lastmandystanding

Mother. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Blogger. Aspiring writer. Smartass. But you'll probably still want to be my friend.

Archive for the tag “moms”

An open letter to all moms

“The two most important days of your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out WHY” – Mark Twain

I first became a mommy a little over twelve years ago. I had “a touch” (<–said with sarcasm) of the baby blues after she was born, and I would just cry at the very sight of my baby girl – of course, I cried when the wind shifted directions, too (post partum nonsense). But mostly, I cried because she was just so amazingly perfect and beautiful, and for the first time in my life, I realized WHY I WAS BORN. This tiny, beautiful, perfect little girl was my purpose. I was born to be HER mother.

Because of life-long female medical problems, I wondered if I would ever be a mother. I had one miscarriage before my first daughter was born, and another miscarriage between my first and second daughter. To say I had rough pregnancies would be an understatement. My second little miracle came three years after my first. She came blazing into my world two months ahead of schedule and spent the first month of her life in the hospital. As I spent every single day, all day, at her side, I kind of had an inner dialogue with myself that perhaps pregnancy is not for me. Motherhood, yes. Pregnancy, not so much. It hated my guts. But I have always been, and always will be, eternally grateful for the two amazing little girls that take up space in my heart and in my arms.

As wonderful and rewarding as it is, this being a mom thing is NOT for wussies. It is not for the faint of heart. It is not for the weak in spirit. It is not for the selfish. It is not for the weak-stomached. It is not for the weak-minded. It is not something to be taken lightly. It is wearing your heart on the outside of your body, and praying that you just don't screw up. It is being the only one in the house who can clean up puke without puking herself. It is being pooped on, peed on, puked on. It is picking baby boogers out of their nose with your long pinky nail because it's the only thing small enough to get it – screw that booger-sucker thing. It is sneaking into a sleeping baby's room like you're 16 and it's past curfew. It's the legitimate desire to throat-punch anyone who disturbs your sleeping baby. It is the sharp-tongued pre-teen whose words can cut like a knife. It is the same pre-teen who comes crying to you and needs to be hugged because they got in a fight with their best friend. It is going without things for yourself so you can provide things for your kids – and being ok with that. It is rarely getting to eat a warm meal at the same time as everyone else. It is sometimes rarely eating a meal while actually being seated. It is sometimes being the bad guy, the mean parent, the "heavy" to your kids because that is what's best for them. It is pride-swallowing. It is humbling. It is relishing every opportunity to escape for 30 uninterrupted minutes to read a book, take a shower, talk on the phone, hear yourself think. It is giving up your boobs to a baby who wants to be constantly attached to them and when THEY aren't on them, a breast pump is – making you feel less like the sex kitten you used to be, and more like a momma cat nursing her kitten. It is giving up your right to sleep in your own bed with your husband alone. It is being questioned and judged by other parents. Sometimes it means giving up or doing without. It means trying to explain the unexplainable to the little faces looking to you for answers you simply don't have. It means standing in the middle of the store, literally rendered speechless, watching your 9 and 12 year olds act like they've never been in public or have any concept of manners, and only being able to muster up the words very slowly "Have..you…lost…your…minds?". It is leaving your child at their very first apartment and feeling pride and sadness all at once. Sometimes, it is realizing that your child has special needs – different from other children. It is realizing a hundred times exactly what your mother meant when she warned you of certain things 25 years ago. It is beating yourself up for forgetting an important school function. It is being so overwhelmed with love that you feel your heart just might burst. It is realizing that you should've told your mom more often how much you appreciate everything she did for you. Sometimes, it is realizing that there are no more chances to say or do the things you should've. It is realizing that if you have a 9-year-old, they are half-way to being "grown". It is realizing how precious time is. It is realizing that someone always has it worse. It is feeling pain for a friend who has to bear the unthinkable and bury a child. It is feeling hurt (and in a way guilty) for a friend who cannot conceive a child of her own. It is feeling invisible sometimes – like you're just the man behind the scenes who make everything happen but no one really pays attention to. It is constantly questioning the choices you make as a parent. It is facing criticism as a single parent. It is being a model for your showing your son or daughter how to pick the right partner for them — and teaching them to be the right partner for someone else. It is having your children be the first thing you think of when you wake up, and the last thing you think of before you fall asleep. It is realizing that you aren't perfect – and that's ok. You aren't the perfect parent, but you are the best one for your kids — however they became yours — because that is YOUR purpose. No one else can do what YOU can do for them. No one else can take YOUR place.

I will lay my head down tonight, once again grateful for my two little blessings, and grateful for my mom and ALL the wonderful women in my life who have made me who I am today.

No…this being a mother thing is NOT for wussies. I am woman. I AM A MOTHER. Hear me roar.

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Peanuts and Coke

My mom is a good ol’ Southern gal, born and raised. Born in Mississippi, raised in Tennessee. Mind you, she’s been out of the South for about 40 years or so, but she still sounds every bit like she’s just here (the Midwest) visiting. You know what they say – “you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl”. They were talking about my mom.

