can just kiss my butt).  The Dad: We do not talk like this at the dinner table. The youngest: Yeah, fart head. The Mom: Did you not just hear what Dad said? The Dad: (trying to change the subject) So, how was school today, guys? The oldest: It was a blast Dad, I had so much fun and learned so much! (I don’t know where he gets his smart aleck remarks from). I’m done eating, see ya!! The Dad: Can you at least sit here and talk with us for a couple minutes? The oldest: Do I have to? The Dad: Fine, go! The youngest: My (fill in the blank) teacher is a dork, she expects us to (fill in the blank). The oldest: (from his bedroom) Oh, don’t be such a whiner! The Dad: You are in middle school now, and you are going to have to…

(Here comes the “lecture of the dinner”. My husband doesn’t know how to get his point across fast (fast enough for teenage boys to listen before they shut you off). So even before the first sentence, I get the eye roll from my son and we just ENDURE.)

The youngest: I’m done, later. (I have trained the boys to at least take their plates, rinse them and put them in the dishwasher. I am NOT a complete failure and it only took me about 6 years to train them, although I admit, we do have occasional relapses!!)

At the official end of the family dinner, a whopping 4 and 1/2 minutes have passed since we started said official dinner.  The Dad: Well, that was fun as always. (Here we usually sit and look at each other, with the noticeable fatique of worn down parental responsibility).

And that, my friends, is our typical night at the family dinner table. I ask you, is it worth it? Do all those other families who eat in shifts, or go through the drive through, are they actually better off? No conversing, no arguing, just eating. When the boys were little, we would look forward to when they got older so we could have a nice dinner together. I now think that the “nice dinner together” is still about 20 years away!!

Stay tuned for Forced Family Fun (Part 2) – Dinner Out

Look How Far We’ve Come (Or Gone…)

Just Another Symptom of…

I was in the shower this morning thinking about what I wanted for lunch. This is a regular everyday occurrance for me. To be thinking of the next meal. Pondering over what would be good to eat today. You see, over the course of my life, everything has changed: people around me, my height, my weight, my activity level, my eyesight, my opinions on just about every subject, the amount of fat under my arms, you get the point.

But the one consistant in my life, the one thing I can ALWAYS count on, is my love of food! And I’m not talking about good caviar, petit foi gras, too expensive to swallow kind of food. I’m talking about good, old fashioned, this is what makes Americans obese kind of food. Hamburgers, fries, pizza… (hence the change in weight).

But lately, I have been having cravings for NOTHING!! I am hungry, I want to eat, and nothing appeals to me!! Are you kidding me? That’s what happened this morning in the shower. I dug deep, into my belly chakra, to feel what it would like for lunch, and… nothing.

Of course, don’t worry, it’s not like I’m not going to eat!! HA!! That’s a good one. I ended up at Panera’s and had an excellent half of a Panini that tasted great but didn’t satisfy me!! This is getting a whole lot of frustrating.

It has occurred to me, and this is where my conversation with mom would come in, that this has been happening lately more and more as I so gracefully (not) step into the menopausal years of my life. I am definitely pre-menopausal as I experience profuse sweating at night and other lovely symptons we don’t need to discuss, but really, non-craving cravings?? Pretty soon, I’ll find out I don’t need chocolate anymore (although that would be considered a miracle, not a symptom).

When it comes to women’s “issues”, we usually inherit the same traits as our mothers. My mom and I did talk about this alittle bit, but I was in my early 40s and thought innocently that I had time. Not only before it started to happen to me, but more importantly, time to talk to my mom about it.

And so, as I journey with so many other women through this lovely time in our lives, I ask you, ARE THERE ANY OTHER SYMPTOMS THAT I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT??? The ones that aren’t obvious. Come on, I need help!! Because, guess what, I HAVE TO EAT SOMETHING FOR LUNCH TOMORROW!!

Afterword: I did stop at Baskin Robbins and get some World Class Chocolate ice cream (I used to get that in college when all the other sorority girls were getting their low-fat TCBY yogurt). Although it will go straight to my stomach and hips, it did make me feel much better!!!!

