I am a daughter. I am a wife. I am a mother. But through it all, I have been and always will be, a woman.

Archive for the ‘Mother’ Category

I Miss My Mom

This is hard to write.  I’ve put it off, and put if off, . . . but now maybe I can write this.

I lost my mother 11 weeks ago tonight.  It seems like forever since I talked to her.  But it still hurts like it was yesterday that I lost her.

My sister and I have been going through her estate, dividing up this, giving that away, trying to sell the other.  Typical things.  We’ve cried over memories, and we’ve laughed over memories.  We have remembered things we had forgotten.

Through it all, I still expect to hear her tell me to, “Get out of that!  You know you aren’t supposed to be in that,” because you never knew where she had hidden Christmas gifts……..and she had usually forgotten what and where things were hidden, too.

I still reach for the phone to update her on why my routine doctor’s appointment results were.  Or to tell her a funny story about her grandchildren.

Thanksgiving is going to be bad.  Her family always got together Thanksgiving instead of Christmas.  There are just too many of us to get together for both.  It would be exhausting, so they picked Thanksgiving.  I don’t think I can go to my Aunt’s house this year and look at the chair my mother always sat in when she was there.  I can’t bear any well-meaning “How are your holding up?” questions that day.  I just can’t.  So I’ll go to my in-laws and pretend everything is okay.  But Thanksgiving is going to be bad.

Christmas is going to be worse.  You see, that was her favorite holiday.  She had an entire walk-in closet full of Christmas decorations.  Tree ornaments, mantle decorations, floor statues of snowmen and Santa and Mrs. Claus, wreaths, etc.  We even found 3 Christmas trees of varying sizes.  Not to mention the other Christmas decorations we have unearthed in other closets.  Her favorite holiday.  And she won’t be here.  My children won’t get to call Nana and tell her what Santa brought them.  We won’t get to visit her and eat spaghetti (because we were sick of all the turkey we’d been eating since November).  I won’t get to hear her child-like glee when she purchased and received yet another Christmas decoration.  She was a child at Christmas as much as my children are.  She loved it.  I just want to get through it this year.  For myself.  For my family.  For my children.  I will smile and laugh and pretend, because that is what I need to do.  I may not feel the Christmas Spirit this year, but I can’t take it away from everyone else.

Just as I recover from Christmas will be her birthday.  She would have been 66.  So young.  Too young.  I can’t think about all of the things she’ll miss.  It’ll break me right now.

She was my best friend.  We went through a really rough patch when I was in my teens and early 20s.  But we made up.  We overcame.  She was actually my Friend.  My Best Friend.  For several years, she was my only friend.

And I miss her.

Every day.

Knowing All of the Answers

I remember when I was young (yes, a veeeerrrryyyyyy long time ago), I thought my parents had all of the answers.  They knew why the sky was blue.  The knew what we were having for dinner.  They knew why my little sister was so annoying.  They knew how Santa could travel the earth in one night.  They knew the going rate the tooth fairy paid for a front tooth vs a molar.  They knew everything.  They were the smartest people on earth.

I decided then (with the wisdom of a child) that 30 was the magic age.  When I turned 30, I would know all of the answers.  I would be wise, beautiful, confident, and successful.  When I was 30, my world would be perfect.

Guess what?  I was wrong.

Now, on the other side of 40, I admit that not only do I NOT have all of the answers, I don’t even know where to look for most of them.  Some answers just can’t be found in the dictionary, or in encyclopedias (yes, I am that old), or even *gasp*shudder* on the internet.

I’m not perfect.  I’m not even close.  I’m not smart.  I’m not beautiful.  I’m not confident.  I still feel insecure and afraid.  I am still as socially awkward now as I was in high school (though, Thank You, God, for helping me to survive That Horror!).  I still have trouble remembering that sometimes it is best to remain quiet.  I still can’t think of the “right” thing to say in difficult situations.  I can’t kiss my kids boo-boos better and I can’t protect them from life’s little agonies.  I can’t even comfort my husband when life throws him a curve.  I can’t take care of my mother like I wish I could.  I feel completely inadequate as a Daughter, as a Wife, as Mother, even as a Woman.

But sometimes, I get close to being perfect.  I can change light bulbs for my mother and change the sheets on her bed.  I can rock my little boy to sleep sometimes even at the age of 5. I can still tell my boys how proud I am of them and all they accomplish.  I can hold my husband’s hand, look him in the eye and honestly tell him that I love him, and that I believe in him, and know that he believes me even if he doesn’t believe in himself.

