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.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

…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

For you ‘Mama’

…mother’s day…is every day…

…as long as there’s a child…longing to be loved…and hugged.

………hugmamma.

(To hear the beautiful music that accompanies these lovely photographs, go to… https://passiondew.wordpress.com/2015/05/10/for-you-mama/)

The Passion Dew

Forget me not

Forget me not

View original post

after decades…relinquishing control…

We wives and moms metamorphose all our lives.Butterfly-Header

Sometimes we’re butterflies. Wowee!!! Look at me flutter…

MothsO18Most times, however…we’re just plain, ole moths. Hardworking, for sure. No time to flit around looking beautiful all day long. We save that for special occasions, which get fewer and farther along once the children start coming.

I can’t remember when I last felt like a butterfly. Come to think of it, I can’t remember what it was like to be twenty-something. Those days of short-shorts and string bikinis are all but forgotten. And yes! I did wear both. You’ll barf if you’re trying to imagine it, given what I look like now. So don’t try!

Over the last 29 years I’ve worn my moth-eaten wife and mother’s gray garb with happy determination. When I was younger I could do it all. At least I thought I could.

Multi-tasking was a given. Getting hubby off to work after a nourishing breakfast…seeing my daughter onto the bus headed for school…household chores…grocery shopping and other errands…yard work…classroom volunteering…chauffeuring my budding ballerina to dance classes…meals to make…laundry to do…bedtime stories with which to settle in.

Thank goodness hubby loved to play so he and our daughter could do their thing every chance they could. I never got over my childhood habit of…work before play. With 7 sisters to do most of the work around their house, my husband and his 4 brothers were “boys of leisure.” From what I saw when we were dating, they didn’t even make their beds…at least not my husband.

That’s not to minimize playtime, however. I was extremely glad my hubby liked playing with our daughter. Otherwise, that would’ve been one more thing on my “to do list.” And if that were the case, I’m sure it wouldn’t have felt like fun to my toddler if I clocked how much time I had to sit around playing games.

I even explained to the school counselor during kindergarten orientation how I would prefer my child have a teacher more akin to my husband than me. Would you believe I even teared up about it? I was adamant about not wanting someone geared toward the three R’s…reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic….and nothing else. My daughter would get enough of that kind of discipline at home…from me.

So over the years as a stay-at-home mom, I assumed control over an empire…my empire. Even when the “king” returned home to his “castle,” I was still in charge…on the quiet, of course. I feigned homage to my lord and liege.

We moms know who manipulates the strings behind this real life puppet show. Don’t we ladies?

For 45 years, even after we became empty-nesters…almost 11 years now, I ruled the roost. Although as this monarch aged the job was no longer a cinch. Not that it ever was. It’s just that I’m not as adept at  keeping all the balls in the air anymore. It’s more like I’m rolling the balls along a gravely path. And it’s getting gravelier every year. Trust me. One of these days it’s going to seem as though I’m rolling those balls straight uphill.

The last several years I rationalized my loss of get-up-and-go to doing quality work. Doing one or two tasks a day was just fine. At least that’s what I told myself. Meanwhile dust collected. I could no longer see my reflection in the wood floors. Not that I ever could. But they were better than they are now, that’s for sure. A few more days went by before I did the laundry. I bought more underwear to tide us over.

I could chalk it up to my having an under-active thyroid, which I learned about during a visit to a naturopath. Thankfully, that’s been resolved.

Working thyroid or not, getting old slowed me down. I can’t do half of what I use to do, more like a third, on my best days. And I sure as heck can’t move between the house and the yard without breaking a sweat. Don’t get me wrong, it was never a breeze. Just more doable. These days the weeds live in harmony with the flowers. That way, the jack rabbits…yeah, they’re no longer cute, little bunnies…can graze on something other than my prized plants, lovingly hand-picked and bought with hard-earned dinero.

So what’s my point?

