Happy Mothers Day

That time again—wow the year has been a blur for moms out there. Hey Ma, can you lend me ten bucks to get you a present? Thanks, you’re the greatest!

From the children of mothers at ReadThisPlease to those in our society who spring forth life and love, a few tales and anecdotes just about mothers…

 

I Will Think Of Her
by Adrienne S Moody

My biological clock ticked loudly in my 20’s. I had my mind made up, though. I didn’t want to be a mother. From what I could see, it was a thankless and unrewarding role in life. The position held no value in my mind. At the age of 29, however, I had a complete change of attitude. It began with having my heart stolen by a little imp of a child, my brother’s youngest boy. It happened quite unexpectedly, a night under the slip of a moon, with the firelight dancing in his eyes, he let me hold him on my lap as the adults conversed back and forth. We were at a campsite in northern Alberta and it was one of those reunions that families have where everyone is getting along, everyone is healthy and well. An interlude in life, a pause. No worries. Babies being born and baptisms. Baby showers to attend and gifts to buy. Tummies to be admired and for me, feared. And as I held this tiny being and watching him fall asleep I realized I didn’t want to miss out on this. I wanted my own little Brian. I bargained with God, as night fell deeply, that I would have a child, but only if I could have one like this. I wanted a boy.

A few years later he was born. I didn’t expect to feel the love I felt. I was not the mother that my mother was. I’ve made so many mistakes and now, in hindsight, I know there are so many things I would do differently. Welcome to a mother’s guilt. I think we all harbour this. I didn’t give him solid parenthood with the father and mother together. He didn’t live in the corner house with window boxes and a white picket fence. There wasn’t always a square meal at the table and I know I sent him to school once without proper outerwear for the season. I was so imperfect.

I remember when my mother was still alive, when my youngest sister remained at home while she finished med school. I remember how mom accepted being treated badly. My sister, under a lot of pressure to achieve, would come home after school and shout at her and slam doors. One such occasion, I remarked how it pained me to see her being treated in such a disrespectful way.

“If you can’t yell at your mother, who can you yell at?” was my mother’s response.

I didn’t like that comment at all. Is this just another part of motherhood that is unavoidable, acceptable, and part of the job description? I know about that anger. I know all about the feeling that my mother owed me and didn’t pay up. I tallied up her faults as I grew into adulthood and by the time my son was born I charged her guilty. And the anger seethed in me. I know I treated her badly.

A dear friend of mine told me that he knew his son felt this way too. Just in the way his son sulked and the odd comment he threw out; my friend knew his report card as a parent wasn’t looking good. He sat his son down and had a little chat with him. A chat that I think was invaluable and I wish I’d had it myself, from my own parent. He told him very bluntly and in the way only a father can, that he owed him nothing. It was luck of the stars that the child was born to him and that was it. It ended there. He owed him zippo. So get over it kid. Life is what it is. Your childhood is over and it’s time to grow up. And the end result? He reported that the relationship has never been better.

I never told my mother just what was irking me. We had this volatile relationship that turned toxic by the time she was widowed. I did my duty grudgingly, calling her daily and listening to her lament about her life. I never gave her the true comfort she sought. And when she passed away thousands of miles from me, I took my time getting there by plane and then by bus. I didn’t want to see her. I was afraid to. I missed her by mere hours. I wrote her eulogy and stood dry-eyed in front of the mourners and gave the best speech of my life. My aunts were cold to me afterwards. They couldn’t believe a daughter would behave in such a cold way on her mother’s funeral day. My grief was buried deeply. I grieve her now in my sleep. I have these dreams where I shout at her in anger and I tell her of all the hurt deep inside of me, and I tell her that I believe it’s her fault.

I was far from the perfect mother to my son. When he tells me of how much he loves me, I can tell that he forgives me. He forgives all my weaknesses in parenting and I feel humbled. I feel I don’t deserve that. So on mother’s day, I will think of her, my mom, and ask for her forgiveness when I treated her so recklessly.

 

Mothers I’ve Known
by Gaboo

One day the wife was doing something and it backfired and she said, “That frikking thing.” The eldest child, maybe five at the time, was alarmed and said, “that’s swearing, you can’t use swearing!” She looked at him and said “That’s not swearing. F@ck, d@mn, sh!t, that’s swearing.” He went, “oh.”

~

My mom would leave me and my brother in a parked car and go shopping. We were okay with that.

~

One time my mom asked me for a foot massage. She was bagged from work. I gave her one and it didn’t feel too weird. I was okay with that.

~

Anytime something good happens, I always want to call my mother-in-law. She’s one of those squeals-with-delight people. It makes you feel like you’ve won a game show.

