moms’ love knows no bounds…

Following is my guest column submission for my local newspaper…

Moms’ love knows no bounds

A belated Happy Mother’s Day to all those answering to the job description of “mom.” Of course, the list of expectations flexes daily depending upon circumstances. I’m sure all who serve in that capacity would agree that there’s nothing a mom wouldn’t attempt to do if the need arose. And if mom can’t do it, she’ll still make sure it’s done, by hiring out.

My call to motherhood came late. Sixteen years into marriage, I finally joined my 3 sisters and 16 sisters-in-law in a sorority from which, up until then, I’d been excluded. In fact, I was so clueless, I went to my doctor complaining of flu-like symptoms. I don’t know why he thought to run a pregnancy test first. When he phoned with the results he asked if I was sitting down.

That’s the last time I got to sit down on the job. Thirty-one years later, I’m no closer to retiring from the best position for which I’ve ever been hired.

The most rewarding accolades I could ever receive are from those I hold most dear, my husband, daughter and new son-in-law.

Along with a beautiful bouquet of pink roses and white hydrangeas, daisies, stock and lilies were, in part, the following words in a note from my daughter and her husband. “We’re so grateful for everything you’ve done for us and continue to do. You’re an amazing mom and woman! We love you!”  

In a Mother’s Day card from my hubby of 47 years, he wrote “Your daughter is the living example of how a child develops with a great mom.”

What makes these words especially poignant is that I survived a childhood with a mother who struggled with her own demons. She raised 9 of us the best way she could after my father died. I never knew him; he died when I was one.

We often forget that moms, and dads, were once children themselves. We are the end results of parenting, good, so-so and not-so-good. To be fair to our parents, we have to remember that they were also the products of others’ parenting. Add to that generational, cultural and societal aspects relevant to when we are born, and we must admit it’s difficult to blame parents for the whole of our lives.

There are so many good folks to whom we can turn as good, even great, role models. I was extremely fortunate in that regard. Growing up without a dad meant I looked to men who filled the bill…the family doctor, my best friend’s father and my father-in-law. They treated me the way I’d want to have been treated by my dad had he lived.

I know from experience that we can never have too many folks rooting for us. That’s why my heart fills to overflowing when other moms tell me they love my daughter. Knowing that she will be sustained by their love when I die is the ultimate gift.

God bless all moms.

…and that includes all of you, moms, too.

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

 

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remembering…

She was like a second mother, my sister Ruby. While it’s difficult to remember all the details of that time, I can distinctly recollect her being warm and understanding where my own mother was sometimes gruff and exacting.

Misc July 2010 00069The event that remains permanently etched in my memory was when Ruby allowed me to help run the wet clothes through the wringing rollers in her old-fashioned washing machine. I was probably 7 or 8 years old, and very conscientious it seems. Wanting to do it correctly, I hung onto the piece of clothing a tad longer than I should have as it made its way through the wringer. In seconds my hand was being dragged along, all the way up my forearm. Screaming bloody murder, I was rescued by my sister who came running to unplug the machine. I’m sure I steered clear of that fandangled contraption after that.

As a youngster I spent a good deal of time with Ruby and her cowboy husband, Steve Autry. I’ve no idea what brought him to Maui back in the ’50s. Perhaps he was lured by the image of roping horses and riding Brahma bulls in the annual rodeo held at the base of Haleakala, the island’s dormant volcano. Or maybe he thought he’d work at what he knew best…being a cowboy and whatever that entailed.

My sister and her husband made an unusual couple in those days…a lanky, 6 footer whose mischievous, blue eyes peered out from beneath strands of blonde hair streaked by the island sun. His tanned face, deeply lined and freckled. Standing alongside him, Ruby was inches shorter. Hair cut short in the natural ebony color of the island women. A jaunty smile compared to her husband’s. A crooked one that partially hid his tobacco-stained teeth.