Yesterday I decided to skip out on an appointment with the designer who was stopping by to discuss window coverings for our newly remodeled, downstairs master bedroom suite. After almost 3 months as project manager and all that entails…on top of my normal routine…on top of nursing our beloved dog who eventually passed, and a loving cat who almost died from some mystery ailment…and on top of 3 weeks in Nashville literally helping my daughter get back on her feet after back-to-back surgeries…my vintage locomotive of a body finally went kaput! My brain gave in and decided we should all take a mini vacation. So I did. I drove to Home Goods, a subsidiary of the retailer Marshalls, and left my house in the very capable hands of my recently semi-retired husband.

Going over what we’d decided to install on the windows, I opted out deciding I’d live with whatever technicalities the designer and my other half finalized. It felt really, really good to relinquish control. My husband could grill the designer on her credentials as far as the installation went. After all she doesn’t work for the manufacturer, so her information is second-hand. More than that, she had to prove to my husband that what she was selling was worth every penny of his money. She knew my aesthetics; she’d never dealt with his budgetary consciousness…first hand. I did. Convincing him to spend the money was a job in itself. Of course, I knew the right buttons to press. Like “It’ll only increase the resale value of our house.” That’s always a good one. Fastest way to get him to open up his checkbook. Not that he’s ever “fast on the draw,” just not “slow like molasses.”

butterfly-garden-4For a couple of hours I felt as though I was floating along on a cloud…free as a…butterfly. No worries. No cares other than looking at what was in front of me…a wall rack for the laundry room doubling as a gift-wrapping station…decorative waste baskets…a piece of art for the bedroom. When hubby joined me later I showed him what I had in my shopping cart. He pointed out things I’d not thought about which made me change my mind, returning some of the items to their shelves. Made me feel good too, having someone else make decisions, however small.

I felt so calm and refreshed that hubby and I wound up having a date night. We walked to nearby AJE restaurant, dining on Japanese food, a favorite of ours. Not having been to the movies in a while, we decided to stop at a nearby Regal Theatre to see The Avengers Age of Ultron. We both dozed off, unbeknownst to one another, near the beginning of the film. Hubby said he awoke and saw me asleep. We didn’t miss much, however, since most action films are primarily about the actors annihilating one another, or trying to at least. It was good not having to think about anything…except the good guys smashing the bad guys to smithereens.

Today I was back on the job. MothsO125As project manager I oversaw last minute details…where to hang mirrors, artwork, vintage pieces and chandeliers.

I never know how purchased items are going to look once in place. I have some idea, based upon pictures and customer reviews. However it isn’t until I see a piece in place will I know if it works as I imagined, or not. Take the massive metal chandelier I bought online to hang over the end of our king-sized bed. I thought it would hang 24″ low. Not until the electrician was up on a ladder, fixture in hand, did I learn that my gorgeous chandelier would block most of our view of the newly minted porcelain tile fireplace with gas insert, as we lay in bed. It was me and my woman’s intuition going up against the practical mindset of 3 men, including my husband and our contractor.

I’m delighted to admit…the men won! What got me over to their side? The electrician saying “If the chandelier isn’t hung as a flush mount, then the only other option is that it hangs 34″ from the ceiling. In that case, what you’ll be looking at while sitting in bed is the light glaring out at you from the chandelier.” That made total sense, so I relinquished control of that debate.

I think I’m going to like having the men in my life take back control…

…as long as i agree. 

………hugmamma. butterfly-world

A Butterfly Companion

…beautifully written…of cherished pets…and loved ones…and our insecurities…real or imagined…
………hugmamma.

rachelmankowitz

Butterfly flits around like a ladybug. I always think she should be wearing ballet slippers and a tutu, the way she twirls and flies. She is gossamer. Her wings are so ethereal that they are almost invisible. Almost.

My Butterfly My Butterfly

She doesn’t seem to be like any other dog I’ve known. I’m used to moody dogs, dogs with personality problems, dogs who use guilt to push me around, dogs who could be diagnosed using the DSM V. But Butterfly is a different. She poops and barks and begs for treats, yes, but she’s also untouchable in a way, so sweet as to be unreal.

"Gimme some sugar!" “Gimme some sugar!”

In a way her butterfly-ness is upsetting, because she is always a bit out of reach. Cricket will jump on me and curl up on my chest, or my hip, while I’m sleeping. She scratches me and shrieks in my ear. She is…

View original post 576 more words

not a football fan…

…normally. However, Russell Wilson and his Seattle Seahawk team mates could definitely steer me towards becoming one.

