mama moments 101

Are you concerned about flunking parenting?  That you’re scraping by with a C- simply by clothing and feeding your offspring?  Do you have the nagging feeling that you, and only you, are missing the genetic code explaining Garanimals, Lunchables, and Pokémon cards?

Fear not, brave reader.  You Are Not Alone.

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Forever Family: notes for my 20-something self

Lately I’ve been thinking about my younger days.

Wedding1

See that sweet face?  (Yeah, BrightSide, too.)  How innocent, how naive…ready to go along to get along, keep the peace, calm the waters no matter what.

Well, lately I’ve been thinking about what I’d tell that 20-something me.

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SoCS – measure twice, cut once

Boy, my mama could sew.

I remember going with her to pick out fabric for a new jumper or dress, running my hand down the row of bolts, looking at patterns and colors for something I’d love.  We didn’t have a lot of money then so Bee and I had to be sure before we made our final picks – there was no turning back once mom began cutting and laying out the pattern.  No “eh, I don’t really like this after all, the blue would have been better.”

Mom poured her time and talent into making those clothes for us, though I doubt I was as grateful as I could have been.  There were always kids who had brand name jeans, but whatever…we’ll call that character building.  She’d take the scraps, too (waste not, want not) and sew clothes for our dolls.  That made them extra special to me.

So with a talented mom like that you’d think I could manage more than a hem or button, right?  Except not so much.  Not for mom’s lack of trying – I seem to recall her trying to teach me how to work the sewing machine, but I just didn’t have the patience for it.  Probably best in the long run, really, considering how accident prone I turned out to be.  If it’s possible to sew two fingers together, I would have managed it.

No, Bee got all the crafting talent in the family and, as far as I know, can run an actual sewing machine.  If you’ve ever worked with one you know this is an achievement.  They have moving parts my brain just can’t seem to reconcile.

I have fond memories of my mom, though…meticulously laying out the fabric, patiently pinning on the pattern, carefully cutting it out piece by piece.  She put her love into everything she made for us.


SoCS 2

Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays are open to anyone who’d like to participate.  Pop over and give her blog a visit.  This week’s prompt is “so/sow/sew.”

a year in the life

No one’s ever prepared to lose their mother.  Intellectually I understand nobody lives forever, but it’s one thing to know death is inevitable and another thing entirely to find myself walking the earth without the woman who’s loved me my whole life.  It’s a permanent shift in the universe.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned in 365 days without my mom.

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parenthood, survival, and the clothing conundrum

This too shall pass.

The phrase passed from generation to generation, words meant to soothe souls and convince adults that they will indeed survive parenthood without killing their offspring.

It’s used to dull the pain of countless nerve stripping phases of your brood.  The screaming-through-the-night phase.  The unending-diaper-changing years.  The YOU-CAN’T-MAKE-ME, foot-stomping chapter.

But-everybody-else-has-it…If-you-loved-me…What’s-wrong-with-$120-sneakers?…Who-cares-that-it’s-30-degrees-I’m-fine-in-shorts…

One simple phrase intended to keep us from tearing our hair out or running wild in the streets.  So far, so good.

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Forever Family: celebrations and grief

Celebrations are powerful, especially for children.  They don’t understand I’m not really up for Christmas this year or let’s just let this birthday pass quietly.  They understand the inherent joy in special days, and they’re drawn to reveling in them.  They’re children, after all, even after they’ve morphed into bigger bodies, and if we’re lucky they haven’t lost the magic in marking milestones with joy.

Which has made this past year somewhat difficult for me.

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to my mom on her birthday

In dedication to anyone whose mother has passed on.

Dear mom,

I love you.  Those three words don’t seem nearly enough to speak what’s in my heart, but they’re all I have so they’ll have to do.

This really has been a hell of a year, if you don’t mind my saying so.  There’ve been days when I’m wrecked, and then there are days when life just keeps on rolling and I almost forget that you’re gone.  People tell me this is normal but it still feels like a betrayal of your memory, like every wisp of you has been carried away on the wind while I stand enjoying the sunshine.  I try to remember that you enjoyed the sunshine, too, and would want my face turned toward the sky.

Sometimes the weeping comes, but it’s all twisted up in too many things to sort out.  I miss holding your hand, but the memory of you fighting the Parkinson’s hurts.  There are things I want to tell you, but then I’m furious because I know even if you were still here we would be struggling to communicate.  I’m heartbroken that you aren’t with me as my kids grow up…that I can’t call for advice or cry on your shoulder…that they aren’t able to tell you about their lives.

But I’m not crying just because you’re gone; I cry because we lost you several years ago, and I miss my mom.  I miss the woman who could have played a game with my kids or listened to their stories.  I miss the woman who would have laughed at Bear’s antics and told me what it was like to raise me through the tween years.  I miss the woman who loved reading as much as I did, who enjoyed discovering new authors and getting books on her birthday.  I miss you.

We’ll be thinking about you a lot today.  It’s no mistake that our first year without you actually falls on Thanksgiving.  I’m thankful for every moment I had with you, mom, and I’m grateful that I’ll be surrounded by family as we mark what would have been your 80th birthday.

Hope you’re having an extra slice of pumpkin pie up there today.

All my love,

Laura