Watching my brother-in-law roll cigarettes was always captivating. First came the crisp, creamy-hued slip of rectangular paper, followed by the tobacco pouch. With deft agility he’d tug at the strings of the pouch so that a slim rivulet of tobacco dribbled onto the paper. Taking the strings between his front teeth, Steve would draw the pouch’s opening to a close. Returning it to the shirt pocket over his heart, he’d take the nearly finished cigarette between his thumbs and index fingers. Using his pointy, long tongue he’d spread just enough saliva along the length of one side of the paper allowing him to fasten it to the other side. Slipping the newly-minted cigarette between his lips, my brother-in-law would light it with the strike of a match along the underside of his boot.

To a clueless kid like me, it was pretty cool stuff.

A few years younger than me, my niece and I would often accompany her dad, as he scoured landfills and roadsides for stuff to resell, especially scrap metal. Growing up poor meant not having many toys like friends who did. So climbing over piles of junk in search of hidden treasures was fun. It was kind of exciting to see what I’d find under the rubble. One discovery turned out to be more than I bargained for. Watch for that story in a future post.

They might have made it as a country singing duet. With Steve on the guitar and Ruby singing harmony, they sounded like the real thing. Not that I’d had much opportunity to hear country music, but I knew what I liked and I liked what I heard. My favorite was a haunting lullaby which included some yodeling. My sister yodeled beautifully. Imagine that! An island gal yodeling as naturally as though she’d been born on the range. I’m certain my love of singing blossomed during these impromptu song fests right there on the front steps of their house. 

 Sadly for Ruby and her daughter, the cowboy didn’t remain a permanent fixture. He and my sister divorced when I was a preteen. Since they’d moved to Honolulu, the islands’ designated “big city,” I would spend part of my summers with them. And much later when I returned to attend the University of Hawaii, my sister Ruby’s apartment was where I went the first couple of summers after I vacated the college dorms.

My sister didn’t have an easy life, raising a child on her own. In fact, my young niece lived with my mom and me for a couple of years on Maui while Ruby sought to earn a living. I’m not certain, but it may be that she continued to struggle until the end which came on July 27. She died of lung cancer, a result of decades of cigarette smoking.

I will remember Ruby as a soft-spoken mediator, a comforting presence, humble, self-sacrificing and perhaps easily overcome by stronger personalities, like my mom. I truly believe she would give the shirt off her back if someone needed it more than she. I’m sorry we’d not been in touch later in life, but she seemed content with where she’d finally landed…living with her daughter and her family. Secreted away from the turmoil she’d known, it felt right to let her be, to let her live in peace and quiet, no longer saddled by the burdens of others. At least I’m hoping that’s how it was.

…blessed are the peacemakers…

…for they shall be called children of God.

………hugmamma.Miscellaneous Pictures July 2010 124

 

 

 

 

 

 

forever…

…friends.

Laurie and I have known each other since our daughters were toddlers. She initiated the first ever playgroup in our small town of Redding, Connecticut. For that I will be forever grateful. It was my lifeline to the outside world since I’d decided to forgo a career in NYC to be a stay-at-home mom.

I’d worked since I was 16, so being in a twosome with a child for the next umpteen years was a thousand scary thoughts all rolled into one. I’d no idea how I’d make it from one day to the next without adult companionship.

Thank God for that ad in the local paper inviting new moms to gather with babes in arms. Laurie and I have been lifelong friends ever since.

There were a number of women with whom I’d been close, but Laurie was the only one with whom I’d been so totally in sync. There were never, ever any issues over which we’d have a falling out. Never. Our daughters, only children, were our common cause. It was always about their well being. Our worlds revolved around doing our best for them. We always commiserated over that common goal. Our egos never got ahead of us that way. Amazing! Truly amazing.

It’s been 18 years since our family moved to the Pacific Northwest. During that time, Laurie and I have managed to meet up…in Redding,  NYC, Chautauqua (New York), Atlanta, Martha’s Vineyard and just last week, here in Washington State. (We’re already looking forward to where we’ll next meet.) As with long time friends the world over, we spent every waking moment catching up on…our lives…our daughters’ lives…the lives of friends and acquaintances we’d both known…and Redding, past and present.

As an unexpected bonus, Laurie and I discovered we both dreaded the thought of a Trump presidency. And so from the outset, politics wove their way in and out of all of our conversations. Empowered by our discussions, she vowed that she would help register voters upon returning to her home town in Pennsylvania. And, of course, I plan to continue trouncing Trump with the written word.

