Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day Post

It's Mother's Day always sneaks up on me. Partly because we don't really plan anything "special" for the holiday. My idea of a perfect Mother's Day is a quiet day with the kids and JeepMan, maybe going to a movie or a park, just hanging out. Fancy brunch? Big gifts? Corsages and hoopla? Not my bag. Maybe when I'm older, but right now I like to celebrate Mother's Day by being a mom.

Unfortunately I get so caught up in my own motherhood that I tend to forget it's not just a special day for me, but for my own Mom, and JeepMan's Mom, and even the Grandmas (we each have one living, aren't we blessed?). Which is why there is no card in the mail as we speak for any of the above. It's lame, and maybe a little self-centered...I've just been so busy I forgot. Vaguely in my mind I've been semi-conscious that Mother's Day is "coming up;" now all of a sudden it's HERE.

My gift for Mother's Day is twofold: JeepMan came home today from Utah. I can't even tell you how happy I was to see him!! I always maintain that my alone-time is sacred and I don't get enough of it...well, I had my fill. A week with no kids and no husband is just too much. I have actually been lonely, and it's been a very, very long time since I could say that.

Also we're picking up the kids today from the MIL's. I am sure they will be spoiled-rotten, sugar-crazed, whiny, and cranky. Funny, MIL says they're always just perfect until I get there. What. Ever. I just smile politely and repeat my "MIL mantra" (in my head):

We're lucky we have family around to give us a break...we're lucky we can have couple-time...the kids aren't any worse for wear...their baby teeth will fall out so it doesn't matter if they haven't been brushed for a whole darn week....lalala, lalala...ohmmmm......

Anyhow, the point of this post is that this IS my Mother's Day Card for my own Mom. She reads this blog, so she will certainly read this.

My Mom didn't start out as my friend. She was, first and foremost, a Mother. As I grew and matured, our friendship developed, but she'll always, always be Mom first.

Mom had me when she was young (23), and a newlywed. There wasn't much time for her and Dad to be newlyweds before I came along. I was a surprise and, I suspect, a fairly large impetus in their decision to wed. 35 years later, they're still happily married, so I consider myself to have been a serendipitous surprise. From The Now, we can look back and say, "How wonderful...what a lovely story." I suspect, however, that it wasn't always sunshine and roses.

From my own experience, I know that children drastically change a couple's life. They add stress. They add chaos. They bring out the little differences in people and amplify them exponentially. Don't get me wrong, kids are fantastic! I wouldn't trade mine for the world, and if I had to make the choice again, I'd do it all over without hesitation. I'm just saying that it was a damned hard transition. JeepMan and I had the benefit of five years married and 3 together before that. My folks had 6 months married, and only a few more together before their wedding.

I can't imagine having a brand new husband that I was still getting to know, a baby on the way, and a life to desperately arrange! And yet my childhood was amazing. My parents got along so well, and if there were fights, my sister and I certainly weren't witness to them. Mom tells the story of how she had my sister and I packed up and ready to leave Dad at one point because he wouldn't quit smoking. I used to giggle crazily over that story, mostly because I couldn't imagine my mother taking that kind of stand...not in a million years! Dad must have been equally impressed because he did, in fact, quit smoking.

Mom worked part-time as a nurse (my inspiration!) and still made time to lavish us with affection and attention. Some of my favorite memories are of finger-painting at the kitchen table, baking chocolate-chip cookies (I thought she was SO strong because she could beat that stiff cookie dough with a wooden spoon!), Mom reading us Dr. Seuss and Disney books, lying on the floor with her for those special rare times when she would play Barbies with Tiff and I. I loved going out to the garden with her to plant, weed, and harvest. I became a "rock-hound" walking our gravel road with Mom, eyes down, scanning for that telltale glint that might be a shiny quartz crystal among the dusty chunks of limestone.

She and Dad were a united front: them against us. Oh, if one told you "no," you could try to hit up the other but it was pretty rare for them to disagree. I really only remember two times where I was left slack-jawed because of my mother's blatant defiance of my dad's wishes.