Her stature is small, but her personality is mighty. Pretty sure this is where I get it from (on both counts). Like every good and true Southerner, she’s still a little bitter that the confederacy lost. But don’t let the accent fool you. I’ve seen her go toe to toe (in Mexico) with a 6’5”+/- Canadian man who had the audacity to bash Americans. She has a no-nonsense, straight-shooter approach to many things that I find very endearing.

One of the reasons why I have dedicated an entire section of this blog to “My Southern Momma” is because there are so many things she does and says that just deserve their own attention. She and her little ways are so funny and cute to me on many levels. And I have perfected my imitation of her accent – pretty proud of it if I do say so myself.

I will admit, more than a time or two someone has commented on ‘my Southern twang when I tawk’. I say it comes from years of living with her. If I am around anyone with a thick Southern drawl for any length of time, mine comes out full force. (Like Madonna’s fake British accent that only comes out when she wants to sound sophisticated…except mine isn’t fake, and it shore as hail don’t sound sophisticated – but I love it, it‘s a part of me, just as she is).

Since you have to read this and not hear it, I need to give a phonetic breakdown of some general words and how different they sound when my mom says them. The basic theory is that the syllables get stretched out and added onto, or in-fact, just the opposite. It depends on the word.

Examples as follows, refer back to it as needed:

Actual word                                            What it sounds like when my mom says it

Damn/Damned/Damn It                          Day-um/Day-umd/Daymit

Shit                                                            Sheeit

Ignorant                                                     Ig-nernt

Thing                                                         Thang

Hell                                                            Hail

Well                                                           Wail (or whale would work here as well)

Mandy                                                       Maindy

Can’t                                                         Kaint

Your/You’re                                               Yer

Sick                                                           Seeick

Baby                                                          Baybee (same but with drawn-out “i” sound as well)

*Totally unintended use of those particular words in that particular order, which might have a hidden meaning, but I’m leaving it as is. I’ll talk about that in therapy years from now.

Anyway – a few years ago, I was going through the first round of separation/divorce proceedings with my then husband. I say first round because we went through a nasty, ugly round a few years back, and somehow amazingly reconciled, stayed together a few more years, then finally had to call it. Second and final time was quite amicable. THIS time was brutal, to say the very least.

My heart was heavy and I was a big ball of stress and nerves – unable to eat, sleep, concentrate, breathe, etc. I was at work one day – and I mean that’s it, I was just “there”…that was all I could manage – and was just having “a moment”. A thank-God-I-sit-in-the-corner-so-no-one-can-see-me-sobbing…moment. And I needed my mommy (who lives five hours away).

I called her and she knew instantly that something was wrong – an innate “mom thing”, but her radar is way finer tuned than most. Freaks me out half the time, to be honest. I was sniveling like an idiot, breathing/sobbing spastically, taking 15 tiny breaths in 5 seconds because I can’t catch ONE – all the while trying to talk and explain what had me so upset.

Now…my mom is very sympathetic and coddling when I am THIS upset – at first. Another great thing about my mom is that if someone has done her baby wrong, she will get on an anti-whoever/whatever bandwagon like none you’ve ever seen. And it matters not who you are. It also does not matter if I am right or wrong at the time. If I am that upset, she is on my side at that moment. She waits until I’ve settled down to remind me that I might be wrong. And she always – without fail – eventually tells me “baybee, you need to stop bein’ so sad and upset and get pissed, dammit!”

I was still in full-on meltdown mode when she asked (knowing me) what I’d had to eat that day. It went a little something like this:

Mom: “Jeet anything yet this mornin?”

Me: “No…”(sniffle, sob, etc)

Mom: “Why??”

Me: “Mom, I just can’t – I can’t even think about eating, I’m too upset, I just can’t do it…”

Mom: “Wail ya kaint do that, baybee, yer gonna hafta eat somethin’ before ya make yerself seeick…even if it’s just peanuts and a Coke…I mean, sheeit…”

Me: (Abrupt pause in my sniveling) – “…what? Did you just say peanuts and a Coke? …and then ‘shit’?”

Mom: “Wail, you know what I mean…ya gotta have somethin’!”

And in an instant, I went from sobbing hysterically to laughing my A$$ off. Then she started giggling. And the more she tried to defend herself, the harder I laughed. #1 – I hadn’t drank a “Coke” in years. But then I remembered that in the South, almost any beverage is “a Coke” (ie. “y’all want a Coke?” “sure” “what kind?” “root beer”) #2 – Why THAT combo? Why THAT specific nut and THAT specific drink? I could throw out the same advice to someone and never in a million would I come up with THAT particular combo. My state of mind, combined with her saying it, and THE WAY she said it (like that was the most logical nutrition she could recommend for someone who just can’t eat) sent me into a spiral of gut-busting, deep belly laughter – which was exactly what I needed. She’s so stinkin’ cute.

The moral of this story is: Moms rock – especially mine. There is no greater earthly power than that of a mom. And as they say in the South: “wail…bless their little ol’ hearts” …all of them.

 

 

 

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