Happy Mother’s Day

Struggling to make sense of your relationship with your mother is a tale almost as old as time itself, isn’t it?

I have good news for those of you who are still in the midst of the struggle: there may come a time when you don’t.

I know it’s possible.

My mother and I have a mutual respect and a deeper love for each other, now, than I ever thought possible.

She means more to me than I could ever have imagined she would.  Much more.

That, in and of itself, is a gift of epic proportions.

So, to my mama…

Mama, I know that Ahab often gets the credit for instilling a love of The Ocean in us kids. But, I give a lot of that credit to you, too. It was you who packed us up, religiously, each and every Saturday, to head to the beach for the day. You, along with the three other mothers in our Beach Family, and enough cold tuna noodle casserole, Cheezits, and Crystal Light Iced Tea to feed an entire classroom full of children, would herd us 8 children into vans and onto the hot sand with promises of hours of unfettered free time.

I felt the most free when we were at the beach each Saturday.  You allowed me to run and swim and play and eat Cheezits until you thought I’d turn into one. And, although I now understand (OH, how I understand!) that in doing so, you also were getting some much needed breathing room yourself, I never felt more loved on than when you would allow me to just be me at the beach.  There were no comments of being ladylike, eating less, or being more like so-and-so. No. None of that. You packed us up and took us to the place where we could all get out and blow the stink off.  And you showed your love in that one act.

I am so grateful for your willingness to take us out there for fresh air and sunshine.

Grilled cheese sandwiches, with the cheese blackened on the top, are still a favorite of mine to this day.  Those and the chicken noodle soup that always accompanied it, were the only things I really remember about the times I was sick. And, I remember you lovingly (and maybe with more than a hint of frustration on the tenth and twentieth times) putting the socks back on my hands, to keep me from scratching at the chicken pox that covered my body when I was six.

I am so grateful for your tender loving care.

And I also look back on all of your attempts to take us on mother-daughter trips with a softer perspective. You desperately wanted me to want to go – shopping, out to lunch, to a movie. I can see, now, that you really just wanted us to have opportunities to do things together.

And, I’m so grateful that you tried.

I love you mama.  It took me an awful long time to realize that I am, indeed, blessed to call you “Mom”. And I want you to know how much I look forward to every new memory we carve out together in the future.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Do Something Fun

Barely able to contain her excitement at mama’s reaction, I watched my Sweetgirl out of the corner of my eye, yesterday, as I opened her Mother’s Day gift to me.  I unwrapped a lovingly made preschool painted print of her hand as a tree and her fingerprints as the flowers. Beautiful.  Then, I unrolled this interview paper:

Roo_Interview_PreK_Missindeedy

I’m thrilled beyond belief to know that I’m still in my first decade of life, and that she recognized my deep and abiding love for ice cream. However, do you see that arrow up there on the left?  I had to work so stinkin’ hard not to cry when I got to that line.

Immediately, I started wondering what mental image, of me, my children will take into their adulthood’s.  “She doesn’t do anything for fun.”? OUCH!

Oh, how I want them to remember that mama did indeed have fun doing this most difficult and important job. Most of all? I want them to recall a mother who enjoyed being their mama.

The word “intentional” comes to mind here.  If that is truly how I want to shape their memories, then I do believe I’m going to have to do a little less of the head-down-finger-dance on the keyboard and a little more of this:

boogie_board_missindeedyThat is my mothering goal, moving forward.  It turns out that my Mother’s Day gift was a lesson.   One I’ve heard before, but clearly forgotten.

“Good, better, best;never let it rest.
Until your best is better, and your better is your best.”

If you’ll excuse me,  it’s time to go do something fun.

Be a mama to the two sweetest kidlets I know.

Yes indeedy.

Have You Called Your Mother?

Mother_Call_Her_Missindeedy

The Nana and I have fought, and hard, for our relationship over these last 40 some-odd years.  It’s been worth it.

Where we are now?  It’s a good place.

There was a period of time, an altogether-too-long period of years, where my mama would be the last person I’d call for advice, comfort, or inspiration to carry on.   Is that a harsh thing for some of you mothers to read?  I’m sorry.  It is a true story.  One that, I hope, makes what I write next, about my mom, all the sweeter.

Ours is a relationship redemption story, if there ever was one.

Walking down that road of pending motherhood, I realized that all of these hopes and dreams that I had for my own sweet children, were tied up tightly with every fiber of my being. And that was a frightening revelation, a scary prospect, and a depressing way to behold the future of my children. Does that make sense to some of you? The thought overpowered me that, “I was only going to be able to do the best that I could with what I had.”

Sadness permeated my heart at that thought, followed by no small amount of resentment.  I didn’t feel like my mother had prepared me for this mighty job that I now had.

And, at that point in our relationship, I didn’t feel that I could or would ask her for her help. Nor did I think, for a moment, that she would have any constructive or encouraging words of wisdom to share.

Redemption sometimes comes unexpectedly. As I lay with my firstborn nursing him in the wee hours one morning, it dawned on me that my mama truly did do the very best that she could with what she had.

That brought a softening to my heart.  And, ultimately, opened the door to some Grand Scale Healing in our relationship.

Is it sunshine and unicorns now?

Nope.

It is progress.  And Love.  It’s a blooming friendship built on the hope of continued trust and a committment to slather on the grace whenever and wherever.  It’s all of these things, and so many more, wrapped up together to strengthen the fibers of my being.

And, hopefully, hers too.

Now?  I do ask her. All the time, it seems, I ask her what she thinks I should do, could I have handled this better, which outfit should I wear to this event. It’s almost like these last 8 years or so, we’ve been making up for lost time, cramming each interaction with as much mother-daughter love as it can possibly hold.

And I am deeply grateful.

My mother, The Nana, my mama?  She is a gift to me; a precious gift that truly does keep on giving, with each new day that we spend knowing that we are mother and her daughter.  This redeemed relationship is a gift from the God who sees; and isn’t afraid to reach right in and continue to draw us closer to one another, and to Him.

Dear Mama,

I love you.  I’m so glad you’re MY mom. 

Now, turn on your phone, you’re about to receive a call.

Love,

Pooh