Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Mother's the raw

So there is a reason I didn't write about Mother's Day before now. I both love and hate that day. I love the idea of having a day set aside on the calendar each year to remind everyone in our lives to celebrate us mommies and all we stand for.

I am fortunate enough to have a family that treats me really quite nicely that day. I am always spoiled on Mother's Day. And I truly love it. I love sleeping in until 8-ish because my body is so used to getting up by 7 every other morning, it doesn't recognize the occasion and therefore doesn't let me sleep any longer. I devour the strawberry crepes Fireman and the kids place on my lap while they all lay on my bed and huddle as close as they can to me. The coffee gets spilled and the food is cold...the flowers are beautiful. The presents are a heartfelt gesture- the homemade song from my 13 year old, the coupons for chores from my middle child, and the hand print from Cissy made my heart sing. Fireman even hung up his frugal hat for the day and splurged on a really cool car adapter for my iTouch, the kind that has to be professionally installed! Yes, I know, I am spoiled. For one day, anyway.

Every year on that Sunday, no matter how wonderfully I am being treated, or how much love I am shown by my adoring family, there is always a sense of loneliness and loss that's creeps into my heart. It starts the day before. As my thoughts drift to the festivities of the next day, while I am finishing up the house so I don't have a load of laundry staring me in the face on what is supposed to be a day of no chores. As I go through the motions...I am suddenly very aware of a growing throb in the pit of my stomach. Throbbing that doesn't stop until it is very much at the center of my chest and has made completely sure it has consumed my every thought. I know it is easily angered at my attempt to try and stuff it by the way it turns to a sort of disabling nausea. Just enough to make me unable to eat, unable to sit still and unable to feel any sort of contentment. It sits in the bottom of my stomach and rises and falls throughout the day into my throat. It gnaws at me, demanding attention.

And I know exactly what it needs. Every year. Same time and place. And I know deep down it doesn't go away on its own or because I tell it fervently that it is not welcome. It's like one of my kids- it needs attention. Raw attention. And it needs it at its convenience, not mine. By the end of the day, with the all the physical chores done, I decided to lean into this throb that continued to lie in my gut. I retreated to my closet. I sat on the floor next to the old paint spot. And I cried. I cried the ugly cry.

I miss her more every year. I need answers only she can give me. I need the unconditional love only she shared with me. I am jealous of everyone else whose Mother's Day plans involve their own Mother. I remember her Mother's Day routines. I miss them. I miss her. I ache for the warm touch only her hands could deliver. I
am forever empty in the place only she could fill. My tears don't stop as easily as they started. I hate to lose myself in this seemingly endless pain and torture. Thinking my way out never helps it ease away. Tears do, though. A lot of them. And I slowly feel my way out.

It is as if my Mother is hearing my cries and actually feels my heartache, when my daughter walks into the closet. "Mommy? Why are you crying?" She sits down and holds my soaked snotty hand in hers. She waits until I can talk. "I miss my Mommy" I tell her. I start crying again. I hate to upset my children, but they are all very aware that their Mommy, doesn't have a Mommy. She sits quietly while I sob. I think she sat there for about 5 full minutes not moving, not squirming, not asking for anything. Just being. I realized the throb had dulled a bit. So I looked up and stared into Cissy's brown eyes. She smiled back at me and I pul
led her little body into mine for a hug. I suddenly felt something I hadn't felt before. This is what I felt like to my Mommy for 23 years. It made me smile from the inside out. The throb lessened even more.

Yes, I realized the moment I gave life to my first born how my Mother's love was like no other. But, the love and tenderness exchanged from a Mother and daughter is really just different. Not to be judged, just different.

So, at that moment, I could relate in a way I had not seen before. I became very conscious of what my Mommy actually felt each time I hugged and held her. I am aware now of what that felt like to her. I am so thankful I was able to give her that kind of irreplaceable unconditional love in return, even if it was just for a short time. I take such solace in knowing she felt that from me in her times of need, especially in her final days here with our family.

