Today is Mother's Day, which is just lovely for us mothers, but maybe not so much for those who have lost their mothers, had not-so-great mothers, or for women who wish to be mothers but cannot for whatever reason, or have lost children along the way.
With that in mind, our church's ECW wanted to honor ALL women this Sunday with a token of love.
Some women protested - "Oh, I'm not a mother!" but were pleased to be included and given a rose anyway. It really was a lovely way to acknowledge the day without beating people about the heads with MOTHERHOOD.
As I get older, I know more people who have lost their moms. Some are older than me, some my age, and a surprising number who are younger than I am. For many, it's been a wrenching loss that is felt again on Mother's Day.
And then, there are the mothers who don't have children anymore. These are even more difficult. I will be having dinner tonight with a friend who has lost both her children... A son in his teens to a car accident, and more recently her daughter. My husband is feeling nervous about this dinner, but I think she needs friends around - today in particular and feeling nervous is no reason to avoid dinner on this day. He'll be fine once we're there.
I think part of the reason it hurts to think about is because I know how I would feel. I am lucky in that I still have my mom and she's a treasured part of my life. I still have my son who is my brightest light and the center of my little universe.
I also have a vivid imagination and I know what grief I will have when my mom finally moves on out of this life and into the next. I know she will be free of pain and free of worry - but I also know I will miss her desperately, so I spend as much time with her, either in person or on the phone, as I can because I know that one day I won't be able to.
I cannot fathom the grief I would feel if something happened to my son. Words can't begin to describe the panic that strikes my heart at the very idea. And this is one reason why dinner tonight is important.
My life changed when I became a mother. In a basic, most fundamental way. It makes you almost schizophrenic sometimes. Cokie Roberts put it well: Before I was a mother, I never knew I could love so fiercely or be so angry. It's true! All that mother bear stuff - absolutely true. Much of that anger is actually fear. How could he take chances like that? If he never straightens up, he'll never be able to support himself. What if one of these stunts takes him away from me forever?
I take being a mother seriously. My job is to love this kid as much as I can, to raise him to be a self-supporting, productive and kind adult. And to let him go when the time comes.
THAT may be the hardest part of being a mother. The letting-go. It may also be the most rewarding.
Saturday, May 04, 2013
This is my baby. My 5'7" baby who started out his life at 20" long (please note that we measure babies like fish and it's only once they pass 3 feet tall that they get the dignity of a foot-inch measurement). He is now officially 14 after having longed for that number for over 6 months. Once, when he was 5 or 6, he told me he didn't want to get any older. He wanted to stay my little boy forever. I told him as gently as I could then, that there was no way to stay 5 or 6 and still be alive - that living meant getting older. That made him sad, but he said he'd go ahead and grow up if he had to.
These days, he can't wait to get older. As soon as he turned 14, he started talking about getting a job and how he can't wait to turn 16 so he could drive and date. As thrilled as I am about him growing up, I'm a little sad too. He doesn't need or want my help much anymore. He's happy when we have to leave him home alone. I am glad he's turning into a self-sufficient person. Really! And when it's time for him to walk out the door, I hope I can wave gaily and save my tears for after the door has closed.
On the same day my boy turned 14, my marriage turned 18. 18 years ago on that very same date, Darling Man and I walked back up the aisle at Ruge Hall's Chapel of the Resurrection after being pronounced "Man and Wife" by Fr. Harry Douglas, Jr. It really was a resurrection for me, of sorts. After having one bad marriage, I knew I loved Darling Man but wasn't so sure I'd be able to do this marriage thing. Turns out I could! 18 years later, we still look at each other in disbelief at our good fortune in finding each other.
This year's celebration of the Anniversary/Birthday was a little different from the usual. Darling Man's father was still in the hospital after having had his hip replacement repaired and there had been a few setbacks. He and his brother and sister-in-law and I were now taking turns watching over our mother/-in-law who has Alzheimers. We now have a new-found knowledge of the hero my father-in-law has been in taking care of her. Anniversary Day was one of our days with her, so she tagged along for our celebratory dinner.
She absolutely adores our boy and had fun watching him and his dad shoot straw covers at each other and toasting the day with chocolate milk (ZBoy) and iced tea (MIL).
For dessert, Z had the most disgusting thing... it was a Maple/Bacon milkshake! The very idea made my skin crawl, but I did taste it out of curiosity. Surprisingly, it didn't taste like anything at all! I'm not sure how that could be, but he seemed to be enjoying it.
Afterwards, very satisfied guys sat around and stroked their real and imaginary beards while we women looked on in amusement. Crazy guys.
It wasn't the most romantic of days, but this is where we are right now. Living life and taking whatever is thrown at us together.
On second thought... that's VERY romantic.
Friday, April 26, 2013
Spring is definitely here. Grandma's Gerber has popped up her head from her pot.
The aloes are in bloom and it's just a matter of time before the hummingbirds visit.
The knockout roses are suddenly going gangbusters and I'm regretting not pruning them back on Valentine's day like I should have. The bushes are all leggy. Perhaps after this first blush, I'll hack them back - but I can't bear to do it when they're covered with beautiful blossoms.
This is what my little garden looks like right now. It's a raised bed in front of my walk to the front door. Lemon tree is out there in the upper left corner. Now I've got two blueberry bushes to add to this as well!
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
I thought about all the things she would never experience because typing in "OMG" was so much more important than driving her car. Getting her first real job. Having her heart broken. Finding a real and true love. Having her own home. Giving birth and raising amazing children. Being old enough to have a favorite book, movie or wine. Finding faith. Watching her parents grow old and mining the treasure that unveils. Experiencing grief. And learning that no matter what life throws at you, life goes on and gets better.
Unless you die first.
I also read today about the first recorded texting-helicopter crash. A medical helicopter pilot was so busy texting that he didn't notice he was out of fuel. The crash claimed four lives - the pilot, a patient, a nurse, and a paramedic.
Back in 2008, a train driver was blamed for the worst US train crash in 15 years - the cause? He was sending and receiving text messages seconds before his crowded commuter train skipped a red light signal and collided head on with a freight train killing 25 people and injuring 135. I remember how shocked the country was by that.
Will people never learn?
Caution: Graphic Video
Perhaps it's time our eyes were opened.
As of now, the state of Florida does not have any laws on the books that prohibit texting and driving. Last year a bill was put forth in the Legislature and made it through 4 votes in the Senate, but was never signed off on or enacted. It died in the Senate Transportation Committee.
Another bill has been introduced this year in both the House and Senate, but makes texting and driving a secondary offense - which means the driver would have to be pulled over for some other reason before they could be charged with a violation of a texting and driving ban. The fines for that offense would be $30 + court costs for a first offense and $60 + court costs for a second.
I suppose that could be counted as progress, but how effective would it be? The fines are a slap on the wrist and being a secondary offense rather than a primary meriting a traffic stop on the basis of texting and driving alone may render the law useless.
And all the while, the bodies are piling up.
My son is turning 14 this year. In two more years, he'll be out there on the road. He doesn't text at all, but he may be killed by some idiot who's not paying attention to their driving. As a new driver, he may not have the skills or built-in reactions to deal with a car veering into his lane. We'll do everything we can to make sure he is a safe and conscientious driver - but as of now, there's nothing that can be done about the other kids out there. One hopes that the Legislature will create and pass a bill that has some teeth in it. One that will actually save lives instead of pretending to save them.
My baby is going to be out there. OMG.