Published! Thank you, Scary Mommy!

Well, it doesn’t seem real, but one of my blog posts has been published on Scary Mommy!  It’s a parenting website with about 1.4 million followers!  If you’re interested, here is the link:  Being A Mom Without A Mom.

What makes this so interesting is that I didn’t write this article with the intent to publish it.  Once again, I was feeling strong emotions and just jotted this down as a blog post.  I shared it with some of my Facebook friends.  It received positive feedback.  A few of my friends encouraged me to submit it.

I was honestly on the fence about it.  This piece is about my mother.  She was an incredibly private person, so I struggled with this.  I didn’t want to do anything that would violate her personal life.  That’s the main reason I haven’t really published anything about what happened to her during her 15-year illness.  I have about 300 pages from my days of sitting next to her in the hospital, rehab facilities, nursing home and finally, in her house, under hospice care.

I don’t know if I would ever publish that.  My wounds are still too raw from the entire experience.

But I think this piece really shows how much I loved her.  And still love her.  So, I dedicate this to you, Rita.  I love you.  I miss you.  I wish you were still here.  Until we meet again.

 

 

Being A Mom Without A Mom

Earlier this summer, I fed my daughter in the picnic area of the park. After watching my husband push my son on the swings for a few moments, I noticed a young mother sitting at picnic table next to me. She was feeding a baby close to my daughter’s age. An older woman, who I assumed was the young woman’s mother, fussed over a little boy close to my son’s age.

I quietly watched them as my daughter drank her milk. When the baby started to fuss, the young woman asked with exasperation, “What do I do?” Her mother immediately picked up the baby and gestured to her daughter. “Go take Jake to the playground.” The young woman’s weary face lit up.  “Are you sure?”

“Absolutely,” the older woman said, as she rubbed the wailing infant’s back. “I have this.” The young woman and her son smiled at each other and rushed off to the playground, while the older woman walked around the picnic area, trying to soothe the baby.

I felt a pang of envy as I looked at my own infant daughter. I don’t have anyone to do that for me. My mother passed away several years ago. And while I don’t begrudge any woman for having her mother, I wish my mother was still around for so many things.

I wish my mother knew that she had a grandson. After a year in hospice care, she died when my son was six weeks old. My mother had two daughters. She doted on all of her nephews. It would have thrilled her to have a grandson. Although I brought my son to visit her one time, near the end of her illness, I don’t know if she remembered that visit.

I wish my mother knew that she had a granddaughter. My little girl already comports herself like a lady. She is very much like her grandmother. Just as beautiful and feisty. Each smile is sweet and each gesture is graceful. My mother once told me that she “bossed people around with a smile.” She would have adored her tiny doppelgänger.

I wish my mother had brought me food when I first delivered the babies. She was the most amazing cook I’ve ever met. My mother could just taste something at a party and recreate it at home without at recipe. It would have brought her so much joy to whip something up in the kitchen and bring it over to my house when she visited her new grandchild.

I wish I could have called my mother when I was freaking out about the babies.  She would have known exactly how to calm my fears and assure me that everything would be okay.  Instead, I relied on Google, friends and any parenting book I could purchase.

I wish I could have cried on my mother’s shoulder when I felt like I was a failure as a parent. Or on those days when I felt so lost and alone. She would have listened to me and more importantly, really UNDERSTOOD me. No one understands you like your mother does.

I wish my children had one more person in their lives who thinks that they’re perfect. Someone who finds their temper tantrums adorable and plays Candy Land twenty times without appearing bored. My mother was an artist, who taught me how to draw flowers. She would have been so proud of her grandson’s blossoming artistic abilities. In my dreams, I see the two of them hunched over a table, as my mother guides my son’s hand along the paper.

But most of all, I wish I could tell my mother how much I admire and respect her. I never realized what an amazing woman she was until I had children. My mother juggled raising two small children, managing a household, and putting herself through school to obtain a master’s degree in clinical psychology. She devoted her life’s work towards helping the most challenging people in society:  prisoners and the mentally ill.

Each day I look into the faces of my children and feel my mother’s presence. I see her sweetness in my daughter’s smile and her fire in my son’s eyes. I hope that wherever her spirit lies, she knows that I am proud to be her daughter.

The Five Reasons That I Love Starbucks

Clearly, I have addictive tendencies, because in addition to my Facebook “issue,” I have another problem.  Starbucks.