One of the first compliments I paid Laurie on this visit was that she was everybody’s enabler…her daughter’s…her ex-husband’s…her two sisters…her niece and nephew…her friends…her coworkers. It’s in Laurie’s very DNA to quietly support those with whom she’s in contact. She never pushes her opinions; instead she listens carefully, building upon what the speaker has said. To her great credit, many have remained loyal to her. And to her very great credit, her daughter is thriving in a gay marriage and enjoying an awesome career as a veterinarian.

I count myself very lucky to still be among Laurie’s closest friends. No matter the distance, no matter the passing of time, we will always be kindred spirits…

…friends…forever.

………hugmamma.787

 

nurturing thursdays: powerful words…

A few things in historical documentarian Ken Burns’ speech to Stanford University’s 2016 graduating class, continues to resonate with me. He said…to educate all of our parts…to make babies…and that the arts make our country worth defending. 

To educate all of our parts.

I always tell my daughter “Being fully informed makes your decision, whatever it is, an educated guess. Whatever the outcome, you know you did all you could to make the best choice you possibly could in the moment.” Because she was a blessing, my only child after 16 years of hoping I would one day become a mother, I live with the thought that she could be gone in the blink of an eye. With the hateful rhetoric inciting Trump supporters to take America back to a darker time when the world was white and black, I worry as I see other mothers lose their children to gun violence.

An adult and wife at 30, I can no longer stand between my daughter and the world. And yet I know I have armed her with a clear vision of the real world ever since she was a youngster. Unlike a friend who felt her son at age 5 was too young for the truth, I felt my daughter was not too young to learn the facts of life. In doing so, however, I always followed the truth with positive words reinforcing hope, not negative resignation.

To make babies.

Not until you have a child, can you understand what it is to lose a child. Not until you lose a child, can you understand a mother’s desire not to go on living afterwards. I hope, as parents the world over do, that my daughter outlives me by decades.

The arts make our country worth defending.

Supporting my daughter in her desire to dance professionally will always be something of which I am proudest. It was not an easy path; neither was it a lucrative one. My daughter said, when featured in Discount Dance Supply Magazine at age 16…

Dancing is a gift that I would like to share with the world.

The greatest satisfaction is knowing when my performance has touched or moved someone.

She may not have secured millions as a professional athlete, but my daughter garnered millions in spiritual wealth. If she were taken by an act of violence tomorrow, my daughter can return to Our Father having lived a Christ-like life. And if I were to die first, I would do so knowing that I have been…

…a mother in Mary’s footsteps.

………hugmamma.

(Note: Click on the following link for more inspirational posts…
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2016/07/28/nurt-thurs-my-prayer/

 

…as it should be…

As excruciatingly messy as it might be sometimes, democracy is still preferable to autocracy. Each person speaking his and her own voice is still preferable to one voice speaking for all.

The difference between the RNC and the DNC is stark. Last night, apart from the megawatt speeches delivered by Michelle Obama, Corey Booker, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, there were equally moving speeches delivered by ordinary folks like Cheryl Lankford. She was one of many trumped by the man himself when she enrolled in Trump University to the tune of $35,000.

I understood Lankford’s embarrassment at feeling she was the fool for being duped. I understood her inability to tell anyone about how dumb she felt. I understood how as a woman, we are primed to think it’s our fault if we’re stupid enough to get “taken to the cleaners.” Especially up against billionaire Donald Trump. Who would believe Cheryl Lankford if she spoke up against a man of his celebrated, moneyed stature?

Today, I was moved to tears by the story of Na’ilah Amaru.

“I was born on a dirt floor to a woman whose name I will never know. What I do know is that she loved me enough to give me up, so I could live the life she wanted for me. A life without hunger or despair, filled with hope, education, and opportunity.

As a baby, bundled up in the hopes and dreams of my mother, I began a new life in a faraway land called America. I was raised by two women, and learned early on about intolerance and hatred. But I also learned about the power of love, faith and hope.

The first time I saw Hillary, she was on TV addressing a panel of men with such confidence and ownership of self. Her poise and presence fundamentally changed how I would claim my own space in the world. I was 11.