Unlike my husband and daughter, I’ve no stomach for watching guys body slamming in order to make off with the football…and the game. However, there’s an added element of anxiety in the case of our Super Bowl heroes.

I hate to see them lose!!!

Obviously I’m not alone in this, but for me it’s like I’m Russell Wilson’s mom or something. I can’t bear to see him fall from grace, if you will.

For one thing the guy’s small to be playing pro football, only 5’11. That’s my husband’s height, for heaven’s sake! And the fact that Wilson’s the quarterback, the guy calling the shots on the field, is quite a feather in his cap.

It’s hard to believe Wilson was the 75th pick in the third round selection. The Seahawks soon discovered what he was made of though, promoting him to their main quarterback shortly after hiring him.

His mom must be bursting with pride. She must also be pretty scared every time he gets squashed by a 6’5″, 250+ pounder coming at him.

Holy moly! I’d be wound up tighter than a ball of string if I were Wilson’s mom.

What impresses me about Wilson apart from his uncanny ability on the football field, including the smarts to shift gears in the moment, is his seeming humility off the field. Not that I’ve witnessed it in person, but from what comes across on TV he seems disinclined to hog the limelight, preferring to credit others with their fair share of the glory.

Like other professional athletes serving as role models in their communities, Wilson is involved in charitable work.

Wilson is an active volunteer in the Seattle community. During the NFL season, Wilson makes weekly visits on his days off to the Seattle Children’s Hospital, and has also visited with soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.[19][119] In the offseason, Wilson hosts the Russell Wilson Passing Academy, a youth football camp, in several cities. In 2012, proceeds from the camp went to the Charles Ray III Diabetes Association, for which Wilson is the National Ambassador.[120][121][122] Since 2013, Wilson has partnered with Russell Investments for its “Invested with Russell” program, which donates $3,000 to Wilson’s charitable foundation for every touchdown he scores.[123]

Wilson co-hosted a charity golf event along with NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum, Washington in June 2014 which raised over $220,000 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Not without his own baggage, however, Wilson is divorced from his long-time sweetheart after only two-years of marriage.

Perhaps what sets Russell Wilson apart from many black, superstar athletes is the fact that he wasn’t the product of inner city violence and family dysfunction. According to Wikipedia…

Wilson was born in Cincinnati, Ohio[13] and grew up in Richmond, Virginia, the son of Harrison Benjamin Wilson III, a lawyer, and Tammy T. Wilson, a legal nurse consultant.[14][15][16] He has an older brother, Harrison IV, and a younger sister, Anna.[17] Wilson started playing football with his dad and brother at the age of four.[14]

His racial background is mostly African American, though he also has some Native American ancestry.[18] His great-great-grandfather was a slave to aConfederate colonel and was freed after the American Civil War.[19] Wilson’s grandfather, Harrison B. Wilson Jr., is a former president of Norfolk State Universitywho played football and basketball at Kentucky State University. His father played football and baseball at Dartmouth and was a wide receiver for the San Diego Chargers preseason squad in 1980. Wilson’s brother played football and baseball at the University of Richmond, and his sister is considered one of the top high school basketball prospects in the country.[20][21][22]

Wilson’s father died on June 9, 2010 at age 55 due to complications from diabetes.

Just like any mom, I’m hoping Wilson continues to do himself proud. I’d like to think his solid upbringing will always be there guiding him through thick and thin.

I pray the morals he learned as a youngster never abandons Wilson, allowing him to fall prey to the overwhelming materialism that ensnares so many in professional sports.

I guess I’m just a proud mama.

…even if i’m not russell wilson’s. 

………hugmamma.

(Wikipedia photo)

 

there’s no quitting this job…

…full-time parent.

For those of you on the verge of diving into parenthood, be prepared to go the long haul. Once that little bundle of joy enters your life, there’s no chance for a do-over.

If all the stars in the universe are aligned in your favor then I say…go for it! However if you’re not in a secure frame of mind where you think you can do this job, then I’d say wait until you are. Another year or two can make a dramatic difference in how well you perform this lifelong task.

