Saturday, May 10, 2014

My Mom

I don't remember the last Mother's Day I spent with my mom. It's been way too many years. Somewhere in the world of being a mom, being a daughter became second fiddle.  There are so many times I wish I could do more for my mom.  She is the first to tell me, I gotta take care of the kids and myself first. Because as a mom, that's what you do, you make sure your kids are ok first.

Mother-daughter relationships are complex and ours is no different. It has morphed over the years from complacent to volatile to quiet understanding. It's always backed by love. My mom, being my mom was the best model for mothering.  I am the person, the woman, the mother I am because of her. She is human. She makes mistakes. She loves. She hurts. She creates. She picks up pieces and moves on, over and over and over. She is a survivor. She is absolutely crazy. But each passing year, I understand her crazy so much more. I am to her crazy as my kids are to mine, it's all part of the crazy mothering package.

Being a mom Is swooping in and saving the day when squirt thinks they can handle it but is drowning. It is also letting them flounder the precise amount required for them to gain an appreciation for their limitations. Being a mom is seeing your charms and your flaws flaunted in front of you daily, sometimes hourly. Being a mom is the most helpless and the most empowering position ever.  Being a mom means your heart, soul and entire being are wandering around outside of your body.  Most days they are doing it wrong which makes you feel like you are mothering wrong. Yet every now and again, there are the glimpses of the amazing beings they are, the good they can accomplish shines through and in those moments you know you did something very right. In those moments I realize how many things my mom did right and I am thankful.

In times when film was expensive and memories were sharp, she 'd tell me to take pictures in my head. And we would stop and have a moment and take our pictures in our minds. But also in those moments were sharing something just for  us. Just being. Appreciating. We had nothing to take back and share but our memories.  The pictures in my mind sit there waiting for their stories to be told. They are there because of my mom.

Over the years things have been broken and lost. Mom would say they are just things, things can be replaced, you can not be. She taught me through this the true value of right, wrong, friendship and love. I was not careless with objects because they could be replaced, I placed them on a scale of worthiness. I remember pictures with burnt edges, stories of wedding gifts lost in a fire in my parents first year together, the items salvaged just what did not burn. The experience of loss framing her mindset and lessons passed to me.

There were years of stress and self inflicted pressure to be the best. Many tearful nights of sitting at the kitchen table with mom making lists. To this day she asks me - did you make a list? When Lily got sick, we went over the list of pros and cons of chemo. When I got sick we revisited them. As she gets older, I see these lists all around her. Lists for memory instead of necessity. I have books of lists,shopping lists,mental lists of dreams. But the lists that matter are the lists we keep and most of those she made with me.

My mom taught me to trust my gut. To be patient and hurry up. She taught me there is always more to people than what you see. You have to be just be who you are and sometime just BE. I can read because of her patience and I write because of her encouragement. She still calls when she just has a feeling, and usually that feeling is right. The feeling is that your child needs you and I've learned to trust that feeling too. Contrary to years of protest, my mother was right about so many things. Hardly a day goes by that I don't hear her leaping from my mouth.

Over the years I've learned lessons she tried to teach me when I was young. When I was too busy to stop and truly listen, too busy having fun. But I am grateful now for the lessons and the experiences learning them taught. Because now I know when my kids don't listen, it isn't all for naught. I turned out ok and they will too, because I know I love them as much as she loves me. I will pass along all of the lessons and someday they will see.

So on this Mother's Day, even though I cannot be with my mom I know I am where I need to be and she understands. I hope she knows that on this Mother's Day I understand a little bit more and appreciate her a whole lot. I love you mom!

1 comment:

  1. Honey, thank you for being you and for being mine. I am the luckiest mom and grandma and that is because of you. I love you. Hugs.


Lily Kay Monkey

Lily Kay Monkey
November 2008 Photographed by Shelley Detton (7 Layer Studio)