Seven years later, my belief in America inspired me to raise my hand and solemnly swear to defend her ideals with my life. I joined the army as an ammunition specialist and gave the best of myself to a country that had given me so much. I returned from Iraq deeply committed to restoring the faith of America’s Promise—for everyone.

Tonight, in the birthplace of our nation, I renew our commitment to democracy with an historic step toward gender equality. Reflected in broken shards of glass, and Hillary herself, we can see the dreams of our daughters. This is America’s promise.

Along my journey, I have called California, Texas, Georgia, and New York home. And I know that what connects us runs far deeper than what divides us.

So, if you can hear my voice tonight, join me and everyone in this hall, by texting HILLARY to 47246—as we move forward, together.

As an immigrant, a combat veteran, a woman of color, and my mother’s daughter, I am American. My story is our story. The story of America.”

(PRNewswire, 7/26/16)

Ordinary women standing up FOR…

…an exceptionally, extraordinary woman.

…Hillary Clinton.

………hugmamma.

 

…not an award show…

Thus far Trump’s children have described their dad as THE nominee for “Best Father of the Year Award.” What they are not describing is…the BEST candidate for president of ALL Americans.

Having watched the last few days of the RNC, almost nonstop I might add, I’ve not heard or seen anything or anyone reflective of me…a woman of color. No, I’m not Black but as a tanned Pacific Islander with humble, Asian values…there is no one with whom I’ve been able to identify among the rank and file attending the convention. Their faces are predominantly white and their values are predominantly white values. Neither would be problematic, except that the vitriol being exhibited for “red meat” rhetoric is so totally alien to the America I believe in.

I understand the economic strife Trump followers are railing against, but it’s not like the rest of the country hasn’t been in the same boat. Aside from the black contingent crying out for equal treatment under the law, others feeling the economic boot on their backsides are not calling for opponents to be killed.

Not a fan of Senator Ted Cruz, I admired the guts it took for him to stand up in defense of his wife and father. Had he cowered to Party pressure as Paul Ryan did in endorsing Trump for president, I would have continued to think of Cruz as a non-entity.

When is it ever right to set aside our principles in favor of the “end justifying the means?” And Trump as the president of all the good that America stands for is inconceivable. As a wheeler and dealer, he is no better than the Middle Eastern dictators for who back room negotiations is a way of life.

While the Trump children speak lovingly of their father, their body language standing alongside him in the family box demonstrates their allegiance in business terms. There is no physical connection…no touching…no hugging… no tidbits of familial nuances showing organic tenderness.

I salute Trump for his wonderfully poised, politically correct children. I’m sure their mother, Ivana, had a lot to do with their gracious manners. After all, she raised them while her husband was publicly philandering.

It’s obvious that Trump did a good job of bringing his children into the family business. What’s sad is that they bought everything he taught them hook, line and sinker.

Children absorb what they observe. It’s true of the values of the Trump children. “The end justifies the means.” Say anything…do anything…

…to get what you want.

………hugmamma.

 

nurturing Thursdays: coloring…outside the box

My new son-in-law is a blonde, blue-eyed Texan. It’s obvious he adores and cherishes his new Mrs. …my brunette, brown-eyed, beautiful daughter. He’s already said he’d like their children to inherit only one of his traits, his blue eyes; otherwise, he’d prefer they inherit their looks from their mother.

Who could find fault with a man who loves my precious, only child as I do?

What in his DNA makes my son-in-law so unlike others who see people of color as unlovable? And what in my daughter’s DNA makes her color-blind to someone so opposite in appearance to her? I can only reason that they have both known the kind of love and support which looks to a person’s heart, and not to the circumstances in which he or she was born.

Hugging my daughter’s new mother-in-law when we first met, I could see how alike we were…so utterly and totally in love with our children. And so “over the moon” that they had found one another. Neither of us noticed that we too had nothing physically in common…not our skin color…not our hair color…not the color of our eyes…nor the drawl, or lack thereof, when we spoke. Enveloped in a comforting hug, our hearts beat in unison. Two moms whose precious children had found a safe haven in one another…and dropped anchor, creating a home of their own thousands of miles away from those who love them so much.