No joke! As a parent, you’re employment is guaranteed for life. There’s no retirement when you’re 65. There’s no “golden parachute” of benefits and monetary compensation for decades of stellar performance.

When I signed on as a parent, I was 36. In 1986, I was probably teetering on the brink of acceptance as an older mom. No one wagged a finger in my face as if to say “Well! It’s about time!” Although my younger sisters-in-law had broods of little ones long before me.

Married for 16 years, my husband and I had come to accept that we might never conceive. While I never discussed the possibility of adoption with him, it had entered my mind. I wasn’t prepared to jump through hoops to get pregnant. I would have been stressed, and my unborn child would have felt the impact of my being on an emotional roller coaster.

Jubilant when we got the news that I was finally “with child,” my mood eventually disintegrated into worry over my sanity at being home alone with a newborn. After all, I’d been on a career track for most of my adult life. I’d even contemplated entering law school since I enjoyed my job as a paralegal for a major airline in New York City.

Women are in a unique position when we find ourselves pregnant. We must decide the rest of OUR lives when a child enters the picture. We must incorporate a totally dependent creature into whatever it is we’ve been doing until that point.

It’s like trying to fit 500 extra pieces into a thousand-piece puzzle!

Somehow we manage to stretch ourselves to include more time, more energy, more mental capacity for juggling, more emotional stamina, more backbone for confrontation.

All this while bulking up our softer, gentler side.

We must strive for more patience, become skilled listeners, refrain from nagging, dispense appropriate portions of praise and criticism, appease the disgruntled, soothe the weary, uplift the downtrodden, heal the wounded.

Our call now and then to be the “hostess-with-the mostest” is super-sized to that of Social Coordinator-In-Charge-Of-Everything. Overnight we morph into taxi-drivers, sleep-over monitors, committee chairmen, teaching assistants, Brownie leaders, cheerleaders, snack-time volunteers, costume designers, seamstresses, referees, nurses. The list goes on.

If desired, you could be on-call 24 hours a day. Just don’t expect to be paid like a doctor.

Why in the heck, then, would any, fun-loving, devil-may-care, free-wheeling couple want to tie themselves down with kids?

Because the rewards are as overwhelming as the myriad of duties that go along with being a parent. That’s why!

Yes, there are the acclaims and congratulations when my daughter achieves what might seem impossible to others. And there are the compliments of a job well done from friends and strangers alike. However nothing compares with the love and admiration of the child you’ve nurtured from womb to adulthood.

When my daughter says “I love you,” there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s heartfelt. When we laugh until our sides ache and tears stream down our cheeks, we are bff’s…best friends forever. In that moment, the reward of being a mom is the greatest.

Who knew I would give birth to my very own best girlfriend?

The journey’s not easy. It’s laden with pitfalls, like broken hearts and car accidents. Worrying becomes second-nature. Sacrificing goes without saying. Relaxing is a thing of the past. Considered last is normal.

One day though our children become adults, and they turn to us for help in navigating the challenges of everyday life. It’s then that our validation as parents is complete, even though…

…our job isn’t.

………hugmamma.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/editing-challenge/

 

 

 

 

 

 

nurturing thursdays: we are the result…

…of our upbringing. “That’s the unvarnished truth,” as some literary folk might say. Plain…yet not so simple.

Biographies, for me, are a treasure trove of personal information. It’s like mining for gold that I’m never prepared to find. I always know I’ll glean greater understanding of the human spirit, but I’m like a child opening that unexpected gift on Christmas morning when I find buried among the pages of someone else’s life a particular truth that resonates within myself.

One weekend morning as I sat at my mom’s feet clipping her toenails, a ritual begun at her behest, she casually informed me that I had been unwanted…a mistake. I was probably 9 or 10 at the time. I’m pretty sure my reaction was mild, more one of curiosity than anything else. She told me she didn’t want a ninth child so she did what she could to abort me naturally. Naively, she thought spending hours in the ocean would somehow rid her of my fetus. And perhaps more on the mark, she’d down lots of soy sauce in the hopes I wouldn’t survive.