I could feel the throb descend into an ache. The nausea subsided a bit. I held my little girl and my little girl held me. It was a quiet exchange of raw love. I enjoyed the feeling of her warm soft skin against my neck and arms. I savored the thought of what pure joy my little girl gives me daily and related it to the joy I must have given to my mommy.

This is what it feels like to be a mommy and to have a mommy. My feelings range different throughout the year, and can strike at anytime. This Mother's Day was so special in that I was actually made aware of something I had never thought of before...who and what I was to my mommy is now so clear and tangible to me, it has made my role as a mommy carry a whole different meaning.

I will always miss her, but this past Mother's Day, I truly felt a little closer to her than I had before. I like to believe she was giving me a Mother's Day gift all her own. Through my daughter she was showing me that love, our love, will never die.

Thank you, mommy!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

So I am Selfish....SO WHAT?

OK- I am having one of those days...actually one of those weeks. I am increasingly wanting to act selfishly. And I really don't care. There is nothing pretty or flowery about this situation. I make no claims to be perfectly Martha Stewart at every moment in my life. This is one of them.

Fireman was home for a good few day stint after being at the station for 5 days (actually he has been home for 3 days in last 14, but whose counting?). I really took a load off when he arrived through that door. I hugged and loved on my hunky Fireman. I even cooked one night for the family while he was here to reap the benefits. I really missed him and knew he would be leaving again soon for a while. I nestled into a real cozy family while he was here. BBQing by the pool, letting time fly while I read my novel and he played with his babies. We watched movies that weren't rated G. I slept in while he hushed the kids so as not to wake me. I was in Heaven. Literal Heaven on Earth.

Then he went back to work. I woke up late- probably because I was starting to get used to it by then. I had saved up running my errands for when he did leave, and I have been racing to catch up since then. See, all my running the house hold routine takes a hiatus when Fireman is here. I don't cook because I love his cooking. I don't shop unless we absolutely need something. I don't do bills, I don't do laundry. We stay up late, we catch a movie or watch Dateline. We lounge in the morning after the kids leave for school and sip coffee, pour over the newspaper, and watch GMA. So the morning he leaves, I am busting butt trying to play catch up.

This week has literally taken its toll on every fiber in my body. I can't catch up with anything! Laundry seems to be going well, and a kid pees the bed. I have the day squared away, and the other kid calls from school urgently needing something he should of remembered on his own. On my way to the gym, the car is out of gas. Try to print important stuff off the ink. You get the point? Well, normally, I am go with the flow. This is my job as I see it. I am here to deal with those things. And I do.

However, this week, I have no desire to- at all. I have no patience with homework. I have no desire to drag a 5 year old around to my multiple stops during the day. I found myself actually trying to scour the Internet for how to make milk from a few ingredients in my cupboard- without luck- so I wouldn't have to go the store. My daughters normal darling way of musical talking incessantly has become just incessant. I have no patience for anything that doesn't involve me, a book or an ice cold beer.

Is this what the teachers mean when they say they can tell when the students are getting itchy for summer break? I can't figure it out. I am definitely ready for school to be out, but for way different reasons than the kids are. I am done with projects and riding my boys on their homework and GP A's. I am done making lunches, done missing my workouts, done rushing around in the morning, done rushing to after school activities, done worrying about having everything in life complete before 2:30 on Tuesday and Thursday, and by 12:30 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

I don't know what is the cause of this shift in my brain. I am sure it has something to do with our beautiful weather lately. It has allowed my veins to get a small drip of what our Summer's are filled to the brim with. Boating trips, BB Q's with great friends, lazy days and nights with no where to be, and of (or whatever is being poured at the time).

All I can do is pray, vacuum, and kick-box my way to sanity right now. I got to hang in. I just have to find a way to compartmentalize my irritation and down right insanity at the goings on right now.

