Tag Archives: motherhood

mothers’ day

Another mother’s day post, you say, throwing accolades at the worthy women of our lives. Well… no, not really. I’m sure you would expect nothing less from this blog than to hear something different, right?

My mother has been deceased since 2003, and I still miss her. There are many things about my mother that I don’t miss, but certainly the connection we had with each other, severed with her passing, is something that will always leave a gap in the place that she held, in my heart and in my life.

I learned from her as much how not to parent as I did how to. In between the mess of doing our worst and our best, our children take away exactly what it is that they need to know. I’m sure that somewhere down the line my son will think along similar lines… assimilate the stuff that works and reject the stuff that doesn’t.

Becoming a mother was one of the most transformational experiences of my life. Until then I could only guess at what one feels when one gives life to another human being. Until then my only point of reference to motherly love was what I felt coming from my mother, and what I in turn felt toward her.

Her love was wildly fierce, but it came mixed with so many other things, the detritus of her past that molded and shaped her into who she became. She of uncommon independence before there was a such a thing as a women’s movement. She who kicked a soviet soldier in the ass (after chasing him down, for grabbing her older sister’s breast while he and a buddy walked by on the sidewalk beside them) and cussing him out in Russian. She who, at the age of 38, with nary a suitcase of “stuff,” left her mother land and crossed a militarized border to pursue the ideal of freedom. Amazing cook… fastidious homemaker… talented clothing designer and seamstress.

She was also an unbending disciplinarian; the wooden spoon ruled in our home until I was old enough to grab it out of her hand and ask her if she’d like me to whack her with it to see if she liked how it felt. And while she may have taken care of many of my physical needs, she was inept at building my self esteem; in fact, she routinely went about tearing down the things that were meaningful to me, the things that I was vested in emotionally, based solely on the fact that they were “unrealistic.” What I remember hearing many times was “stop floating around with your head in the ether and get back down to earth.” Embittered by her own experiences, she felt that life was a pointless exercise in disappointment, rife with trials and tribulations. Cynicism hardened her to most everything, except her love for me… and then I left her as she was growing frail and elderly, to start my own life three thousand miles away.

My time away from her and the rest of my family was bittersweet. While my mother and I kept in touch long distance, it isn’t the same as having someone close by. You miss out on the day to day interactions that can be wonderful times, though in many ways the distance was a blessing, at least for me. It allowed me to grow as a human, to transcend the sort of suffocating control that my mother, my family and others who knew me from when I was a child would manage to impose on me. I broke out of the mold. I learned to breathe… and to fly.

My angel

This is Gabriel with his two birdie friends… Sky and Cloud. They’re sweet little birdies. This morning they were protesting about the clanking I was doing as I unloaded the dishwasher. Then I sat down to watch some TV and they hopped over to the lower rung by the door and were chirping at me in such a way as to indicate that they wanted out, now! and then proceeded to promptly poop on me. If shit is lucky, as my mom used to proclaim (though I fail to see how this would be the case), then I ought to go out and buy some lotto tickets, for I will surely win the big one this week. First I’ll take something for this blazing headache, though.

I got a report from the Grands last night, that Gabriel and Grandma were making busy in the kitchen, baking some mix cake. He loves to cook with me, he says, and so his great hopes for this weekend were to cook with Grandma. Grandma cooks about as much as I do, so it takes some extra effort to get her into the kitchen, but she made it, and I’m sure Gabriel will come home with happy stories tonight.

I have errands to run today, and some work around the house. I have to marble some paper, too… and see if I can assemble more of those books. Make a list of the folks who want the book and those who don’t. Pick up a tool so I can produce nice, even (and “fancy”) cuts into the watercolor paper I want to use for my next project (stay tuned). I need to finish compiling the worksheet for the accountant for the 2004 taxes and put together the 2005 expense sheet as well. The floors need sweeping and mopping. The carpets need vaccuuming. The dishwasher needs to be reloaded. Laundry needs to be done. I haven’t dusted in so long that I could peel it off of surfaces and use it as felt. Then there’s the matter of the sinks and toilets and tub. I plan big and accomplish small, but I suppose it’s better than not accomplishing anything.

So I’ll be off to Trader Joe’s in a bit, after I’ve cleaned out the fridge and assessed what we need for the week. This is where I ought to be menu planning, but instead I go to the store with the notion that I need to pick up enough “stuff” to make five or six meals, whatever that means, and end up a) spending too much money, and b) throwing most of the stuff out two weeks later, because we went to the Indian place one night and got pizza the next, ate at Claim Jumper the one after and … well, you get the picture. So I’m doubly broke, because I spent too much money on groceries I never cooked and then went out to eat on top of that. If energy wasn’t a factor, I’m sure I’d be cooking up a storm and the place would be spotless. It’s not just energy… it’s the lack of motivation. Who woke up and made *me* maid?

I wonder how I used to be able to do all of this? And commute 130 miles a day… and put it a good day’s work… and nurse (or pump) several times each day… and… … dang… small wonder I burnt out. And I did. BIG flame out. That was something to behold. And I had to deal with it on my own, because hubby was very much like a deer in headlights… “What do I do with a crazy person?” was his first (and last) thought… not “Geez, how can I help my over-extended wife?” Kick me when I’d down… I can handle it… and I did.

Thank goodness I had my little angel… I pulled through because somehow in the murk I was able to find the will to be there for him… nothing more, nothing less.