As you can see, I’m still alive. However, the seed of self doubt was probably planted within my psyche that sunny day, long ago.

Parenting is like a magic trick. If done right, we are applauded for our skill at making something so difficult look…so easy. If we go awry, eyebrows are raised, tongues click and refrains of “she’s a bad parent” are doled out mercilessly.

Because of my own childhood experience, I’m particularly sensitive to the influence of parents upon those whose biographies I read. And as you might guess, not one of them leaves home without taking some of their parents’ baggage along with them.

Gary Cooper, whose biography I’m currently reading, was forever devoted to his mother. Trying to please her and keep her happy meant juggling her high opinion of him, while being romantically involved with scores of women his entire life. Of the dozens who met mama, only one or two scored a home run. Unfortunately, they didn’t last long with a man who was enamored of all women, and felt sexually empowered to bed the lot of them.

Mary Astor, never one of my favorites, was a particularly interesting read. Her immigrant, German father, a stage parent if there ever was one, railroaded her acting career from its inception. Her beauty and fledgling talent inspired him to quit his job and move with his wife and daughter, first to Chicago and then to New York, in search of his dream to be rich. Eventually he struck gold in Hollywood where he set up house entirely at his daughter’s expense, both economically and emotionally. She became an alcoholic, fell in and out of abusive relationships, weathered financial ruin, and hit “rock bottom” many times. Discovering God later in life helped Astor out of the hell that had been her life until then.

John Kennedy could have been so much more, in my estimation, had his parents been less self-absorbed. Joseph Kennedy, Sr. was a man driven to overcome his humble beginnings. His natural savvy for besting the next man would bring him wealth, and with that, power in high places. He bought the presidency for his son, and the perfect wife to be First Lady. What the senior Kennedy could never fully render however, was the approval his presidential son had sought ever since he was born into the shadow of older brother, Joseph Kennedy, Jr. What was meant for him only fell to JFK upon his brother’s death.

And what of Kennedy’s mother, Rose? Not allowed to divorce her husband, notorious for his philandering, she complied with the mandates of her mayoral father and her Catholic faith by devoting herself to God, while neglecting the emotional needs of her many offspring. She had a small cottage built towards the back of the main house on the family’s Hyannisport compound. There, the mother would often retreat to find comfort in God. It was also a common practice of both parents to be away from their children, each one going his and her separate way to find pleasure. Rose shopped abroad; Joe Sr. caroused with Hollywood starlets, most famously with Gloria Swanson. She was even amazed at his wife’s tolerance when he invited Swanson along on a European vacation cruise.

It was Richard Nixon’s Quaker mother who instilled in her son the ambition to excel…always. And as history can attest, he never, ever lost that desire to drive the political conversation…much to the chagrin of his wife, Pat. Resigning the presidency before his second term even got underway was a hard lesson learned. Nixon’s resiliency, however, brought him a modicum of success in his comeback as an elder statesman on the world stage.

 I could go on, but you get my drift.

What I continue to learn through these biographies is that parents were children once who thrived, and suffered, at the hands of their parents. We’re really no different from any other species in that we’re all just trying to survive in an alien world. We use whatever resources are available to eke out a life for ourselves as best we can. For humans, those resources include psychogenic ones instilled through the generations. Parents beget children who become…parents who beget children…and so on…and so on. 

So where does the blame lie when children lead miserable lives? Nowhere really. It’s so easy to point a finger, but it’s just as fitting to turn that finger toward oneself.

We don’t have to continue on within the confines of the lives in which we were swaddled since birth. We can change out our “soiled linens” for fresh ones that have been aired out in the sunshine and smells of the scent of a new day. It’s up to us to make up a new bed…

…in which we can rest peacefully…and happily.

………hugmamma.

i hope you dance…

Early this morning, 4:30 a.m. to be exact, my husband drove our daughter to the airport for her flight to Toronto at 6:55 a.m. She’s off on a whirlwind tour of job auditions. After a couple of days in Canada, she heads to Chicago for a week of dance classes at a prominent studio where she will also audition for a position with the resident company. From there she heads to Atlanta where she’ll take classes with a company with whom she might want to work.

