Category Archives: Family Life

This November There is Gratitude in Grief

FullSizeRender (12)You would think that a death in the family right in the middle of November, with the holidays just about to begin would send my spirit sinking like a stone to the bottom of the ocean but I had watched my husband and his sisters watch their mother suffer for a long time and I was relieved and grateful that all of this suffering could finally end and that she was finally at peace.  

It is amazing how when you make yourself look for the good and the positive you will find it and then if you continue in that way, you will find that there is more and more good coming to you.  I know that I am very fortunate and I do not know the loss of a parent.  I know that there is pain and that there will be grieving and that we need to go through all of that, but finding the good keeps us together and moving forward especially in hard times. There really is so much more good if you look for it.

When all of the people who came to Pat’s funeral got up to share about her, I was amazed at just how well we can do this.  Stubborn became strong and independent.   Mean became a hard protective exterior and that deep down she had a lot of love.  I knew that to be true.  She once told me how happy she was that her son and I found each other and  she thanked me for loving him.  It was a unique moment I remember with her and a rare glimpse into her true heart.

People all agreed that she was a strong remarkable woman who despite her major disabilities and having been dealt a shitty hand in life, still found some joy and happiness in it.  She took great pride in her beautiful family, and she was happy with simple things, like the chance to go to someone else’s house sometimes, the holidays and always keeping her mind sharp by reading and doing crosswords and playing games or facebook stalking her daughter in law and who knows who else?  She kept that dry wit and fiery competitive spirit that was Pat no matter what she was going through.   She was tenacious and fought hard for her life for 40 years!  And not only did she fight just to stay alive, but she fought to keep her life her own.   Amazing.  

I’ve learned many things from her example.  I have been given so much and I am so grateful.  I will not take any single blessing for granted.  I will live the rest of my life giving love, support and encouragement to my family, working hard and being grateful that I can do the work, taking the best care of the healthy and whole body and mind I am so fortunate to have, and helping people in need whenever I am given the gift to do so.   I will not feel guilty about taking time for myself.  I will not hold on to grudges. I will not hold back love. I will let it out and express feelings of love and appreciation and give encouragement every day to my loved ones.  I will give them my trust.  If I am down, I will resist the temptation to bring others down with me.  Instead, I will reach out for love and support.  I will accept and feel my feelings.  All of them.  I will forgive others when they mess up. I will forgive myself when I mess up, learning and growing from mistakes and always striving for progress.  I will take responsibility for my own happiness.  I will be compassionate to myself and others.  Every single day that I wake up and breathe will be a gift and a blessing and will not be wasted dwelling in discontent, but will be lived to the fullest in gratitude.  

IMG_0659As difficult as it was for Pat, she absolutely loved the holidays.  She especially loved Christmas decorating with her lights and her tree and her Dickens Village and train set, so I think I can manage to at least put up my wreath tonight.   I will light it and remember her Christmas spirit.  A wonderful gift.  Thank you Pat!

 

 

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Mothers of girls… This one’s for you!

Parenting Advice for Mothers of Teenage Girls:

FullSizeRender (25)Drink.

Seriously, sometimes you just have to drink and hope for the best.

These bitches will wreck you!

They will take all of your advice and flush it down the toilet.

They will not understand that what they do to themselves hurts you.

They will not really understand how carrying them in your uterus and then constantly tending to their every need when they were utterly helpless little bundles of human flesh, makes you love them with the most powerful love in the entire universe. IMG_0336IMG_0707

Nope.  They will not understand how they are your everything.  And this is why they don’t really care how their bad choices cause you pain.  They obviously don’t do it for the purpose of hurting you.  It may seem like they are incredibly self-centered, but they are only working on their own independence.

You will want them to grow up and be the independent strong women you know they can be, but they will be dependent where they ought to be independent and attempt to be independent where they haven’t a clue.

They will mock your warnings for their safety because they know everything but they are about as ready for the world as a housebroken puppy is to go live in the wild.

They will not really understand what would drive you to go all “mama bear” on their behalf, and how your maternal instincts to protect them from the harm that young women can fall prey to would drive you to get right up in someone’s face and verbally emasculate them; but that’s another story for another time.   I will say this, however, “Mama Bear Mode”, it’s a real thing and you do not want to be on the receiving end of that.

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Other times you may lose your shit on them, feel terrible and have to apologize.  It happens.  You may lose your mind a little because of all this crazy mama love.FullSizeRender (21)

So drink!  Drink plenty of strong coffee in the morning, water throughout the day, green smoothies and maca in your workout smoothies, because you will need to be strong for this!  Then, at the end of the day, when you have given all you can and you still feel like you’re getting absolutely nowhere, it’s okay, have a glass of wine, even if it’s from a box.  FullSizeRender (22)Give yourself a break because after all, as much as you want to prevent your daughter from ruining her life, you have to let her make her own choices, fall down and learn from her own mistakes because that is the only way she will truly grow.

Remember how frustrating letting her tie her own shoes was when she was 4? Well it’s a lot like that except as she gets older the more damage “doing it by herself” can cause.  The frustration you felt letting her tie her own shoes and wipe her own butt was just practice for you for later.  You have to let her do it.  IMG_0292

That doesn’t mean you let her walk all over you or let her run wild. You need to set boundaries.  You do not have to put up with blatant disrespect or allowing something totally unacceptable to go on without consequence.

In the process of learning from mistakes, absent the “I told you so” from you, she will gain confidence knowing that she figured things out on her own. If you are hoping for a “You were right, Mom”, you may be waiting forever.  Get over it.  Some day she may realize it but right now her growth is what is important, so try to encourage her as much as possible.IMG_0425

Above all, even if you don’t always get along and your relationship suffers for a while, make sure to tell her that no matter what you will always love her for the person she is inside and out.   She may not fully comprehend what that means right now but some day she will.

Some day, when she is up at 2 a.m. and her nipples are bleeding but she could not be more in love with this screaming poopy baby, or 18 years later, and she is at once so proud of yet so sad for her own stubborn daughter, foolishly determined to head down the path to heartbreak, maybe then she will understand and maybe then she will feel the depth and strength of your love.

Coffee daughterFinally, remember to lead by example because even though we all become our own unique selves,  whether we like it or not,  we all become our mothers.

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