So while, I’m still not wise, or beautiful, or confident, I think I am successful.  I’m happy with my life.  I don’t have a high-powered job and money is still tight, but I don’t need those things.  I have a husband I love that loves me, and my kids still (mostly) think I’m perfect.  Those are the criteria by which I judge my success.  And when I feel inadequate and awkward and helpless, I try to remember to remind myself of those things.  Some days I’m more successful than others, but sometimes making the effort is all that matters.

Looking Back to Those I Lost

Tonight is a bad night.  Hormones stretch from extreme to extreme and I’m looking through old pictures (uploading to Shutterfly and saving to Flash Drive) and crying at all the people I see that are no longer here.  I seem to be partly in the past, partly in a world that could have been, and partly lost.

I see my Mamaw J that died last year.  She won’t see her great-grandchildren grow up.  She won’t meet the newest grandchild that is the only boy of the only grandson who will get to carry on the family name.  She would have been so happy to see this little boy.  And her husband who died over ten years ago would have been ecstatic to know the family name would carry on.  (Y’all know how men are about their legacies.)

I see my father-in-law that never met five of his grandchildren.  Two of which are my husband’s and three of which are my brother-in-law’s. If he had lived, he would have known about another grandson and a granddaughter by his oldest son (my husband), one granddaughter by blood and two more from the heart from my brother-in-law.

They missed so much.  My Mamaw J lived a long, full life.  She raised five kids, met eleven grandchildren, and so many great-grandchildren (I lost count a long time ago).  I can remember my kids going to her house and her giving them cookies.  I told her it was too close to supper time.  She looked at me (with that look that always scared me half to death) and informed me it was HER house and they would have whatever she gave them.  I laugh now.  That is a grandmother’s perogative.

My father-in-law was taken so many years before his time.  He was a second father to me and died before I even admitted it to myself.  He never met my youngest son.  He never met my husband’s daughter.  He never saw his middle child released from prison and become the man he was supposed to be.  He never saw that son marry a wonderful woman who already had two lovely daughters we all gladly accepted into the family.  He never met the newest granddaughter that they gave him.

So much loss.  I wish my Mamaw J had gotten to meet my children.  I wish my Papaw J had gotten to meet my children.  I wish my father-in-law had gotten to meet my second child.  I wish they had all seen that I made more of my life than what they saw before they passed.

My Granddaddy M died when I was young.  My Grandmother M died when I was divorcing my ex-husband (she had Alzheimer’s and so didn’t realize what was happening).  My Papaw died the year before I divorced (and thankfully never knew what I was going through).  So many people I loved, that never knew that I actually turned out okay.  Maybe not wonderfully, but okay.

I wish they had known my children.  I wish my children had known them.  But it was not to be.

I remember my Great-Grandmother — my mother’s mother’s mother.  Grandma E gave me a love of poetry.  She still pulled water from a well she actually had on her back porch.  She outlived two husbands, a son, and a grandson.  She was an incredibly strong woman.

I remember my Great-grandfather — my father’s mother’s father.  Papa W was a mean SOB. (I’m sorry for the language, but he was).  He scared me when I was little.  He helped me learn my times tables (how many of you remember them being called that!) because I was too scared of him to get them wrong.  He was mean to my Grandmother M, (his own daughter) who was one ofthe sweetest ladies I have ever known and welcomed him into her home to care for him.

But I am more like my Mamaw.  She was a STRONG woman (like her mother, Grandma E).  She was blunt, and honest.  She saw no point in being tactful.  She said what she meant, and she meant what she said.  She was a survivor and I envied her.  I still do in a lot of ways.  I wish I had her courage, her strength, her faith.

My Grandmother M was a Lady.  Not that my Mamaw J wasn’t, but Grandmother M was a gentler creature.  Her strength was quiet, tactful.  She would shame us into behaving.  They both threatened to spank us when we misbehaved — the difference is that I believed Mamaw J.  When I doubted Grandmother M, she proved me wrong and spanked me!  She hurt my pride more than my rear, but she actually SPANKED ME!!!!!!  Unbelievable.  I smile when I remember her.  I wish I were much more like her.  I wish I had her gentleness, her gift for laughter, her capacity for forgiveness.