World Class Chocolate – it’s better than caviar!!

A Friend Found in an Unlikely Place – My Ebay Pen Pal

About 10 years ago, before most people knew what ebay was, my mother became a seller and learned how to use it. She would go to garage and estate sales and find “treasures” to sell. She had a sixth sense about her that knew when she had something good.

When my kids were toddlers, she (the high school graduate) taught me (the college graduate in engineering, mind you) how to list items on ebay. I started going with her on Saturday mornings, with the kids in tow. My boys loved this because I would give them $1 each to put in their fannie pack (Grandma had one so they wanted one too!!) and they would search for their treasures. For $1 a kid can get all kinds of crap at garage sales!! It’s like living in the 60’s!!

When she died suddenly four years ago, one of the things I had to do was to close out her ebay account. She actually had items listed and I let them finish the auction (they sold of course) and shipped them. But I also had to send a couple messages through ebay to people that she had befriended while selling. My mom could connect with so many different people, it was amazing to watch. So I had to inform them that she had passed, these people that she was literally pen pals with through ebay!!

I know she would be so happy to know that I now have myself my own ebay pen pal. I was selling my son’s itouch so that he could buy an iphone and it sold to a person in Belarus. That is a country right on the border of Russia. We conversed while it was being shipped (it takes FOREVER to get over there if it is not express). This has happened with other buyers, but once it arrives, we stop communicating. Well this buyer was interesting and they kept apologizing for their English (which was pretty good and fun to read). So I told them their English was great and a friendship was born. It has been over a year since that auction, and we are still communicating.

This person is a student and trying to learn English while going to school. The average salary for a Belarusian is about $250 a month. He is teaching me Russian words and I am helping him with his English. He talks about their culture and how the same word has such a different meaning in Russian.

For extra money, he was translating an English show into Russian for the Russian audience in his country. He was having trouble so I said I would help him. Well, no wonder he needed help!! It was a 1/2 hour children’s show filmed in China with Chinese and Australian actors speaking English!! When I asked him why he didn’t just translate an American show, he said that this show was a favorite in Belarus. So I have helped translate several shows (I had trouble too, especially with the Chinese accent!!).

I don’t think this person realizes what he has brought to the life of a middle class American mom. Not just gratitude for the country I live in, but also an awareness that there is so much to learn and know out there in the world. America is such a small part of it!

I just heard from him today and he taught me the word for children, “deti”. And he was concerned about Hurricane Isaac. I told him Bol’shoe Spasibo, which in Russian translates to “big thanks”. Thanks for being my ebay pen pal!

WWMD – Following in her footsteps

When I was young, if you asked me what I wanted to be, I would have said, “I want to be a mommy”. (Actually, I first wanted to be an eagle but those dreams got smashed pretty quick…). Of course, I did end up wanting to be other things as I grew up, among those being a ballerina, Olympic gymnast, professional cheerleader (my mom LOVED this one) and astronaut (is there a flying theme in here anywhere?) I finally settled on engineer so that I could qualify to be an astronaut. But underneath all these goals, my ultimate goal was to be a mother. Not just any mother, a stay at home mom JUST like mine. I did work in the engineering field for almost 10 years (alas, the astronaut was not meant to be, I was a quarter inch too short!!) and then got married and became a stay at home mom!

I was fortunate enough to have my mother here with me when both my sons were born and she lived to see them into elementary school. I hope she saw that her mothering skills were utilized everyday as my kids grew up. Oh, there are alot of differences between us, believe me. She would get up and fix me french toast before school most mornings and she always had a batch of Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies on the counter, fresh baked from scratch. I am no good to anyone before 9:30 or 10:00am so my boys have learned from a young age to make their cereal and their lunch for the day in the morning. But I would stand in the front yard and throw pop-ups to my kids for hours when they were learning to play ball and I just drove them through 21 states on a 24 day RV trip.

We are all great moms in some ways, good moms in a lot of ways, and hopefully, bad moms in only a couple ways.