There’s a sign hanging in our dining room which reads I Hope You Dance. It’s occupied the same space for quite some time. Regardless of the changing decor to suit the seasons, that sign stays put. It reminds me, and my daughter, that as long as she has a passion for her art my husband and I will do everything we can to support her. 

It takes a lot on all our parts for my daughter to realize all she desires with respect to her profession. She must continually hone her talent and skills; and we, her parents, must be willing to pick up the slack financially. As long as she continues to draw the attention of people at the top in dance, we feel she has a shot at doing what she wants, where she wants, for as long as she wants. Because of our faith in her, we’re willing to forgo luxuries for ourselves in order to sustain our daughter’s dream of dancing until her body gives out or her passion for performing wanes.

What greater gift can we give ourselves than to have our daughter push past obstacles time and again to occupy the place God meant her to have on His earth?

Since neither of us was born into the lap of luxury, my being the youngest of 9 and my husband being the eldest of 12, we want for very little as adults. The fact that our daughter blest our marriage after 16 years is a miracle for which we have never ceased being grateful. That we can celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is a gift that keeps on giving.

As any parent of an athlete intent upon making his or her sport a lifetime commitment will tell you…it ain’t easy. I talk to myself, a lot. I argue both sides of every issue. Of course I’m always prejudiced in favor of my daughter. What parent isn’t? Nevertheless I also look at the greater picture and I never, ever ignore reality. At the same time, I choose my words carefully so as not to snuff out the flame that burns within my daughter’s heart for what she loves. And I always remember that she’s an adult, almost 28. She must live her own life. If my husband and I support her endeavors it’s a choice we make freely…no strings attached. Ever.

The greatest lesson I learned as a result of both my mother’s and my mother-in-law’s parenting is to never expect anything in return for what I give my daughter freely and willingly.

My mom’s love came with an entire flotilla of spider webs; my mother-in-law’s love welcomed me back time and again like a sparkling, refreshing fountain from which I could drink whenever I thirsted.

My daughter probably saw both tutus (Hawaiian for “grandma”) a little more than a handful of times. Her fondest memories are of my mother-in-law. Of my own mom, my daughter retains sketchy remembrances of a depressed, frustrated old woman.

Because my mom was all I had growing up, my love for her cannot be severed. She and I shared one another’s lives the longest, most of my older brothers and sisters having left home while still young to make their own way in the world. So while I don’t condone how I was raised, I don’t fault my mom for doing what she needed to survive after my dad died. I only knew that my own daughter was going to go her own way with all the love and support I could muster.

And whatever she does with her own life……is for her to keep…or share as she sees fit. Knowing her as well as I do, I’m certain…

…she’ll always share her life and her God-given gifts…without reservation…

………hugmamma.

...one of my favorite shots of my precious daughter...by martin o'connor photography

…one of my favorite shots of my precious daughter…by martin o’connor photography

daily prompt: michelangelo’s you

My personal sculpture would be one that’s been in the carving process the last 27 years.

Even now tweaks are made,

updating the piece,

bringing it ever nearer to perfection,

realizing that may never be accomplished,

and being fine with that.

A mom…

…giving without question,

…expecting little in return,

…loving the shared moments,

…of laughter, sadness, doubts, fulfillment.

Upon my headstone…

…she was the best she could be…

………hugmamma.

Michelangelo

 

helicopters…

WikiWorld comic based on the article "Hel...

What do those whirlybirds in the sky have to do with parenting? Well, according to those in the know…evidently self-proscribed experts on the matter…helicopter parenting applies to those of us who forever hover over our children seemingly to fashion all their decisions about…well…everything.

Some who know me, and some who don’t, might think I’m a helicopter parent. As they say…”sticks and stones…” Although I must confess…I’m not completely immune to hurtful words. However as I said to my daughter when some other child would say something unkind…”It’s her problem, not yours. She’s trying to put her unhappiness onto you.”

Folks insecure in themselves tend to insist that their’s is the only way.

