Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mother's Day: I'm of two minds

So here we are again with another Mother's Day.  Depending on who you are, and what your circumstances are, that phrase either makes you happy, or makes you very sad, or causes a great deal of anxious turmoil in your heart and mind.  Or, you don't have any kind of reaction to it at all. It's a strange sort of thing.

Today I was in the grocery store and saw all sorts of men and women frantically attempting to select the perfect bouquet at the florist counter.  It was nothing short of a mad-house in that section of the store. Much like Christmas Eve at the mall.  People utterly desperate to give the mom in their life some kind of pretty token of appreciation. If my mom and I were closer than 2600 miles apart, I'm sure I'd be getting her some pretty carnations. I might get some for myself too :)

I've been a mother myself now for 33 years. Well over half my life now. Technically, it's the one thing I have the most experience, over all else. I've had all sorts of Mother's Days from wonderful and happy to depressing and frustrating.  In our family, we don't really have a hard and fast tradition when it comes to this day. I don't know why, we just don't.

Just skimming through my social media feeds I see so much mixed emotion about this day.  So many folks my age (50+) no longer have their moms.  I feel incredibly blessed that I still do.  I also feel so sad for those that do not.  So many remember their mamas with such fondness.  The stunning photo of her as a young woman, the funny thing she always said, or her favorite hobby. Then there are those that want a child more than anything, and for some reason they just cannot have one, or haven't had one yet. For them, this day isn't really something to celebrate, but instead it's a jarring reminder their heart's desire isn't yet within their reach.

It's always curious to me how people respond to this day.  It always causes me to think about what actually being a mother means. The short of it is, it's the most impossible, terrifying, demanding, important thing I've ever failed at miserably again and again, and it's also the most amazing, wonderful role I've ever had the chance to experience. You, and you alone, as "mother" are the one person someone else looks to as an example of how to be an awesome human being.  That role of "mother" is sort of magical and horrifying all rolled into one.

In my 51 years on this planet, I have been blessed to be the mother of 8 pretty incredible people. Brandon, Caryn, Jennifer, Jessica, Jordan, Rachel, Samuel and Ruth. Seven are by birth, and one is by choice.  Through it all, I have done things I should have never done.  Said things I should have never said.  Reacted in ways I should have never even considered. Some of us have gone through death together, moving to another country, living with different relatives, marriages and divorces, fights, bullies, being homeless, jobless, carless, churchless, but never ever hopeless.  No matter what, God be praised, there was always food on the table and an "I love you" at the end of the day.

Some of us have taken amazing road trips together to awesome places, laughed all night at the fire, sat on my bed (because Mom's Bed is where you sit to do these things) and wept together as we talked through the hard things, and spent countless hours in private messaging talking through life's stuff.  Each and every one of them have nicknames for me, and I have nicknames for all of them.

I have never been the PTA mom, and I've never had a tea party.  In 33 years have baked at least 8 million cookies & whipped up 20 million smoothies for after school snacks, but I'm never ever ever going to win Mother of the Year, unless the competition qualifications have categories for sweat pants, baseball stats, baked beans and cornbread for supper, and the most ridiculous thing Mom has ever said.  I think I might have a shot at it, in that case. I think "shut your mouth and eat!" should be the golden ticket. I'm pretty proud of that particular brainless statement.

I only hope when I'm old and creepy (I think that's closer than I realize) my kids will all remember me with the same fondness I see others expressing.  I haven't always made the best choices in life but I've always made what I thought were the best choices at the time, with my kids being my #1 concern.  Some of those have turned out pretty fantastic.  Others, not so much.  It's the way life goes & there are no do-overs.  In those cases, you suck it up buttercup & move on.

So what does Mother's Day 2016 look like for me?  Drive a kid to work, hit the grocery store for school lunch stuff and dinner stuff, laundry, message my mommy (who by the way, is THE coolest mom, ever) on FB and tell her happy Mama's day, various housework, pick up a kid from work, take a nap, make dinner & eventually settle on the couch and watch tv until I remember it's a school night and tell hubby "okay bye, I'm going to bed!".  Yep, just another day, livin' the dream. :)

And I couldn't be happier. Maybe I'll get myself some carnations at the grocery store.