My father-in-law, Papa B,  was a gentleman.  As is his son.  As I hope my boys will be.  He will never know how much he meant to me because didn’t know until it was too late.  I remember his ready laugh.  I remember how he welcomed me into his family like I was a foregone conclusion.  I remember his laugh; his smile; the way he called my son “Sport.”  I remember how he said “It’s a shame to spank a boy just ’cause he feels good,” and he’d laugh.  I didn’t know what he meant then (I didn’t have any kids), but I do now.  Sometimes, my boys don’t get spankings because I hear my father-in-law laughing those words in my ear.

I miss them all.  I miss being able to turn to any one of them.  My Grandmother M made me want to be as gentle-natured as her, getting my children to mind by shaming them into being better boys.  My Mamaw J made me want to be as strong as her and raise my boys to be “men.”  My Papa B made me want to laugh at their antics while still teaching them right from wrong, to be gentlemen, but to be MEN.

I miss them all.  And my children miss them even if they don’t know what they miss.  It is said that you are supposed to learn from the past.  I just wish I could really show my children the people they missed.  I really wish they could “know” them.  They don’t know what they missed.  But I hope those that have passed on are proud of what my husband and I have created………and are looking down from Heaven smiling, and protecting and guiding the next generation.

Who do you miss?  Why do you miss them?  Please comment and let me know I’m not alone.

As a Mother & Step-Mother

First, as a Step-Mother…….

H. went home last weekend.  We drove her the entire 7 hours home.  It was a long road trip.  But with her laughing in the back seat, telling us stories, clearly excited to be going home, it was rather short.  Bittersweet, but short.  Then we got close to home.  She got quiet.  Very quiet.  Sad.  So did we.  The 7 hours back home were much longer. And quieter.  And more bitter, than sweet.  Even if DH and I got to spend 7 hours without hearing, “Mommy, he touched me.”  “Mommy, are we there yet?”  “Mommy, when are we going to be there?”

The house, too, is quiet.  It’s amazing how one less child (with 2 still in attendance, and boys, at that), can make a house feel so empty.  There is no more giggling 12-year-old girl doing a funny walk across our living room.  There is no girl with puppy-dog eyes saying, “Daaaaad, may I pleeeeeeeeeeease stay up until 10:30?”  There is no girl asking me to play archery with her on the Wii and beat her dad.  There is no girl.  And I miss her.  There seems to be an empty place in my heart now.  Even though she is just a few hours away, she feels gone.  Even though I talk to her every night, she feels gone.  I feel her gone.  And I miss her.  I almost feel like a kid again wanting to know “When is Christmas going to be here?” because SHE will be back then.  And then I won’t miss her.

Second, As a Mother…….

All of you parents are familiar with school color charts.  They all vary some, but in essence, Green is Good; Yellow, not-so-much (or “just a little bad” as M likes to say); and Red is REALLY going-to-get-a-spanking Bad.

Usually, M is my little Martian.  He stays on green.  He’s sweet, lovable, mischievous, but he stays on green.  Not this week.  So far, we’ve had Red, Yellow, Green, Red/Green (Red in the morning, Green in the afternoon because his teacher is too sweet and took pity on him), and today…..well, today, I’m scared to ask.  All colors (other than green) are for being defiant and back talking his teacher.  He acts up, she calls him down, he say, “So?”  Why?  I asked him.  He said, “I like saying ‘so.’ ” Huh?  Where did my little Green Martian go?  Could he be 7 hours North (see above) with H?  Is that what is prompting this bad behavior?  I hope so.  And I hope my little Green Martian will come home soon.  I miss him, too.  And I know his pre-school teacher misses him, too.

Z, is a different story.  He’s more like Jekyll and Hyde lately.  And, no, it can’t be teenage hormones because he’s only 7.  We’ve seen Red, Orange, Yellow, Orange this week.  I cannot text his teacher and ask about his behavior.  Not that I really want to do that.  With his track record this week, I’m thinking I really don’t want to know.  He has gotten spankings 4 days this week.  We took away all electronics — Wii, DS, computer, everything except his TV which his little brother shares.  (It wouldn’t have been fair to M to take away the TV.)  We’ve begged, pleaded, yelled (I regret the yelling), bribed, threatened……nothing is working.  I would say that his problems began with his sister’s return home, but we had the same problems during the ENTIRE 1st GRADE.  Making noises (humming, tapping), not listening, consistent disobedience, playing in the bathroom (really? the bathroom?  can’t you find a better place to play, son?), not following directions.  It’s like Z is in his own little world, and will only open the door if he likes what his teacher is saying.  If not, oh, well.  Z seems to think if he ignores her long enough, she’ll disappear.  Not happening.