Love does conquer all…if we allow it.

Allowing ourselves to love others unlike ourselves is the task set before us by God. Many more have succeeded than have failed. It’s in the media’s best interests to focus upon the failures rather than the successes. They seem miniscule by comparison, and perhaps they are since most go undetected, flying under the general public’s radar. However in the grand scheme of things, it’s really the little moments that add up to the greatness of our lives.

For two families celebrating a momentous occasion, the marriage of our children, all is right with the world. Granted, it’s not a perfect one. There is no Heaven on earth, after all. And yet God has given us the tools with which to create one that comes close to approximating the real thing. Whether or not we take up the challenge is up to us as individuals. And as individuals, each of us will face God with our own stories on judgment day.

We are all storytellers, everyone of us. How good we are at it…

…god will decide.

………hugmamma.595

(For more inspirational words, click on the following…
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2016/07/07/nurt-thurs-embrace-yourself/

 

nurturing Thursdays: early wishes for…

…a very blessed Father’s Day!

You must be checking your calendar to see when it is. Don’t worry. I’m a month early. Because my daughter’s wedding will be front and center soon, I wanted to give my husband his due before all the hoopla surrounding her day overshadows everything else.

As devoted as I am to my daughter, I continue to be amazed at my husband’s unconditional love and loyal support. He is selfless when it comes to providing for us. There has never been a time since our daughter was born when he put his needs before ours. I don’t even remember him asking for a single material thing. I’ve always made gift choices which I thought would please him; whether or not there was an occasion to celebrate.

I didn’t know my dad. He died when I was one. Without realizing it, I’m sure I sought surrogates as a child growing up. There were 2 men who resonated as father figures…my best friend’s dad and our family doctor. Their small gestures made me feel that an adult other than my mom cared about my well-being. I understood that they belonged to other children, but when these men spoke to me I basked in the warmth of their attention, however fleeting. How I wished I was their daughter. I would have been proud, and pleased.

My husband has turned out to be just such a dad. He is everything I would have wished for as a child. Thank God I grew up subconsciously knowing the kind of man with whom I wanted to share my life. He also happened to be…

…the perfect father…

…for our precious daughter.

………hugmamma.278


More inspirational thoughts at…
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/nurt-thurs-move-on/

 

…hug mamma!

Happy Mother’s Day to all who mother…children, grandchildren, students, others’ children…and, of course, pets. Make sure you get your requisite hugs and smooshies. Have a few extra for me since my daughter is thousands of miles away. Although she and her fiancé had a beautiful vase of fragrant stargazer lilies and roses delivered to me today.

Of all the days we celebrate, Mother’s Day is by far the one I cherish most. If it weren’t for God’s grace I might never have been a mom. Not until my husband and I were wed 16 years was I blest with our only child. That’s why I write, wearing my heart on my sleeve…about my daughter.

Moms are special human beings. We give and give and give…and yet we never think of it that way. That’s just how we’re built it seems. It’s in our DNA. We instinctively nurture our children, fulfilling all their needs…physically and spiritually. When called upon we can even become…Super Women! There’s nothing we can’t do for our children. Nothing!

When our children are ill, we inhabit their bodies with our minds…willing them to heal. We instinctively feel their sorrows and weep as one with them. When they are elated, we carry them heavenward.

Because children are flesh of our flesh, we would step in front of a careening car to save them. Or exchange our healthy bodies for their diseased ones. We would sacrifice our lives…to spare theirs.

The light goes out when a child is gone. All that remain are memories. Truthfully, that’s all any of us have when our lives end. And isn’t that what really counts? Memories. Precious memories. Nothing material compares.

So we should live fully in each moment. Savor our children…their smiles, their frowns…their gusto, their  withdrawal…their mastery of some things, their lack of skill for others.

If we stockpile memories of being with our children we will never be without them. And we will always have…

…a beautiful and happy mother’s day.

………hugmamma.IMG_4128

teaching our children…

…right from wrong.

