1. I have six children ages 6 to 22. I would like to formally announce that being the mother of my 6 year old, hands down is easier than being a mom to my 16, 19 and 22 year olds! and frankly the last six years with her has been a lot easier than the last six years with them!
2. Now granted, part of that is because my daughter loves me unconditionally and her eyes I can do no wrong. She sits beside me doing her school work or painting a picture and her sentences are peppered with, "Right mama?" as if she knows all the answers and she knows all the answers are right because she has run them by me and I have approved them! She is always drawing me pictures that have big hearts and flowers and the words "Rosie Loves Mom" on them. I can't sit down to watch t.v. before she is in my lap within the first 60 seconds. If I cry at a sad show (or Hallmark commercial) she hugs me and kisses my face and says, "Don't worry mama, you still have me and I'll be with you forever and ever!" But last week she put my face in her hand and said, "Mama, I want to die when you die. I never want to be without my mama."
3. And I absolutely balled. Because I don't like being without my mama at all. It has been 2 1/2 years since she died and I still find myself heading for the phone to tell her something, or I see or hear something that I want wish I could share with her. I still miss her so much. And I hate that someday my children might feel the same way. So I told Rosie,
"I'm going to try to live a long, long time and be a really old lady before I die, OK? and then you have to try to do the same thing for your little girl - live a long long time! But then we'll both have to be very good so we can meet up in heaven - OK?" She smiled, gave me a kiss, and was on her way. I guess that's a plan.
4. I am not sure however that my older children feel that way. In fact, I am rather sure that if I were to meet with demise within the next week or so, they would be fine with that. Because it is damn hard to be the mother of older children/teens/young adults. I think it is particularly hard to be the mother of such young men, because not only are they trying to pull away and assert themselves as adults, but they are also trying to pull away from mama and become men. So it's a double whammy. It's a difficult balancing act of acknowledging their independence, manhood, and legal status as adults, while still trying to insert some moral guidance or even common sense without stirring up resentments.
Simcha Fisher summed it up in such a beautiful way this week - it really took my breath away!
To become a mother, I had to learn how to care about someone more than I did about myself, and that was terrible. But who I am now is something more terrible: the protector who can’t always protect; the one with arms that are designed to hold, always having to let go.
But I hold in my heart the greatest of all consolations, the hope of heaven. For I realize, that even when my body is well past the age of bearing babies, even if I should live until I am 100, always, I will be an expectant mother, until the day I hold my babies for eternity.
6. Glennon Melton had an interesting article on the Huffington Post this week.
Now. I'm not suggesting that the sweet old ladies who tell me to ENJOY MYSELF be thrown from a mountain. These are wonderful ladies. Monkees, probably. But last week, a woman approached me in the Target line and said the following: "
At that particular moment, Amma had arranged one of the new bras I was buying on top of her sweater and was sucking a lollipop that she must have found on the ground. She also had three shop-lifted clip-on neon feathers stuck in her hair. She looked exactly like a contestant from Toddlers and Tiaras. I couldn't find Chase anywhere, and Tish was grabbing the pen on the credit card swiper thing WHILE the woman in front of me was trying to use it. And so I just looked at the woman, smiled and said, "Thank you. Yes. Me too. I am enjoying every single moment. Especially this one. Yes. Thank you."That's not exactly what I wanted to say, though.
I think you're missing the point. Maybe "Seize the day" isn't quite the message. Perhaps it should be more along the lines of, "CHILL OUT! These little antics and shenanigans are annoying now, but they will pass. And you will miss them! Enjoy them now!" Because some day, you really, really will.Ah... the good old days when they weren't sneaking out of the house, ingesting who knows what, and totally trashing the moral code you raised them with!
But at the same time I get it. It's hard to be enjoying every minute when your kid just blew out of the diaper and is screaming at the top of his lungs. But I digress.
One of the lovely Huff po commenters wrote:
You know, if you went up to a perfect stranger in labor and told her, "I remember having my babies, enjoy every minute of it," you'd very likely get punched in the face before the nurse could call security. All mothers seek wisdom from people who've done it before--older women that they know who know them. To go up to a perfect stranger and assume you can tell her anything about what she's going through isn't wise, it's rude. And really, what you're telling her is, "Now that my mortality is a more relevant concern, I want to call attention to the fact that I miss it, and I want you to take care of me by letting me say my little thing so I can feel like I did something nice for a harried mom." I hope if I ever miss staying up until three in the morning because I need to get the bingo marker stains out of every piece of livingroom furniture before it sets, that I don't accost a stranger to tell her so. Instead, I hope I call up my daughter-in-law and ask if she'd like me to take the kids for the weekend.Somehow, I don't think she'll ever get any friendly old ladies coming up to her to say much of anything other than excuse me.
And it's probably because of ladies like that I just smile and turn the other way when I see a mom in the throws of motherhood trying to manage lots of kids at the store... seeing as my mortality is a relevant concern and all these days.
Snarkiness aside, Glennon did have a wonderful way of writing what she wished would happen and I am making note of it:
"It's helluva hard, isn't it? You're a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She's my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours till bedtime." And hopefully, every once in a while, I'll add -- "Let me pick up that grocery bill for ya, sister. Go put those kids in the van and pull on up -- I'll have them bring your groceries out."
7. On Christmas Eve I put one of these lights on my mom's little niche. More than two weeks later it was still shining. Which makes me think from now on, forget the flowers - I'm stocking up on these little lights.
It just made me feel good to see that little light flicker after so long. I can't explain why.