Posts Tagged With: mothers and daughters

Girlie Hotel Weekend

Columbus Day.
Seems such a sham now we have a much more detailed history of his actions.
But I got a day off school, so I’m not complaining.

Three day weekends are a blessing no matter what your day job.
I took mine and went to see Thing 2.

I left school at 2:00 Friday afternoon and pulled into the driveway here just before 5:00 Monday afternoon.
It was fast and furious, but it was worth it!

We tried to plan one of these weekends last year, but could never quite make it work. And in 2017-2018 I actually saw Thing 2 more times in one ‘year’ than I have the entire five years we’ve lived apart.
Thanksgiving 2017 we were all at Thing 1 and Husband N’s.
Christmas 2017 Thing 2 and Boyfriend J were here.
In March when Thing 1 lost her baby, both Thing 2 and I were there to help pick up the pieces.
Both Thing 1 and Thing 2 were here in June for Thing G’s graduation. (and mother-daughter tattooing)

Anyway, we planned this visit so we could see each other more frequently without her always having to come here.
She called it “Girlie Hotel Weekend” and she was right!

Because it took me four hours to get out of Virginia instead of the normal 2 hours and 20 – 30 minutes, I was much later arriving in Columbia than either of us expected. She got dropped off by friends about ten minutes after I checked us in.
So! Much! Giggling!

We started our Saturday with pedicures and mimosas.
Did a little Devine Street shopping before moving on to Target where my daughter said, “Nobody likes to Target the way I do but you.” (It’s genetic)
Roads were closed all over downtown because it was Parents Weekend at USC. What a pain in the ass. But, because we had to take Blossom, I remembered a place I loved to eat when I lived down there.
We had a great lunch, and a pitcher of mimosas, and some of the most delicious cheesecake at Di Prato’s.
We shopped and piddled around Columbia all day Saturday.
Then popped some bubbly and snuggled up in the hotel beds and watched Hocus Pocus. We love us some Sanderson Sisters!

Sunday saw us at our beloved Waffle House. I know. It’s just awful, but we love it. Nowhere else makes egg sandwiches like that. Not to mention, the guy who checked us out used to be the theater teacher at the high school.
Thing 2 was like, Was that Mr W? It sounded like him.
I actually had one of those lightbulb over the head moments! It was!
She wondered if he freaked out when he saw me after I ripped him a new one Thing 1’s senior year.
We laughed and laughed. We’re mean like that.

After breakfast, we made a return to Target and went shoe shopping.
Because I wanted to see the restaurant where she works, we went over and sat in the bar for a few hours. She drank sake and I let her bartending co-worker surprise me. We ate dumplings and noodles and drank and talked and laughed and hung out. I even got to meet one of the “regulars” a Rod Stewart-esque hair dresser that reminded me so much of my dad I could hardly believe it. Thing 2 had her own lightbulb over the head moment when she realized I was right that he seemed so like her beloved Pap.

Monday morning we shared breakfast, grabbed coffee and said goodbye.
She drove to work and I got on the interstate to come home.
I was sad, and even though it was a good kind of sadness, I didn’t want to feel it all the way home so I gave myself until I got out of South Carolina to be sad.
And you know what? It worked. I was only a bit sad, but I sat with it and honored it while we were still in the same state.
Then the Hamilton Soundtrack got me through North Carolina and when I arrived safely in Virginia I called YBW to report the news. It took me just less than seven hours to reach my exit on 95. Another twenty or so minutes to the house and the return trip was over. As I was unloading the car, YBW pulled into the driveway home from work.
Now that’s great timing!

I’m grateful for the time off from school, the financial ability to do a weekend trip, and a new car that made the trip a breeze. I’m grateful for that sacred time with my Thing 2. I’m grateful for our open and honest communication, our ability to laugh at similar things. I’m grateful I’m her Momma and she’s my baby.
We needed that time together, and it was good for us!
My heart is overflowing with love.

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Categories: love, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

what kind of mother does that? or love and hope make me whole

It’s no secret I have mother issues. Normally they’re on the DL, you know, just kind of there minding their own business. But Tuesday? Well, Tuesday they threw a f**king parade.
YBW and I were with our therapist Tuesday. And while discussing something (that at the time seemed) completely unrelated the teenage girl in me was triggered.