That’s what parents set out to do. It’s like the Hypocratic oath for us. Parents: Do no harm. The first line translated from Greek is “I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:…”

Leading by example is the best and the most basic advice a parent could ever follow. “Little pitchers have big ears” is another truism parents would do well to remember.

The Andy Griffith Show and its town of Mayberry is still relevant today. I think even the majority of dissatisfied, Trump supporters would agree. And yet it’s sad to think that while they are clamoring to… “make America great again,” they are sacrificing their children to a slogan.

I’m not a parenting expert, although being a parent is something I take very seriously. In fact, it is my primary undertaking in life…to be the best parent I can be. Everything I believe, everything I do has ramifications…as a parent. Yes, I misstep; but morality is not something I can ever sacrifice for anything or anyone. Before committing to a cause or a person, it has to sit right…in my gut. That alone signals to my daughter that I can be believed; that she can follow my lead.

The end NEVER, EVER justifies the means. No amount of comfort and well being is worth the degradation of one’s soul. Trump has corrupted the morals of millions of parents. In the process, they have shown their children that their morals can be bought by a slogan.

My unsolicited advice to these parents…

…we reap…what we sow.

………hugmamma.

 

nurturing thursdays: did you talk to your child today?

My daughter and I spoke at some length this evening, after she got home from teaching dance classes and rehearsing students for an upcoming competition. We’re indeed blest to share such closeness all these years, talking on the phone for hours…like best girlfriends.

It wasn’t always that way.

Until she was 16 when I accompanied her to Georgia to train with Atlanta Ballet, I was mom. I set the rules and she followed them. It wasn’t like I had to punish her, it’s just that she knew the boundaries within which to operate to keep everything on an even keel. Because my husband’s job kept him on the road and at the office from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., I functioned like a single parent. Even more so when my daughter and I lived in Atlanta while he remained  in Washington, working to pay the bills.

The boundaries were stretched when she dated her first boyfriend. Their relationship lasted 3 years or so, during which time there were the usual highs and lows accompanying first love. Hers. He’d already been in and out of several relationships. On my own to figure things out, I did my best. There were conflicts for sure, but my daughter knew I always had her back. Early on I tried to send the guy packing because I thought he was pretty selfish. I relented when she ran after him. Eventually he drew me in with his charm. I was still under his spell when my daughter finally broke up with him. Thank goodness she did. He really was a selfish opportunist.

My daughter fared no better with the next few romances. She kept dating losers. Eventually these failed relationships coupled with a profession that requires so much emotional and physical stamina, caused her to spiral downwards into depression. She eventually reached out to us. Thankfully! Bursting into tears on the phone, she immediately agreed to come home so we could help her. 

I flew east to help her pack and see to last minute arrangements. The ballet company kindly offered to hold her job until she returned. For 2 months, our daughter was under psychiatric care. It was determined that a concussion she’d had as a child probably altered her brain chemistry. Unbeknownst to us at the time, the accident skewed her perception of reality. Dance probably helped divert her attention from negative thoughts. There’s just so much choreography to memorize.

Only when she encountered the usual mind games that come with a job and a boyfriend, did our daughter start to overthink everything. On the cusp of adulthood, she tried to tackle her problems on her own. Dance friends her age were little help, since they were burdened with their own problems. Years passed; things worsened. A psychologist she engaged only made our daughter’s task more daunting. She could not figure out how to put her life back together again after those raw, gut-wrenching, one-on-one sessions. Her safety net, my husband and I, lived 2,000 miles away.

With the help of a few close friends to whom she finally opened up, our daughter started to find her way out of the black hole that engulfed her. Thank God for them. Thank God she reached out for help. Thank God my husband didn’t think twice about bringing her home so we could help her heal. Six years later, she’s excited to be marrying a young man who cherishes her for who she is. Her happiness is priceless.

Today my daughter told me of a 12-year-old dancer in one of her classes who lost her brother this week…to suicide. He text his friends, thanking them for trying to help. He told them they did all they could, and asked that they help his parents. Rumor has it that he had been distraught over a failed relationship. Although it’s not certain.

My daughter cried on and off the day she heard of the young man’s death. And the following day, she thought “He was only 16. A baby. And he didn’t live to see today.” She still registered disbelief when telling me about it.