I can only speak for myself and offer my experiences as guidelines that others might choose to utilize. But I’m no expert on someone else’s life, that’s for sure. I don’t know where they came from…and I don’t know where they’re going. I’m only a pit stop along the way. And as we all know, there are various and sundry other pit stops from which we can gain sustenance and momentary reprieve.

I’m not familiar with any helicopter parents, probably because my daughter has been living on the opposite side of the country from us the last 11 years. It’s rather difficult to hover from 3,000 miles. I’m sure I’d have crash landed by now. 

Yes, my husband and I have offered our daughter advice on a whole host of topics…from drinking and driving…to being aware of her surroundings when she’s out alone at night. No, we haven’t told her who she should befriend or how she should spend her free time. We figure she’s learned by our example…and from what we’ve been saying since the day she could understand the English language. In other words…we’ve laid the foundation for what we hope is an upstanding citizen. Someone who cares about herself and others, and who shares her talents and abilities with her community.

I believe parents need to know who their children are, and toward that end need not be afraid to ask.

Bubbles.

 Having given birth to my child, I feel a basic responsibility for her well-being. No one else, other than her father, has that physical connection. Others may choose to be responsible for my daughter, but the obligation is mine and my husband’s. We brought this human being into the world, so we are charged with making sure she has a fighting chance at survival.

I cannot imprison my daughter in a bubble. I kid you not. Sometimes I wish it were that easy. I cannot physically safeguard her from the crazies of the world…the rapists…the kidnappers…the drunk-drivers…the manipulators…the screamers…the stupid boyfriends…and married men who hit on her. I wish I could pistol whip some of them! Not that I’d know how to hold a gun were I to get my hands on one.

Thankfully my daughter has grown very comfortably into her own skin. She listens very respectfully to what I might have to say…and does what feels organic for her. And I’m so grateful she does. As she’s aged she’s become the teacher…and I’ve become an unwitting…student. Funny, how the roles are often reversed between parents and children.

It might be said that my daughter is beginning to exhibit signs of a helicopter. She worries that if I fall at home…no one will hear me. So she’s thinking of getting me that device advertised on TV where the old woman who falls tells the person on the other end of the call…”Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!

…a little whirrring…and worrying…is a good thing…

………hugmamma.IMG_4648

a look back…at new beginnings…

We spent a few hours with our nephew and his wife last evening. They’d invited us over to their newly purchased home for dinner.

Touring the house, my husband, daughter and I “oohed” and “aahed” at all the details of their modest, yet spacious, first major expense. I say modest because it was definitely not over-the-top. Rather it was a typical, late 60s, split-level…living, dining, kitchen, bedrooms and bath on the top floor…family room on the lower level. The piece-de-resistance was the enormous back yard with a fire pit.

IMG_5001What made the home special was our nephew and niece. Watching them throughout the course of the evening, I couldn’t help but be reminded of another couple, back when they first started their lives together some 42 years ago.

My husband and I connected in much the same way…deferring to one another…finishing each other’s sentences…sharing glances that spoke volumes…respecting each other’s contributions to the meal and to their lives together.

For a few hours I felt blest to be reliving those wondrous, youthful years when my husband and I began “playing house.” The excitement of planning the use of rooms, buying new furniture, deciding what to plant outdoors, meeting the neighbors…making our mark as a newly minted twosome…living as one.

It’s nice that our nephew and niece chose to live nearby, perhaps a 20 minute drive from us, if that. We’ve lived so long on the mainland, away from family, that having relatives in the area is a welcome change. Not that we’ll be on their doorstep every weekend. That’s just not our style. We respect that young folks have their lives to forge, while my husband and I have grown accustomed to our way of doing things…and not doing things.

If there’s one thing I learned growing up with a mom who seemed to always want to be the center of my life, even when I became a wife and mother, is that love shouldn’t smother.

Love should be given freely…with no strings attached, ever.  Only then is love returned freely, and in such abundance that one’s heart is near bursting.

I may not be an expert on many things, but I am when it comes to…

…loving someone with my whole heart…IMG_0594

………hugmamma.

sunshine…in my heart

I may live in an area where skies are gray more months than I care to admit…10 out of 12.IMG_1705

I may get rained upon more often than I’d like.