*****
The summer after my freshman year of high school, my mother literally removed all trace of me from my home. She packed up all my belongings in black trash bags and left them on the porch. When my father took me to pick up my things, my mother would not allow me in the house. She actually stood behind the storm door long enough to deny me entrance before closing the big door in my face. I wasn’t allowed to say goodbye to my brother. I never got to hug my Grandaddy. I didn’t even get to say goodbye to my cat.
When I was fifteen years old, my mother sent me to live with the father who abandoned me when I was five.

I know you want to ask why.
Believe me, I asked it enough. In fact, the last time I made the attempt to speak with my mother about it, she politely told me she was not going to discuss it. That it was over and there was no reason to go back to it.
UM…NO REASON TO DISCUSS THE SEMINAL MOMENT IN MY LIFE!?!?
So, to answer your question, I don’t know why.

I do know that she didn’t like the fact that I was beginning to become my own person. I no longer wanted to be a girl scout. I no longer wanted to be a memember of the CAR. I didn’t want to do the things she forced me to do. I wanted to do things I was curious about, interested in, not just what she decided I would do.
I wanted to play softball. I wanted to take theater, and dance classes.
I played briefly at not turning in homework and skipping classes. That didn’t last long, I love(d) learning and understood it was ridiculous to miss out on something I loved to spite my mother.
I started dating a very sweet guy that was instantly hated simply because of the timing. He was kind and caring and was actually good for me, encouraging me to be more focused in school, etc.
I wanted to choose more for myself. I was weary of living the life she designed, I wanted to be my own person.
Of course, this is actually developmentally appropriate behavior for teenagers.
And I was not drinking. I was not doing drugs. I was just trying to figure out what I wanted my life to look like.
That was not what my mother wanted. She expected me to do all the things she wanted me to do. She expected me to live my life for her. She didn’t want any part of a daughter that didn’t keep her head down and do what she was told.

According to my father, my mother called him one day at work and when he answered she said, “If you don’t take her, I’m putting her in a home.” His reply…? “Who is this?”
(I learned this as a 40-something year old woman)
Yeah, these two f**kwits were my parents. Yay. (sarcasm, just so we’re clear)

I didn’t do what she wanted me to so she got rid of me.
Let that sink in. I didn’t do what she wanted me to do so she got rid of me.
No conversation, no talk with me about ‘getting it together’, no warning. Just me calling her from my dad’s one afternoon in the summer asking her to pick me up so I could come home and her telling me, “You’re not coming home.”
Let that sink in. “You’re not coming home.”
That was her solution to her problem of me. Her first born child, her only daughter. Her solution to the problem of me not doing what she wanted was to get rid of me.
What kind of mother does that?
*****

And even after my deep-heel-digging-in resistance, this all (and more) came out in our therapy session.
So. Many. Tears.
I didn’t want YBW there. I didn’t want the therapist there. I’d rather never have to be there, but of course, ‘there’ is always down deep in me.
Here’s why I don’t want anyone there.
First of all, it was the most damaging moment of my life. In that moment I was taught that if I didn’t do what someone else wanted/expected/told me to do, I was so unlovable that I needed to be disposed of. In that moment I learned that without knowing all the rules all the time I was never going to be safe. In that moment I learned that home is nothing but a noun.
Secondly, I have so much shame regarding every single bit of that.
I am so ashamed it happened to me. Ashamed because I feel like I’m betraying my mother if I tell this story.
No one should experience what I did. Even secondhand.

Of course, that’s not how therapy works. And I’m a weeping, gasping, snotty mess talking about how my mother didn’t love me. Talking about how I was sent away from my little brother. How I was sent away from my own precious Grandaddy.
I wanted to run as far away from that room as my feet could carry me. I hated every single moment of sharing that story. To be perfectly honest, I would rather have removed my own tongue than share that experience.