Until then, I am open to suggestions...though I give you fair warning, I am a red-head and not afraid to use it!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Life's That Way ---->

I just finished a really enchanting memoir. This book had me doing all the things I love to do with a really great story... laughing, crying the whole thing. I know it's a good book when I continue to re-hash its events over and over in my mind. The story will settle into an understanding I didn't have while reading it. Sometimes my perception changes of certain scenes. What was sad and depressing, actually makes a different kind of sense to me a week after completing the book. That, to me, is a really good book. This one was like that- I found myself thinking, and rethinking of the title. Life's That Way.

When reflecting on my own life, I recognize a very common theme. Common meaning we all as humans have the same circumstances in one way or another that make us feel and connect at a very human level, with very human emotions. It's recognizing this commonality that sets us apart because we all do it in different ways, different areas of the world under different circumstances and from different backgrounds.

My own journey has been one of multiple up, down and sideways events. I can look back still and remember sequences of life happening in such a way to have shaped my life as I know it now as if it were literally a few moments ago. Like when I was 9 and my dad had me drive my sister and I home from the stables we kept our horses at after dark on the I5 freeway from San Juan Capistrano to Mission Viejo. I can still feel my little legs tight against the steering wheel of the Mustang as I sat on his lap while he operated the gas and brake pedal. I can hear his voice warning me not to tell my mom that he had me driving I can smell his dirty alcohol stained breath as he coached me the whole way home. The memory was one like a good book is now, it didn't really bear any importance or value until a few months ago when I was folding towels letting my mind wander and this particular memory hit me upside the head. I had to sit down and allow myself to recollect the situation and mull it over and over to iron out details. It was fun and harmless then, it is not now.

What details grab me now didn't grab me at the time. The impact my own memior has on me as I was going through the living part of it didn't bear any resemblance to what it does now in my 34 year old psyche. My mothers soft touch of her hands on my face, a boyfriends breakup in high school, my sisters lighting in her room while she put on her makeup. Becoming pregnant for the first time at 21, watching my mother fight and succumb to cancer. The making and losing of dear friends. The absolute joys of raising my children. The warming feeling of unconditional love, and finding it in my husband. The moment I found out I was pregnant for the third time, feeling to my core it was my daughter. Becoming aware that my life goes on and on regardless of the seemingly endless experience of illness, prosperity, relationships, family drama, and general life is what absolutely makes my experience unique to anyone else.

What is not unique is that
I have them. I experience everything everyone else does. Sure to different degrees and at different times, but really in my own perfect time. Losing my best friend during a childhood squabble paved the way I respond mentally and physically to similar situations as an adult.

I can remember at the time of my mothers death it was as if my world came to a screeching halt. What I realize now, is that life as I knew it then had stopped. I began to slowly begin living and feeling again, though differently. I can't remember exactly the moment, but I do remember having one of complete understanding. I understood that life would continue to happen all around me and through me constantly, at times so much so that I would have to consciously re-learn how to live, even when I didn't want to. I would need to constantly be adapting to whatever a particular experience imprinted on me into my new life.

The experience of having children is a great analogy. If you don't have them, you have no idea what to expect day to day mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially. If you have experienced the death of someone very close to you, relating to anothers aftermath is something you are capable of doing. The key is becoming aware that regardless of what life brings your way, it will go on. Differently.

I could relate to almost every raw word in this book I read. I picked it up sensing the title "Life's That Way" held the meaning of "well, that's just the way life is". In fact, it was a direction. LIFE IS THAT WAY ----> In other words, look around after life happens to you, it continues to grow and build, in another way. And when allowed, as I have experienced, it just gets more and more fulfilling with the ways it expands your level of compassion, endurance, happiness, sadness, wealth, contribution, and even kindness you show to your self and others. We choose our action and reaction based on what life has shown us, but hopefully we can remember to apply what life has just added to our suitcase that will never be to full, and continue following the signs that tell us,
Life's That Way ----->