Talking to our children is a lifetime blessing. We wield so much influence over them, whether we know it or not. We can never take for granted that…

…our loving words…can save their lives.

…i know.

………hugmamma.img_5209.jpg

(View more inspirational thoughts at…
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2016/05/05/nurt-thurs-would-you-glow/

dreams…nightmares

Do you dream? Or have nightmares? I often have both, and at the same time. How’s that possible? I have no idea. While I’m more or less in control of what I do during the day, I have absolutely none when it comes to sleepy time. I’m at the mercy of the fairies or gargoyles, depending upon who decides to mess with my head on any given night.

In the morning my husband chuckles when I explain how I spent the night wrestling imaginary characters…some familiar, some not. He takes no credit for often showing up, usually as a bystander or the root cause of my struggles with the unknown. The man has no clue what goes on inside my head, even though we’ve known each other almost half-a-century. Men.

My mom always attributed fitful sleeping to having eaten too close to bedtime. More so if I ate something spicy. That made sense when I was young. Most things she said made sense then, given the deck was stacked in her favor as THE authority in my life. Now that I’m the authoritarian in my own life, I figure my dreams and nightmares have more to do with psychology.

Issues that remain unresolved in my mind probably find their way into my consciousness as I sleep. There where I have little or no control, I react as best I can to the images I come across. Because I’m a strong person, I find I usually struggle to maintain that strength…even as I lay motionless. That’s probably when my dreams become nightmares. I’m fighting for self-preservation.

It’s been a very long time since I experienced something even more disturbing as I lay sleeping. It would even occur when I napped. Day or night, if I was being threatened in my dreams I would not be able to move or even make a sound. I could feel myself struggling to wake up, or to scream for help from my husband who lay fast asleep alongside me. I imagine that’s what it would be like if I awoke from a coma, and found myself locked in a coffin, buried 6 feet underground.

Scary, right? Thank goodness I’ve outgrown that particular idiosyncrasy. Unfortunately, my daughter may have inherited it. She told me she experienced the exact same feeling. So now she tries to hold her fiancé’s hand before she falls asleep, something she could not do no matter how hard she tried to reach for it while in the throes of a subliminal struggle. I know that feeling. No matter how close my husband lay to me, I could not move an inch to scream for help.

I’m certain my daughter and I aren’t the only ones beset with such goings on inside our heads, as our bodies surrender to deep slumber. We couldn’t be that unique.

…are you…one of us?

………hugmamma.

...zzzzzzzzz...

…zzzzzzzzz…

 

 

 

my story…

I’m never without a book when I crawl under the covers at night. And it’s usually a biography of someone famous. There’ve been a few infamous folks as well. Mrs. Wallace Simpson comes to mind.

Folks living in the glare of the spotlight captivate me. I wonder if what we see or hear or read about them is real. Or is much of it fabricated for public consumption? I grew up under the spell of Ingrid Bergman and Bette Davis, Errol Flynn and Cary Grant. Theirs was a Hollywood where movie stars were celluloid creations. What we saw wasn’t always who they were off-screen.

Historical figures also interest me. I’ve read the life stories of several presidents, including FDR, Eisenhower, Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon and Obama. What propels these men to choose the extraordinary instead of the ordinary path is a lesson in advanced psychology.

The common denominator in all of these biographies is parental influence. Most often it’s the lack of, or overabundance of…parental involvement. As a young boy, Cary Grant suffered the loss of his mother when his father had her committed to an institution. Grant didn’t learn of her existence until he was well on his way to becoming a Hollywood icon. Forever after, he sought her approval which he felt he never got.

Rose Kennedy left much of the parenting duties to nannies and staff. John was a sickly child who never received the doting care and concern of his mother. As an adult, he was not overly affectionate toward her. In fact, it was his father whose approval the son desperately wanted, and whose loyalty and love meant the most to the president.

Nixon’s Quaker mother instilled in him the ambition to always do well…no matter the odds. And Sarah Roosevelt made it impossible for Eleanor to follow in her mother-in-law’s footsteps. She whose very life revolved solely around her beloved Franklin.