After the worst of it, I talked about Grandaddy. How he was the first man I ever loved. How he taught me how to give and receive love. How he taught me to express myself and not be passive aggressive like my mother. How he once told me that if anything every happened to my mother, I never had to worry, I didn’t have to leave him, he would keep me with him always. How until the day I left Thing 2 in the NICU, the day he died was the worst day of my life. How even though he could sometimes be a grouchy old man, he was chock full of love.
Our therapist suggested that I’m kind of a grouch in love because that’s how I learned to love.
I actually laughed out loud! She’s right.
I’m gruff but loving.
Velvet hammer, much?
I love the way I was loved by the only adult who loved me consistently and unconditionally.
(I suspect the girls will experience a great “Ah ha” moment at reading this.)

What kind of mother throws away her child because she can no longer control her?
My kind of mother.
All my issues with trust, with always having to know and understand what the rules are. All my issues of never feeling good enough, or truly lovable. All my issues regarding feeling safe. And my issues regarding house vs home, wondering if I’ll ever feel at home anywhere again?
These are directly related to that trauma.
That trauma she caused.
The one she flat refused to discuss later on in our lives.
And still I have the guilt. Still I have the shame.
It feels like, I shouldn’t talk mad shit about my mother. I should protect her. She loved me. She did the best she could.
How every single bit of it still feels like my fault.

Our therapist asked YBW to be my fifteen year old self’s ‘champion’ as a way of having an adult speak to my mother.
First he told her that I am an amazing, beautiful, loving, woman and mother no thanks to her.
He told her I was fractured, but she did not break me.
He told her that I learned love from her father and that he is a part of me every single day and she is not.
He told her that I am a really wonderful mother, and she should never have told me otherwise.
He told her that because I’m so lovely he was blessed and honored to be my husband.
He told her a great big f**k you!
And finally, he told her that all I wanted to do was go home, why wouldn’t she let me go home?

Years ago, I used to say, “Home is where the Roby is.”
I didn’t realize it was because I felt so f**king homeless. But I was determined to create a home where I felt safe, so wherever I was, that was home. Only I couldn’t love myself unconditionally enough, so that didn’t quite work out.
That’s why I’m so hell-bent to build a home with YBW that’s just ours, not one he already had, not one with any of our kids in it. Just him and me, in the home we create. Where we’ll both feel safe and sound and loved and wanted.
One day…

This story has been in me for thirty two years.
This experience of sharing it has been upsetting me for the last couple days.
I’m feeling pathetic and needy. I’m wanting to be snuggly. I want to, as Grandaddy used to say, “crawl into a hole and pull the hole in after you”. Mostly I want reassurance that I’m lovable and not disposable. YBW’s on it.
I laid my head on him this morning, and he asked if I was OK.
No, I’m not remotely OK, I told him, but I feel better now.

Here’s what I know now.
If I hadn’t been sent to my father’s I wouldn’t have met my ex-husband, and while that may have been a bonus, I would not have my girls. And my girls are everything!
I wouldn’t have been in British Lit senior year of high school with a boy I took no notice of, but twenty years later took great notice of. So much so that six years later, we got hitched.
I wouldn’t have Sundance, or Sally. Don’t want to live with out them!
I might not have Jessica, or Nicole, or Becca in my world.

I know that I’m not the perfect mother, I know I’ve f**ked shit right up for my girls. But, I do know that I did everything in my power to make sure they felt loved. To make sure they felt safe. To make sure they could make their own choices.
It is my ultimate hope that they know I love them more than anything else. Ever. In the history of the world!
For me, however bad things were, I wanted them fiercely and I wanted them to know that.

I know that I’m flawed.
Jesus, by this time in my life, it’s simply part of my charm!
I know why I’m flawed. I know my responsibilities in my flaws. I know that these flaws make me the woman I am. And steaming hot mess or not, I’m full of love. I’m full of hope. It slips in and fills in the cracks from those long ago fractures. Love and hope make me a whole woman.
For how much more could I ask?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

mother – daughter dynamics

The girls were here for about ten days.
Mostly it was lovely.
There were moments that weren’t so much.

I see the dynamic between my daughters, their fierce and devoted friendship. I am awed by it. The love they share is truly something to behold.
I feel confident and comfortable in the dynamic between myself and my daughters individually. There is strength in these relationships, a love that is new and ‘grown up’ as well as that powerful mother-child dynamic. While I cannot speak for them, I feel strongly that we are healthily navigating this new way of being in a relationship. The relationship between mother and adult daughter.
When it comes to the dynamic of the three of us in a relationship, well, that’s where it becomes tricky for me. Landmine riddled, and though carefully trod, I seem to be blowing shit up left and right simply by being in the relationship.