~

Tidings to my aunt, who occasionally dealt with me and brothers as surrogate offspring. She’s a good soul with a good heart. I treat her like a special vice-mom when she’s around, and I often imagine what she would say. Aunt G, I burnt the circle in your steering wheel with the car lighter when I was nine. I’m sorry.

 

Tough Love
by M Dawn Thacker

It was prom night and my mother had spent all she had left from her paycheck on that long periwinkle blue dress I’d been coveting for months. She curled my hair into long ringlets and applied my make-up herself, matching the eye shadow to the color of my dress. She dabbed a drop of Chantilly behind each of my ears and loaned me her good pearls. She stepped back and smiled. “You look stunning,” she said.

She took photographs of me and my date on the front porch of our duplex and helped me fold the bottom of my dress into his truck so the door wouldn’t close on it. She blew me a kiss as we drove away.

Seven hours later my date carried me to my mother’s front door and rang the bell. I was too drunk to stand. The world spun. Half a fifth of Jack Daniels didn’t mix well with Dr. Pepper and a virgin drinker.

“Why in the hell did you let her get this drunk?” She questioned my date, but didn’t wait for an answer. She directed him to carry me upstairs and deposit me on my bed. She then escorted him from the house.

My mother was the one person I could count on to be there for me, no matter what. Whenever I was sick, she was the one with me on the bathroom floor, holding me, pressing a cool washcloth to my forehead, whispering that everything would be alright. She made homemade chicken soup when I had a cold and bandaged my scraped knees. She stayed up late helping me staple and paste construction paper models of the universe for a school project, and sat on the kitchen stool reading off the recipe for enchiladas I planned to take to Spanish class. She woke me in the mornings for school and made sure I ate a hearty breakfast. She patted my back and held the tissue box when a boyfriend dumped me.

After my date slipped from the room, I lay on my bed dreading my mother’s wrath. She knew how to make me quiver with a look. She knew how to make me cry just by expressing her disappointment. She knew the most painful punishments. I was in trouble and dreaded the consequences. I fell asleep with my head full of spinning fuzz, but I was sober enough to know I needed to atone for my sins.

The first wave of nausea woke me. The room spun. I swallowed convulsively. I was going to throw up. I still had on my long formal dress and it tangled around my legs as I tried to weave my way to the bathroom. I pulled the dress above my knees and attempted to run, but the spin of the room and my navigation skills didn’t match. I bounced around in the door frame of my room and lurched across the hallway to the bathroom. I missed the toilet.

I woke again some time later. The house was dark and I was still alone. My hair was stuck to my head, wet and sour smelling. My beautiful dress was slimy and ruined. I couldn’t remember ever being so sick.

I dragged myself up and into the shower, dress and all. I turned on the water and stood under its spray, heaving and crying. Where was my mother when I needed her? How could she sleep when I was so sick? How was I going to make this right? How could something that started out so fun, turn out so horrible? How was I going to live through this disaster? What would my mother do to me?

I left my dress in a heap in the tub and stumbled back across the hall and fell into bed, my hair a tangled mess, my make up streaked down my face, and I slept.

The next morning, I could see the light through my closed eyelids, but my head hammered so badly I was afraid to open my eyes. The headache made me nauseous all over again. I knew today was the day of reckoning. I would be on the receiving end of my mother’s wrath. I would be grounded until I left for college. I’d never drive again or see my friends. My boyfriend was history. My room would become my jail cell. My television would be disconnected. I’d lose contact with the entire outside world. I wanted to roll into a ball and die.

I opened one eyelid. The room wasn’t spinning anymore. That was a good sign, but the light sent an excruciating bolt of electricity through my skull. I closed my eye again. I listened for sounds of my mother, kitchen rattles, vacuuming, the crack of a bull whip as she honed her aim. I cringed. She wouldn’t actually use a bull whip would she? I didn’t know. I’d never done anything like this before. The only sounds I heard were the birds outside my window and they were screaming.

I continued to lay there. I couldn’t get up. My head pounded. Movement made me sick. The thought of food made me sick. The thought of television, radio or reading made me sick. Then, I heard a faint sound from the first floor, footsteps ascending the stairs leading to the upper floor, leading to my room. They were my mother’s footsteps, slow and steady, sliding onto the hardwood steps one at a time. I counted them, trying to remember how many would bring her to the landing, then to my door. I hid behind my closed eyes and waited.

When her footsteps stopped and didn’t move past my door, I pictured her there, veins bulging at her neck, her eyebrows knitted, her fists clenched, her mouth a thin line of anger. I imagined her toe tapping against the floor. I knew she was standing there waiting to mete out my punishment.