But my mom was a great mom in most ways because she had a gift. She had the gift of gratitude. She was literally born with it and it came in the form of a hole in her heart. She had open heart surgery at 11 years old and she always knew that every day in her life was a gift. (I will be writing another post on her heart because it is quite historic!) That’s what made her so different. The rest of us have to learn gratitude and it takes work and life’s lessons to teach us.

Because of our special relationship, I didn’t have any regrets about things left unsaid after she died. We told each other everything and I often told her how much I loved her and how great of a mom she was. I thanked her constantly for teaching me to be a good mom. But I want to keep thanking her. Everytime I manage to do something right with this whole motherhood career (not as often as I would like, BTW), I want to call her and thank her. I still look to her for wisdom, WWMD (What would mom do?). Now, I have to intuit what she would say, try to remember what she told me, because, after all these years, I still simply want to be a mommy just like mine.

 
THEN

NOW

When do you set them free…

One minute they are asking you to “pick my up!” (pick me up in toddlereze) and the next they are telling you that they would rather stay at a friends house than go out on the lake with their family. This reminds me of the poem my mom and I liked that said, “If you love something, set it free…”. When my kids were young and she was still alive she also told me that our jobs as mothers is to slowly let go from the time your children are born.

But with mom gone, I keep wanting to know, “now?? is it OK to let him go a little more now? Or should I wait until he’s a little more mature to give him the freedom he asks for?” Cause in reality, I really only want her opinion.

I do know that motherhood is anything BUT black and white, a cooking recipe, 7 Steps to Highly Effective Parenting. It is all school of hard knocks, trial and error, 50 shades of gray (NO, not that 50 shades of gray, jeez!!!). What works for one kid will more than likely not work for the other. And it might work today, but not tomorrow.

Kids get older sooner these days. They are exposed to so much more than my generation. I want them to be independent, self-motivated, free thinkers, but I also know that a teenage boy’s brain is absolutely harder to understand than how the price of gas can go up and down so much (seriously…).

These parenting issues really stink when your mother is gone. Especially one that was your biggest role model. No matter your relationship with your mother, you parent your children either based on what she did or what she didn’t do. So, guess what, if you were raised by your mother, she is your role model, good or bad. With that role model gone, how do you continue to parent? All my friends are in the same boat with their kids; they are floundering in the murky waters of motherhood (or simply reading 50 Shades of Gray to escape). 

In the end you make your best decision based on intuition and luck. “Is that your final answer”? Maybe, ask me again tomorrow, after I finish reading this book (no, not that book!!)

Was it like this when I was a kid?

The most re-occuring question that I want to ask my mother on an almost daily basis is “was it (or I) like this when I was a kid?”. Once your parents are gone, or whoever raised you, your childhood memories are all up to you, they are in your head alone. For example, right after she died, I was engulfed in grief. My mind thought of strange things. One day, my childhood dentist popped into my mind. But I couldn’t remember his name. I proceeded to pick up the phone to call mom and then remembered, my childhood resource is gone!! For the next couple days, all I could think of was, “what in the heck was that guy’s name!!”. My relief came in the form of a friend who grew up in my area and just happened to know the dentist that worked in that building ( I at least remembered his office location!!).

I was all at once, both relieved to know the name so I could get back to important things like feeding my children, and at such a loss to realize how so much information about my past died with her. Especially as a mother, you often wonder, (usually when your child is acting like a complete idiot) did I act like this??? And more importantly, what did you do to stop it!!

I was very blessed to have a very special bond with my mother and we had a great relationship. I asked her parenting advice on a weekly basis. With her gone, I feel so lost sometimes, even though I still have family and friends I could go to. She was the one person who knew me the best from the start and could use that precious information to honestly tell me just how many character defects I have lovingly passed down to my kids!!

To this day, almost daily, I have those kinds of questions. Tonight, as I watched my poor son practice soccer in the rain because his coach needs them to be strong, blah, blah, blah; I thought to myself… “was it like this when I was a kid?”.