Z is a smart kid.  I mean REALLY smart.  And usually well-mannered, polite, sweet.  A regular Dr. Jekyll.  Except at school.  Then Mr. Hyde comes out.  Loud, obnoxious, stubborn, rude, brat.  His dad and I are almost at our wit’s end.  We hoped that the Talented & Gifted program he is in this year (see?  I told you he was smart!) would help with the behavior.  We hoped that Cub Scouts would help with the behavior.  We’re still hoping.  And praying.  And begging, threatening, bribing, etc.  I don’t like Mr. Hyde.  I want to evict him from my house.  Now.

So, that’s my life lately.  Full little roller coaster, isn’t it?  That’s why this post is a day late (and I know you all waited anxiously with bated breath yesterday wondering why it wasn’t appearing!  Yeah, right!).  We’ve had happiness, sadness, anxiety, anger, disappointment, confusion.  I’m tired of the roller coaster.  I WANT OFF!!!   I want my little Green Martian back.  I want Dr. Jekyll back.  I want H.  back.  I want all of my kids (even the one I just get to borrow) back at my house.  Under one roof.

So, if any of you wonderful friends and readers have any ideas on how to accomplish any / all of the above, then I await your suggestions, answers, and comments with hope and prayers.  Thank you all for listening to me rant.  Thank you for letting me borrow your shoulders on which to shed a few tears.  Thank you for just being there as once again, I lose my composure over my children.  Thank you for being my friends.

SuperMom & SuperWife or SuperWoman

“A real woman always keeps her house clean & organized, the laundry basket is always empty. She’s always well dressed, hair done. She never swears, she behaves gracefully in all situations & all circumstances. She has more than enough patience to take care of her family, always has a smile on her lips, & a kind word for everyone. Post this as your status if you, too, have just realized that you might be a man.”

I saw this on FaceBook the other day and thought it was so funny (and true) that I put it as my status to give other ladies a few giggles, too.  And it worked GREAT!  Most women can really relate to this.  There is always SO MUCH to do that it rarely (if ever) actually is all completed at the same time.  Seriously, how many women have the housework all done, the house looking immaculate, dinner on the table, and a smile perpetually on their face?  Let’s face it.  June Cleaver we are NOT.

Then my husband ruined all of our fun with one comment.  “Someone pointed out to me that this woman is straight out of Proverbs. Kinda puts a different light on it huh?”

My first thought was, “Spoilsport!”

My second thought was, “OH GREAT!  One more way I’m failing God.”

I don’t know about y’all, but I constantly feel like a failure.  To my husband, to my kids, to my boss, to my self, and to God.  It’s a rare day when I DON’T feel ineffectual, inadequate, unworthy, and/or like a major screw up.  We go to church, we believe (at least I hope you do), we have faith (even though we sometime struggle with this), but in the end, how many of us Really Believe we are succeeding at being what God wants us to be.

“I Know I’m SOMEBODY, ’cause God don’t make no junk!”  Remember that?  I do.  It was great when I was a kid, but now as an adult, it’s a little harder.  On the surface, I say, well of course He doesn’t.  But then I apply that statement to myself, and …….Whoops!  What. Have.  I.  Done?!?  Anybody else ever feel that way?

I’m divided.  I want to be what God wants me to be, but I can’t be.  I’m not perfect.  I’m so far away from perfect it’s like a train wreck in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean — Impossible.  I could probably do a lot better on the housework and laundry.  Okay.  I DEFINITELY could do better on the housework and laundry.  But behaving “gracefully in all situations & circumstances” just isn’t in me.  I have no tact.  No diplomacy.  Patience?  Not really.  I can work on that.  “A kind word for everyone” is sooooooo not me.  I admit it.  Some people just irritate me to the point that it’s either walk away, or go to jail for assault.  I do NOT handle stupidity very well.  Okay. I do not handle stupidity with patience or kind words.

Yes, I’m not the woman of the Bible.  I can aspire to be a better daughter, wife, mother, Woman…..and I will try.  But I’m also learning to be happy with who I am.  After all, God made me and “God don’t make no junk.”  So maybe He’s okay with me being a sarcastic, pushy, occasionally overbearing, overprotective control-freak.  And maybe He will help me smooth out these rough edges on this old piece of coal.  I’m not expecting to turn into a diamond overnight — or at all, really.  And I’m not expecting the laundry to miraculously be washed, dried, ironed, and folded…..but maybe He will help me find all the hours in the day I need, assistance to get it all done, and the ability to ask for and accept said assistance.