I opened my eyes to slits and met my mother’s gaze. She stood leaning against the door jamb, arms crossed, but not looking like the monster I imagined. She didn’t say anything for the longest time. She just stared at me, her daughter, a towel covered, bedraggled, tangle-haired, make-up smeared, head pounding, mess.

When I couldn’t stand the suspense any longer and wanted to whisper to her to take out a gun and shoot me, to put me out of my misery and hers, she raised her hand, pointed a finger at me, smiled, and said, “Bet you never do that again.”

Then she turned away, walked back down the stairs, and left me to clean up my own mess.

 

From Your Sons
by Gaboo

I don’t think most new mothers are prepared for boys. They like baby boys, but by the time the kid is five or six and starts to lean out, the mother is forced into tending a roving tumbler. Boys are built to run, play, fetch, learn, test boundaries, examine worlds—and respond to praise. Essentially, what fate has loosened upon the dominion of the mother is a gangly mess maker.

Do not fret. Do not panic. Worry, anxiety, hesitation, or difficulty making a decision, including any volatile mood swing, even a minor lapse in judgement will be seen as dysfunction or worse, weakness. Boys are keeners at noting emotional distress or frustration in their peers. They categorize this pecking order within seconds. This is a skill crucial to boy-world survival so they’re constantly analyzing your performance and your response. Display a jovial, fun-loving, intelligent, TV sitcom persona at all times. This is your defense. Find a release off-site for your inner she-warrior, gnawing to strap the kid to treadmill and hit the nearest outlet mall via casino.

Instead, I invite you to see the ancient blessings that accompany a male offspring, your son, tussle-haired and grimy-faced. You see, your son is better than a border collie. More sons and you have a pack of working dogs and thrilled to be so.

For example, by age three years, the child should be actively seeking and bringing small, misplaced objects to a central depository. Lost keys, batteries, pharmaceuticals, stray laundry, or household implements—finding and returning simple objects such as these are all are positive, environmental learning opportunities and an excellent energy diversion. Fetch and reward will occupy a boy for an active portion of his day. It helps develop the child’s inquisitiveness, self reliance, and task completion abilities. Your growing son(s) can become invaluable with their small, little hands that easily locate and retrieve errant or missing objects. Lose a ring? It will most likely show up in the child’s mouth within eight hours. They pluck pennies jammed in vents, or a poker chip under a sofa.

Once you realize their on-call abilities, give them special assignments, like “can you find where Mommy left her ‘going out’ jacket?” “Or where did Mommy leave her Advil?” will get the boy looking out for your best interests. And don’t sluff giving a little adulation when the kid goes free agent and finds stuff that wasn’t really lost, just awkward and unusual, personal in nature, and most often when guests are over. But this is what you are training them for… not to accuse them of taking, but to reward them for giving. Your child will work for praise.

Boys are also observant, if you let them know what you’re looking for, like info gathering, they’ll give a fairly unbiased report. Just let them know your criteria. The world’s big to a little tike, so forget spying on the whole neighborhood, have them watching for any suits or unexpected visitors. And boys don’t understand the “he said, she said” stuff. Keep it to action/reward/next. Think of a boy as your own little Oliver Twist, a go-getter, who can keep you flush when you need good eyes or fleet feet.

I am somewhat familiar with girls, having married a woman who once was a girl, but there have been four generations of boys in our tribe. My wife became a surrogate daughter to my mother shortly after they met. A bonding thing, I guess. Now Mother occasionally calls for me, but more often she wants to talk to her daughter-in-law. I helped foster this relationship, which also frees up my time.

Remember, mothers, mishaps happen and sons take pride demonstrating they can fix their mistakes. Boys do not pop into the world set to cause damage and make wars. They are just gullible to a cause and want to be vital. They are often scared by life, yet they are loyal and trustworthy, if you can get them onto the positive track. Teach them. Help them see. Soon your challenging offspring will be your second in command.

Dearest maters, I offer these humble strategies as one of three boys to a single mother, who taught us by example how to take on the world and win. You’re our hero, Mom.

 

 

Read more M Dawn, Adrienne, and Gaboo. Click their tags. Love ya, mom.

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Comments
2 Responses to “Happy Mothers Day”
  1. Adrienne S. Moody says:

    I’ve finished raising a son, but I wish I’d read your posting before the little bundle of trouble arrived. This is a wonderful, entertaining and informative user guide.

    :-)

  2. Gaboo says:

    Most boys never grow up, so maybe it still applies.

    In simpler times a mother could lean on the village to rear a child. Just park the kid with mall security, as a lost child, and go enjoy a half hour ‘me’ time.

    Honored you read it!
    g

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