So what’s different between these lives…and mine? Mostly the trappings. Articles about their comings and goings are devoured by millions of adoring fans; I have a few loyal readers following hugmamma.com. They dine at 21 in NYC; I’ve been there a handful of times as the guest of one of my husband’s clients. They fly hither and yon in first class accommodations; I’ve been fortunate to ride up front a time or two. The world is their oyster; I’ve traveled enough to know contentment…sitting on my deck, watching the world go by.

More importantly the death of my father, which left my siblings and me in the care of an uneducated, impoverished 30-year-old mother, left invisible scars that no amount of time will ever erase.

When we delve beneath the surface of our lives, what we find is a commonality to our human story. No matter what we go on to make of ourselves, we are the product of how we were raised…by whom…and how they were affected by their own life stories.

The only difference between one story and another is what we each bring to it. Do we improve upon what came before? Or do we let the story play out according to script. I prefer to think we can tweak a line here and there, maybe even rewriting a chapter or two. The ending can resemble a happily-ever-after, even if it’s not the one in An Affair to Remember, or Sleepless in Seattle.

Life is not a done deal…until it’s done. There’s time…minutes, hours, days, months, years…to do some rewriting. All it takes is a bit of imagination…

…and a whole lot of guts.

………hugmamma.

 

 

take my advice…

…give ’em the money and let ’em elope!

At this juncture, even my daughter agrees. She should have taken her fiancé up on his offer to marry in a civil ceremony eons ago, and forget about all this hoo-ha.

Of course we wouldn’t have done it that way. After all, she is our only child. There was no way we weren’t going to celebrate such a momentous occasion…the final severing of the umbilical cord between my daughter and me. Not even the 2,000 miles that separated us this last decade or so did the trick. It took a great, future son-in-law and Medicare to finally clinch it.

Long distance planning is a killer when it comes to a wedding. You’re at the mercy of the internet and a working wi-fi connection. You’re also stuck with whatever vendor you can find online. And good luck trying to find images of their previous work, and enough reviews to help with your decision.

My daughter agrees she is blessed with a mom who researches everything to death. I’m like a Jack Russell Terrier…once I sink my teeth into something, I never let go until I’ve chewed my way to the bone.

At the outset I had tried to get my husband to buy into a one-price-buys-all wedding. When he balked at the price and “put his foot down,” I set about purchasing the wedding piece meal…the venue, the food, the drinks, the music, the flowers. Who knew I’d have to rent the tables, chairs, and linens? Fortunately, the caterer provided the plates and utensils…paper and plastic, of course! And since we weren’t using an everything-included venue, I became the presumptive event planner.

Since last June when my daughter accepted her boyfriend’s proposal, I’ve been like a mole burrowing my way through all the details, leaving nothing to chance. I was on the job, day and night. My husband agrees, no one could afford my services. Not that I could give my all to anyone but my daughter. And she and I both agree…this is the last wedding either of us are planning.

505As it turns out, what we’re ending up paying even surpasses the original quote I got from the one-stop for one-price venue. Because I dealt with individual businesses, there was no way to integrate their services into one cohesive unit. And while the budget dictated the parameters, the details always pushed the boundaries. At some point, I had to back off or I would’ve pulled all my hairs out by their white roots.

When it comes down to it, we’re blessed to have one child and be able to give her the wedding of her dreams. Thank goodness her dreams are small town…and not Big Apple, big city-sized ones.

If you’ve a wedding in your future, unless you’re anal about details and don’t mind shopping around as I do, I’d suggest you…plunk your money down in one place, and let them do the work for you. Better yet…

…send the couple on their way…with four fistfuls of $$$.

………hugmamma.

 

nurturing Thursdays: …a star is born…

Thirty years ago I gave birth to a rising star. Today she is just that.

My daughter was featured in the recent music video of singer and former American Idol contestant, Danny Gokey. In it he sings the hauntingly beautiful melody…”Tell your heart to beat again.”

In all the madness that is today’s world, a little touch of sanity in the form of music and choreography reminds us that life is really about loving one another.

We exist…

…to love…and be loved in return.

………hugmamma.

(More inspirational posts are waiting for you at…
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2016/03/24/nurt-thurs-environment/