I’m not SuperMom.  I’m not SuperWife.  I’m certainly not SuperWoman.  But with God’s help, maybe I can be good enough, even if I’m not perfect.

As a (Step) Mother…

Wow……I never thought I would be a step-mother.  This is difficult.  When I had my boys, I knew they would love me.  I mean, they HAVE TO love me, right?  I AM their mother.  They came and I held them, rocked them, loved them.  They were beautiful.  I loved them and they loved me.

Then, one year ago, we found out they have a sister.  She’s now about to turn twelve.  Hard age for her.  Difficult situation for us both.  She is SO incredible.  She’s taller than I am, with beautiful wavy dark hair.  She’s smart, sweet, funny….she is all the things I fell in love with in her dad.  She looks just like him.  Well, a softer, prettier feminine version of him.  She has a beautiful smile.  She’s everything I ever wanted in a daughter.  And she belongs to someone else.

She and her dad bonded instantly.  Same with the boys.  They took to her like baseball and toy trucks and water guns.  She is their sister.  They are her brothers.  But what I am?

I have nightmares of Snow White and Cinderella and pray she doesn’t see me like that.  Her mother is still very much in the picture — she has custody — and has done a wonderful job raising her.  But where do I fit?  Is she afraid to love me because she doesn’t want to hurt her mom?  Does she secretly hope her parents will get back together?  Am I the interloper in her dreams of a happy family?  I always feel a little lost around her.  I hope she doesn’t feel that way around me.

And what do I do?  I can’t force myself into her heart.  I won’t.  I love her already.  I want to consider her as a daughter.  I want her to consider me as a second mom.  I don’t want to replace her mom.  I wouldn’t even want to try.  I just want her to let me love her.

As a Mother…..

Most of you know that I have two boys.  Z is seven, and M is four.  Perfectly fun ages.  They are both joys and frustrations, laughs and tears, hugs and strangle-holds.

Z is my oldest.  He was my first and is the sweetest natured child.  He is just like his dad.  Even-tempered, calm (most of the time), smart — WOW is he smart.  He is my easy child.  He can get his feelings hurt easily, so we’re working on that.  We don’t want him picked on by the other kids for his sensitivity, and, …..well, let’s face it.  HE’S A BOY!  He’s supposed to be rough-n-tumble, rowdy, running h— for leather everywhere he goes, and mostly he does.  He just happens to be a little too sensitive sometimes.  He’s a leader, yet he can follow.  He can run with the big boys or sit and watch television.  I think he’s developing mine and his father’s love of reading.  But he won’t give me hugs or kisses if anyone is watching — even strangers.  He’s growing up.  I can see the beginnings of the man he will become.  I love him SO much.  He was born just last week, I don’t care WHEN his age says he arrived. He’s my baby.

M is the youngest.  He is my charmer.  He is just like me — bless his little heart.  He is tempermental, high-maintenance, prone to temper tantrums, and just, well, like me.  I have no doubt he will stay in A LOT of trouble.  But he’s a charmer.  When he smiles, everyone smiles — even me, though I cringe also wondering just what it is he’s about to do.  When he cries, everyone cringes.  He won’t sit still for anything.  Even when he’s watching Spongebob Squarepants or Scooby-Doo, he stays in motion.  He still happily runs to me every day after preschool like he hasn’t seen me in a week.  He still gives me kisses and hugs whenever I ask, and sometimes when I don’t.  He still snuggles.  He’s my baby.  He was just born yesterday, at least in my mind.

They are my treasures.  My own personal miracles (okay, I admit, my husband did havesomething to do with them getting here.)  They are my little angels, especially when they are sleeping and not destroying their room, or asking 50 questions, or sneaking out of bed to play.  When I get hugs and kisses and hear, “I love you, Mama,” I swear I see their halos (appropriately held up by their devil horns).  One day, maybe they will know just how much I love them.  How often I thank God for entrusting me with them.  How fearfully I pray I can do right by them and raise them to be men like their father.  One day.  Maybe.

Meanwhile, I’ll love them, and hug them; yell at them then apologize; spank them and cry in my bedroom; then love them more.  I’ll kiss them while they are sleeping and pray to God to watch over them, to make me a better mother, and to help me love them even more.  I will do things right, and I will do things wrong.  I just hope and pray in the end, I will have done MORE right than wrong.

www.awriterweavesatale.com/

Author, and Editor of Literary and Arts Magazine, The Woven Tale Press

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