mother's day.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Of course I can not let Mother's Day go by without a word.
It is, after all, the greatest day of the year, next to Jesus's birth.
(Well, I suppose the days of my OWN childrens' births, too, thanks to Jesus.)
But a day to celebrate and honor the great lengths mothers go to
to keep their children alive.  Fed.  Safe.  Happy.  Healthy.
Work daily to improve the issues mothering raises,
like how my sweet, angelic, innocent daughter could be singing lovely church hymns from the back seat of the mini van that she picked up in school,
my cursing "JESUS CHRIST!" and "GOD DAMN IT!" as her chorus,
at the 3-year-old relentlessly kicking the back of my seat and the douche who just blew through a stop sign.
Clearly, an issue.  (That doesn't even scratch the surface.  But a good glimpse.)
How HUMBLING motherhood can be.  How it brings to the surface every clogged pore, past pain, old resentment, all the things that have followed us in to adulthood,
as WE now try to raise these little people to be GOOD, DECENT adults, unlike ourselves.
My GOD, it's hard.
That's all you can say.
It stinks.  Literally.
It's dirty.  It's mean.  It's vulgar.  It's brutally painful.  Disappointing.  Frustrating as hell.
Time consuming, sanity sucking and as terrifying as can be.
To love someone SO much, could very well be the worst job,
and the best job.
Motherhood has been the pulse that has kept my life moving forward the past 7 years.
And each Mother's Day, I am different than the one before.
My former (younger and immature) self,
thought it was weird and awkward to go to a movie or out to lunch by yourself.
My views on that have changed.
I'm a mother.
An empty seat next to you?  A quiet chair across?
Just fine.  Lovely, actually. 
Especially when your mornings start off with a bang.
Maybe quiet and peaceful, 
cozy and comfy
only to quickly come to a screeching halt with a "CHARLES!  GOD DAMN IT!"
and an overflowing toilet.  All before 7am. 
Awesome.
On each new Saint Mother's Day that passes,
(aptly phrased in our house,) 
I've rightfully gained some new perspective and new appreciation for this lifelong gig.
(Aside from the aforementioned adjectives,)
What do I have to show for THIS year?
A few things. . .
I'm constantly blown away by the demands of the job
that go FAR beyond plumbing and folding laundry.
The relentless caring, nurturing, teaching, loving and helping grow of little people.
I'm wowed by the ease and calm with which I perform these duties each new year.
(Oh no, not all the time, but a little more with each passing birthday,)
The trials of yesteryear, merely a blip.
I'm astounded how permanent markers in the wash, ketchup stains, tantrums in Target, 
clogged toilets at 6am,
ain't no thang.
Merely a breeze through my graying hair.
All the things that used to get my panties in a bunch as a new mom?
Just the "same 'ol, same 'ol."
I'm grateful for the unexpected and terrifying,
for it is THOSE things have and WILL continue to change me and force me to live differently as a mother.
I had no idea I'd be graying in my 30's, hunting for the best tummy-tucking jeans and padded bras to cover up the damage pregnancies, breastfeeding and pastries have done.
But I'm ok with it.
Motherhood, whether years or multiple children later,
becomes an extra limb.  Just a part of you.
Although slightly awkward and often annoying, you figure out how to work with it.
I've discovered (and so has my husband,) that motherhood has cauterized me a bit.  Taught me to embrace the wonder and joy and disregard the trivial.
Because I know, WE know. . .it can always be worse.  No matter how bad it is.
Finding very little sympathy these days for MOST situations.
I just don't.  Don't cry to me.
I've learned to embrace every wrinkle, gray hair, stretch mark, dimple and fat roll,
but also the unexpected, the terrifying diagnosis, living with absolutely no answers and zero control.
And being okay with it.
It's all for a good cause.  These guys.
Just as in life,
there are no guarantees in motherhood.  You just work with watcha' got.
Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.
Live like there's no tomorrow, the best you can.
In this current year of motherhood,
I've accepted the truth that just when you think you have one or ALL of your children figured out, you learn you don't.
That looks ARE deceiving.
In the corporate world, before kids, I wasn't really a 'go-getter.'
Often late and usually the first one out of the office.
I showed up, but did the bare minimum.  Then left. 
That work ethic has been improved upon (slightly) as a mother,
but not really.
I'm usually poked and prodded awake two hours too early by chubby little fingers, feet jabbed in to my back,
"Mom?!  Wake up!!!"
"What day is it?  I'm hungry.  Can I watch a show?  Where's daddy?  I have school today???"
Oh, dear God.
The questions are rifled off at rapid fire pace before my eyes have even fluttered open.
(Pretending to sleep doesn't work.  If they're up, so are you.)
"I had a dream.  I HAD A DREAM!"
(Easy, MLK.)
"I had a dream!  I dreamed a fish punched me in the face!"
"Can we get turkey jerky?"
"Why is the sun following us?"
"Does everyone go to heaven?"
"What's your favorite Michael Jackson song?"
The small freedoms we took for granted as teens and twenty-somethings, coming to light about this time.
Driving in a car.  Alone.
Reading a book.  Alone.
Eating.  In peace.  Alone.
The day to day things,
cereal in bowls, feet in velcro shoes, homework, packing lunches, matching socks, evening baths, clipping toenails, roshambo-ing for who gets to put the kids to bed. . .
How all these activities string together haphazardly, making this ordinary chain of parenting,
beautiful.
But I still love driving even more now, driving away.
The bliss in freedom from a life outside these walls and connecting with others, is so refreshing.
It's why moms take up running, join a choir, get a P/T job, find a hobby.
Driving away from un-sewn buttons, unclean baseball pants, unkempt floors and unmade beds.
Learning, that although you can't clock out of this job, ever,
you CAN ask for a time out or time for yourself.
Undone households, unfolded laundry and unfair parenting roles. . .
the peace found in just stepping away from it all.  To enjoy a Culver's shake in a quiet mini van at 9:30pm on a Tuesday or strum strings on a guitar for half an hour a week,
just to give your tired mommy mind something else to focus on,
can be revitalizing.
I've learned a lot.  And continue to.
The wisdom from my own childhood and teachings my own mother bestowed upon me and my sisters, have followed me in to my own parenting.
My own mother quietly, calmly, respectfully and lovingly allowing us the space and freedom to figure things out.  To rely on our own senses, creativity and intuition.
I couldn't be more thankful for that.
Although MUCH more hovering, protecting and obsessive then my mom ever was,
I work daily, to use those tools.
To create in MY daughter,
the woman I hope she'll be.
A better version of me.
 Fearless.
Confidant.  Strong.
Free.
And all the things that make her who she is today, even at 5.
Nurturing, gentle, loving, sensitive to others' feelings and ALWAYS sharing.
My own mother made it her signature, to offer a hug, a rock in her arms and then a bit of humor to turn our laughter to tears.  Doing HER best to fill the gaps that HER mother couldn't fill.
And we all continue that cycle, taking the best of our mothers before us and making it our own.  Using all the small things WE'RE learning as mothers,
to add more ease to those that follow.
To MY mom, for allowing us the space and freedom to figure it out,
while remaining close at hand when we fell,
is the best thing you could've ever done.
Thank you.

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