How’d I get so lucky?

11 05 2013

How’d I get so lucky?

I’ve been a lucky gal. Though my mum has been gone seemingly forever, I’ve had the great good luck to be surrounded by wise, wonderful women who rally around and do the mom thing for me when needed.

My ex-mum-in-law, Wendy, was a key mom-in-loco-parentis. Wise and strong and funny and given to saying her mind, we got along most of the time, argued some of the time. She held me together through some rough bits and one of the reasons I’m glad I married her son was because I got to know her well.

I met a group of fabulous women in Annapolis Royal, NS, when I lived there for a bit – they are still in my world, though I haven’t seen them nearly often enough lately. They are wonderfully generative women, working towards a better world in whatever way they can, through political action or guidance of youth or running parts of the community.

And I have women friends who are seemingly always there to offer guidance and love and the occasional slap upside the head I need as I wander the world.

Lucky lucky me!

Sending my love to all my adopted mums everywhere – women-s-virtual-hug_design

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Motherless daughters and sons…or why I avoid card shops in May

10 05 2013

I might have said before about how much I hate Mother’s Day.
First, I hate it cos I always review how I coulda, shoulda, woulda been a better mother. It’s kind of like New Years Day resolutions with no way for recovery. I mean, I tried to be a good mum – I used to feel pride in it, felt I knew something about it.

Truth was, my kids did ok because they are pretty fantastic people and probably the best thing I did was to get out of their way. Well, and maybe lay a few crumbs to show them some optional paths.
And of course love them, fiercely and unconditionally and with every cell of my being.
But that’s not to say I don’t regularly wish I’d done better. What mom doesn’t? It’s part of he placental hormones…

The second reason I hate Mother’s Day is that other people still have mothers and I haven’t had mine for the past twenty-one years. For the past many years, every Mother’s Day feels like a cavity, the more so because my mum, in one last fit of competition with my dad, passed away on May 10th. Right around Mother’s Day. (My dad had left us a few years earlier on Christmas Eve) I’d like to say she didn’t make it then deliberately, but my mum was a very organized person. Once it was apparent she would lose her battle with cancer, I’m sure she thought hard about a time when her passing would have the most impact. She always liked to make a grand entrance and exit…and could do both, anytime, with the lift of an eyebrow or a turn of a phrase. She knew the art of pausing at the entry of a room, waiting for heads to turn toward her before moving into the centre.

She was formidable, funny, smart as anything, and fierce. And yet, I think, a bit afraid under it all.
She never went back to the law after I was born and the family moved to the US. She would have had to write the Massachusetts Bar, something she likely could have done with ease. For some reason she never tried. I suppose my father’s verbal support didn’t translate to real support. Who knows? Sadly, I never really asked her about things. Too busy trying to live my own life.

I wish I’d asked. I wish I’d known her better. I wish we’d been able to get past out mother/child boundaries to talk more, woman to woman.

So every Mother’s Day I think about those missed opportunities, as mother and daughter, and wish I’d done better. Seeing all the pink-framed schmaltzy sentiments and discounts on shopping trips and spa treatments (something that wouldn’t appeal to either me or my mother) doesn’t help.

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Mothers and daughters and mothers and daughters on and on and on

6 05 2012

ImageSo here comes another Mother’s Day, and with it the maelstrom of feelings that are associated with this Hallmarky “holiday”. I have a hate-hate relationship with Mother’s Day. When I was a kid, it was a day when I would try to connect with my mother, unsuccessfully. I always did something minimal for Mother’s Day – as an unemployed poor person for most of my mother-daughter relationship, I resorted to “Spritual Bouquets” (home made cards offering prayers for the person) or something equally forgettable. I don’t remember Mother’s Day particularly well. I suppose we went out to eat. Or something. It all seemed rather bleah.

And then I became a Mother. And after nights and nights of solo parenting while my ex was working or deployed or otherwise occupado, he never did a thing for me for Mother’s Day. “You’re not my mother,” he’d say. Yeah, true. But I’d organize the kids to do something for him for Father’s Day or do something special. Instead I reminded him to call HIS mother. It hurt, a lot. I wanted praise for a job well done, or at least a recognition that my mothering of the kids made life easier for him to father them. But maybe it didn’t. Mothers days passed. I didn’t really care.

Then my mother, ever the competitive one, superseded my father’s glorious passing on Christmas Eve to die on Mother’s Day. It was a blatant attempt to win in the sympathy contest. It worked. So Mother’s Day became even more rife.