The cold may chill me right down to my bones, activating my arthritis…big time.

My garden and I may not keep company as much as we’d like…the weeds love it…as do the bunny rabbits and deer.

Walking Mocha isn’t as much fun when it’s wet…for me.

The upside is…and there’s always an upside…I can hibernate and not feel guilty about it!

Screenshot of Tyrone Power from the trailer fo...

Screenshot of Tyrone Power from the trailer for the film Alexander’s Ragtime Band (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can watch TCM‘s oldies but goodies…give me Tyrone Power and Maureen O’Hara…any day of the week.

Turning on all the lights in the house brings the sunshine indoors.

Cuddling with my pets is something we all like.

Warming my innards with a cup of hot tea and dunking ginger cookies to nibble upon…well! could life get any better?

But in my bag of tricks there’s one precious item that never allows me to descend into the doldrums. It is the sunshine that I hold within my heart all year round…my daughter!

I celebrate Mother’s Day… 365 days a year. 

And as I use to do when she was a child…I sing this lullaby to her…

You are my sunshine,

my only sunshine,

you make me happy,

when skies are gray.

You’ll never know dear,

how much I love you.

Please don’t take my sunshine away.

My prayer for you who are also mothers is that you are blest with…

…everlasting sunshine too!!!…Imported Photos 00065

………hugmamma. 

cut from the same cloth…

Someone paid me the nicest compliment early this morning and literally made my day.

The unexpected bouquet of fragrant words was sent me by a perfect stranger…Don.

After the slew of emails we recently exchanged, I can’t really call him a stranger. I can, however, call him perfect…a perfect host.

English: Times Square

English: Times Square (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our family has decided to spend some time in The Big Apple this summer.

Rather than pay exorbitant hotel prices, we’re renting Don’s vacation hideaway. The decision to do so was not lightly made. But then again I never, ever do anything…lightly.

I researched all the angles as though my life depended upon it, or at the very least, as though I were aiming for an A+ on a college term paper.

For every answer Don gave me, I had at least 3 more questions. We were burning up the internet, with me splitting hairs over every minute detail.

Don was either desperate for my business or Heaven help him…he actually liked me! And that’s when he let slip those priceless words.

“You remind me of my mother, and that’s not a bad thing.”

I adopted the man on the spot! Well…not until he admitted that he was younger than me…49 to my soon-to-be 64.

The moral of the story? Be yourself. Someone might just like you that way. And if not? It’s got nothing to do with you. It’s their perception that’s skewed. You’re fine…just the way you are.

…i know i am…my husband and daughter told me so…but even if they didn’t…

…i’m just fine…

………hugmamma.

superior to all…servant to all

Words uttered by an actress in the role of Mother Superior to actress Deborah Kerr, a nun venturing forth to serve a mountaintop community in Tibet. An unlikely place to find words appropro in describing my recently deceased mother-in-law. However her eldest son, my husband, likewise referenced an old film, It’s A Wonderful Life, in eulogizing his mom.

(Photo credit to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It’s_a_Wonderful_Life )

He likened her to Jimmy Stewart’s character who, though just a common man, figured greatly into the lives of those in Bedford Falls. Given the opportunity to view life had he not been born, Stewart realizes his invaluable service to others. He chooses life with the help of his guardian angel Clarence, who garners himself a pair of wings in the process.

My husband ended his remarks with an aside to his mom…”You got your wings, mom.”

Superior to all…though definitely not by her own admission.

Mom, a homemaker with no college education, held court around her small, formica, kitchen table, in a house whose walls remained in place because never-ending armies of termites “held hands” as generations of family members went about their business of daily living.

Now that mom is gone from her humble abode, the termites will likely meet their demise when the house is leveled by a buyer intent upon rebuilding to his or her own liking. I hope the resulting dream home brings its occupants as much happiness as was previously enjoyed in the house held together by termites.

Serving without question and with unconditional love…her husband, her children, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren, and all those with whom she came into contact, my mother-in-law unknowingly mounted the ladder rung, by rung to…superiority…in God’s estimation…and ours.

…all those whose lives are better…for having known her…

………hugmamma.  🙂  🙂  🙂