The first time, I was about 9 or 10. We had gone to the "big city," the capitol of our state, which was 30 miles away. We went there frequently as there wasn't much to do in our little town. We had shopped most of the day, and when it was time for supper we were all famished, but couldn't agree on what to eat. This was not unusual, but in the end someone would always compromise and we would come to a group consensus. This time there was no consent: we girls had all compromised and decided we would be OK with Chinese, but Dad wanted nothing to do with it! He finally got so disgusted that he just drove us home. We were so hungry, Tiff and I cried the whole way home. We pulled into the driveway, and as Dad opened the door to get out, Mom said, "Girls! Stay in the car. We're going out for Chinese. The Heck with your Dad!" And by golly, that's just what we did. We all felt strangely defiant, like co-conspirators against Dad, but it was a lot of fun and a great bonding experience with Mom.

The other time Mom put her foot down had results that were a lot more permanent. It was the summer before my Sophomore year of high school. Dad had been working a lot, and when he wasn't working, it seemed like he was on the golf course more than he was home. This was kind of unusual...Dad wasn't a big golfer in general, but he had certainly found a renewed enthusiasm that particular summer. The common goal of the summer for my sister and I was to talk our folks into letting us get a puppy. Mom was "iffy," Dad was dead-set against it. We begged and begged, and every Sunday when the classifieds came out we would scour the ads looking for Pug Puppies. It was hit-or-miss as there didn't seem to be a lot of Pug breeders in the area. One Sunday, we showed Mom a new ad. Dad was off golfing. The breeder wasn't too far away, maybe 20 miles, and we begged her to take us, just to look. Were we surprised when she said, "We might do more than just LOOK...your father has been doing an awful lot of golfing this summer; I think we girls might just have to go get us a puppy." We waited until he got home: she told him how it was going to go down, then off we went! After a wimpy attempt at protest, dad packed us all into the car. It was like he knew not to argue about this one. And we came home with the cutest little pug puppy you ever did see.

I could write pages and pages here, but the point of all this is that my Mom is the absolute best. I love you Mom...Happy Mother's Day.

When I was an infant, she sustained me. When I was a child, she guided me. When I was a teen, she watched over me. When I was an adult, she lovingly released me. And when I became a Mother, she became a Grandmother... and my friend. Through it all, she has been my rock, my foundation, my home. Through it all, she has loved me, and in so doing, personified the quintessence of motherly love. - mom-in-scrubs


Debbielou said...

Wonderful post !
Happy Mothers Day xx

SUV MAMA said...

So sweet!

I'm with you, Mama. The perfect mother's day is spent, well, being a Mom!

I hope your Mom appreciated the post, it was lovely.

Was JeepMan Jeepin' in Utah? :) I'm glad you all were together on Mother's Day, anyway.

Monnik said...

Aw.... What a great post. I agree - your mom is one amazing woman. And she did a pretty fantastic job of raising her girls.

Monnik said...

oh, and sniff, sniff... I miss Indy. Even though I still maintain that he was one FUGLY (or should I say PUGLY) dog.

Tiff said...

Well, I have to agree - we do have an amazing mom! Thanks for saying it in a much more eloquent way than I could have.

Glad you had a good Mother's day. Sometimes the relaxed days around the house with the family are the best.

And Monnik - Indy was not FUGLY ;-)

Ello said...

This was a wonderful post! Your Mom sounds great. In fact, she sounds like me! No wonder I like her! The dinner story sounded so similar to one I have that it could be virtually identical, except for the 30 mile drive. But the outcome was the same, I dropped cranky, grouch husband home all by himself to eat mac and cheese and me and the girls went out to chinese. See, the chinese part was the key! Great tribute!

Anonymous said...

Lovely mom's day memories. My mom (who now lives with me) has a Pug. My mom was an awesome example of motherhood because she raised the two of us all by herself when the dad unit dumped us. And she the the coolest mom whom all my friends came to ask questions of, and they all wanted to hang out at our house because of her coolness.