I used to be proud of my parenting. I stayed at home for a few years (we were lucky enough to do this), and I thought I’d done a good job. In amongst the child rearing, while my mum was still around, I fought her influence on me. We were never close, and this I regret. As I’ve said elsewhere, Karma sucks, and now the pride I took in parenting is shadowed by the ongoing break existing between my daughter and I.  It’s still deep and dark and murky and I can’t see a way past it. I dread coming to the realization that I may never see her again. And that this may be what she wants. Yowza.

I sense my mother had her difficulties with her mother, too. She was one of the youngest of a large clan and her mother was ferocious. I imagine little foolishness was tolerated. My mum moved away from her mother and stayed away. We saw her mother now and again, but I didn’t get the feeling that they were bosom buddies or anything. Our family never said they loved each other – I’m sure my mother’s family would have thought that was just a terribly odd thing to say.

Maybe that’s the way daughters and mothers exist, but I am not sure about that. Today I saw a mother and daughter out for lunch together, laughing and enjoying being together, and my heart broke – for the lost opportunities with my mum, now long gone, for the years passing away from my daughter.

This Mother’s Day is also my daughter’s birthday. Plus it will be about 5 years since we’ve talked. Have I mentioned my hate-hate relationship with the day? So this Mother’s Day, I get to relive my mother and my daughter, my cold and now lost marriage, and all that crap. I suspect I’ll have to hit the beach and throw some rocks.

On the good side, I have two lovely sons. Thank god. And a friend who knows how important it is to get some positive stroking on this sharp, painful day. I love them all dearly.

So, all the rest of you – go talk to your mothers. Yeah, they’re insufferably boring and intrude into your life and say things that hurt and mess with your head. They probably wear horrible clothes and are shockingly clued out. But trust me, even if you think you hate them, you’re gonna miss them when they’re gone. See them while you can.

Miss you, mum. Hope you are somewhere beautiful. Love you.





Wow. I have GOT to stop eating Marmite before bedtime, or Happy Mother’s Day!

8 05 2011

Had one of those wonderful sleeps where I dreamt of being sucked up in a tornado, of having the medical clinic where I worked taken over by a Chinese food company, and last but not least, of a flood where I lost my husband and pulled him bodily out of the water – but I also lost my son, who was bitten by a poisonous snake and, of course, died. I’m exhausted, but primarily because I spent the rest of the night screaming NOOOOOOOOO at the top of my lungs. I do hope it wasn’t out loud, as my neighbors will be wondering. Although my dog did wake me up with those nervous, are you okay, type kisses….

I blame the combo of a sip of Glenmorangie and some toast and Marmite as my nighttime snack, totally undeserved as I had enjoyed a lovely church supper earlier in the evening. Or the darn groaning pigeons flapping about on the balcony overhead.

In any case, it reminded me that this is Mother’s Day, and how I feel for mothers anywhere who have lost their children, how gut wrenching that is. Heck, my daughter is just away, not gone, and I know I grieve that every day. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose a child for real. What I felt in that dream was an animal, deep, unreasoning upwelling of grief. And suddenly I understand the howling mobs of mothers whose children are lost in war, whose daughters vanish and are never found, whose sons are shot in violence they can only begin to understand, machismo gangs or drug confusion or foolishness, whose children die of unexpected illness well before their time.

I was telling my friend yesterday that I felt a certain sympathy for the Virgin Mary – the life she led was a tough one, according to the stories, and I have to admit I wouldn’t enjoy it. I envision her somewhat like my mom, head in hands, moaning, “where did I go wrong?”, as that cheeky Son of hers started telling everyone what He knew, as she awaited the results of His actions.

We mothers love our ratbag children, even though on some level we know they don’t necessarily do much to deserve it, and we recognize that we don’t own them and must give them freedom to be who they are. Even if that means we risk losing them, forever.

It’s not easy, though. In such a visceral way, they are a part of us.  They WERE part of us, for at least a few months. Which accounts for the howling anguish when one is lost.

So today, mothers and children all, take a moment to think of these mothers, who lost their children. Send them a thought, a mental hug of sisterhood, as you delight in your hand-made cards and breakfasts in bed and treats. It is tough to lose a mother – I know. But to lose a child…

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you who mother, whether it be your own child or someone else’s. And thoughts to all of you who have lost, mother or child.








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