I spend way too much money at Starbucks.  It’s ridiculous.  Who pays $4-$5 for a cup of coffee?  What am I getting for the money?  Some steamed milk, espresso shots and flavored liquid sugar.  I mean, syrup.

So, what is it about that place that keeps luring me in?  Why don’t I take all of the money that I spend on caramel macchiatos and buy something to improve the “slobby chic” look that I sport each day?  Here are five reasons:

The Unlimited Supply of Caffeine

I’ll be honest.  I gave up coffee during pregnancy, so for a while, I functioned like a normal human being without it.  But after my daughter was born, I regained my dependency on caffeine.  Once again, I suffer from headaches without coffee.

So why don’t I just stay home and brew my own coffee?  You can’t see me, but I’m making a face.  I spend my days getting food and drinks for other people (a.k.a. the kiddos).  To me, it’s worth looking like a hobo to have someone bring me a drink for a change.

The Smell

I’m a stay-at-home mom (SAHM). I do my best to keep the house clean and fresh.  But in the battle against stink, I’m losing.  Each day, I play two games:  “What’s that smell?” and “Where is it coming from?”  Is it food?  Is it old diapers?  Is it small animals?  I have no idea.  I think the kids are secretly stashing crap under the floor boards.  Why?  Either to get me to take them out of the house or to drive me crazy.

They’re successful on both fronts.  I can stay home with them and remain ensconced in the stench of decomposition.  Or I can go out in to the world, see real adults, and inhale the aroma of freshly ground coffee at Starbucks.  It’s no contest.  Coffee beats decomposition.

The Greeting

My children are adorable.  They really are.  But the way they greet me each morning leaves something to be desired.  My four-year old son growls at me.  I didn’t think I’d have to deal with this for another ten years, but yep.  He’s already a cranky nightmare when I have to wake him up for school.  My one-year old daughter smiles until I place her on the changing table.  Then she winds up to bite, slap or kick me in the face.  For some reason, she prefers to sit in her own filth.

When I go to Starbucks, no one growls at me.  Someone actually smiles without physically assaulting me.  It’s a refreshing change.

The Language

As a SAHM, I don’t get to travel much anymore.  I mean, my kids watch Barney and during the past season, that dopey purple dinosaur has been visiting different countries.  But he still speaks in English, so I don’t consider that foreign language immersion.  When I go to Starbucks, I get to pretend that I’m visiting a foreign country.  And not just any foreign country.  A really snooty foreign country where they treat you like garbage if you don’t speak their language.

For those of you who don’t know, Starbucks has its own language.  It’s called Bux-ese.  I’ve spent the past decade studying it, so I’m fairly fluent.  I can order a grande, nonfat, no foam, extra drizzle, caramel macchiato like a native.  So see, kids.  It pays to stay in school.

The “Crappy to Happy” Hour Shift

The social calendar at our house includes a daily event called “Crappy Hour.” Everyone is invited, but the only people who show up are my son, my daughter and me. It involves a lot of blatant defiance, yelling and tantrums. My husband manages to leave the house right before it starts. His excuse is work, but I have my doubts. I think he’s just going to Starbucks.

Once I manage to drop my son off at school without pulling the hair out of my head, I have thirty precious minutes before I have to rush my daughter back home for the morning nap.  Apparently, I’m not the only one with this window of opportunity. Sometime after nine in the morning, a herd of stroller-pushing SAHM’s descends on the local Starbucks. All of us have the same frazzled look.  We just survived Crappy Hour. It’s time for Happy Hour. Or Happy Half Hour. Whatever it is, we’ll take it.

Five Ways Karma Changed Me Since Becoming A Mom

A Writing Mama's Journal

Karma has it in for me.  You may not believe me, but it’s true. Since becoming a mother, I’m doing all sorts of things that I swore I would never do. Here are just a few examples of how Karma smacked me back to humble reality:

I never thought I could forget my purchases at the store.    

Last week, I officially lost my mind. I arrived at this conclusion when I nearly pulled out of the grocery store parking lot without my groceries. The teenager behind the customer service counter looked at me with pity when I rushed back inside the store and explained what happened. “Well, it could be worse,” the girl tried to console me, as she handed me my groceries. “At least you didn’t forget your baby in the store.”

Is this my future? Forgetting my children in public places? As I walked out of the…

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