Is it simply triangling?

Or is it defaulting to our old roles in the relationship?

Thing 1 has always been a Daddy’s girl. They were each other’s favorites from the get go.
Thing 2 has always been a Momma’s girl. We were each other’s favorites.

When the three of us are together, I worry that Thing 1 doesn’t see my love for her. That I don’t consider relating to either or both of them as a competition. I don’t know how to help change her perception.
I worry that Thing 2 feels as though she must walk the tightrope between her sister and me. That she cannot just stand on her two feet and actively love and accept love from us both.

Of course, these are the stories I make up. I don’t know what goes on inside them.
I want to create an environment in which love is an even field. Where we can be together and feel safe.
What I want and what actually happens seems to me, vastly different.

I was stressed with both girls here. I watched them speak their own private language with awe and amusement, but after a while, I began to feel sad and hurt. The time we have together is precious, and they were using it to be together without me.
I began to feel as though I’m simply here to swipe my card.

There were moments that felt connected. That felt like we were in that even playing field of love and safety. But they were few and far between. Even the precious and sacred trip to the tattoo shop was tricky.
I know they had moments of dissatisfaction while they were here. But I don’t know what they were thinking or feeling.

I feel confused.
I feel disappointed.
I feel sad.

Last summer when Thing 1 was here, it felt so different. It felt like we were really successful in relating to each other, in loving each other.
The difference between last summer and last week is that Thing 1 was here alone last summer and Thing 1 and Thing 2 were here together last week.

I understand that I relate to them in different ways.
With Thing 2 I have an easy, yet deep intimacy. We can talk of deeply personal feelings and the whys and wherefores behind them.
My relationship with Thing 1 is loving, but with a practical twist. We don’t have the ease of intimacy between us, but we can be real with each other.

The quick and easy way to fix to this landmine situation is to only spend time with them one on one. But that’s not really a solution for the long term.
I’m not sure how to go about removing the landmines from our even playing field of safe love, but I want to try. I’d like to be able to be with both the girls and for all three of us to feel safe and loved and comfortable.
Mothers and daughters will always be tricky curious beasts.
I would like, and I hope they would like, to remain as tricky and curious as ever, but to do it in a healthy, safe, and loving way.
I feel hopeful.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

new ink

Thing 1, Thing 2, and I got our mother – daughter tattoos Tuesday!

You may recall a conversation involving two birds and a squirrel and think, ‘well damn if that doesn’t look like elephants.’
Yeah.
Turns out we weren’t meant to have birds and a squirrel as our matching tattoos.
Turns out we were meant to have a momma elephant with her one slightly bigger than the other babies.

Thing 2’s on her left calf

Thing 1 remarked one day that she thought she might like an elephant tattoo. I replied that I’d been thinking for a while that our mother – daughter tattoos should be elephants and the idea took off like wildfire!
Both my girls love elephants. They do because their Grandmommy loved elephants. I love elephants because I saw the love my mother had for them become precious to my daughters and spark their love.

We traded found images back and forth in our group chat. We discussed if they should match, or if it would be OK if they were different even if each work of art had a momma and two baby elephants. I’m not actually sure which one of us found the photo that was the jumping off point for what we finally decided on, but in that moment, we knew all three would be exactly like the others.
In one particularly precious conference call we finally decided how to move forward.
I met a guy called ‘Grumpy’ at Storyteller Tattoo and he quickly turned our concept into actual art.

Momma’s on her left upper arm

We rolled up into the tattoo studio Tuesday ready to go!
Grumpy shared the finished artwork and my first words were, “I’m going to need mine much smaller.”
It made sense because of where we wanted them on our bodies.
Thing 1 has hers the original size because she has long legs.
Thing 2 has hers once reduced so it would fit right on her calf.
I have mine twice reduced because while my arms are biggish, they’re not all that big.

Thing 1’s on her outer right thigh

Here’s the difference in tattoos twenty years ago and now.
When I got my first tattoo the shop was filled with smoke as the artist chain-smoked through the entire process. The tattoo gun was loud. I never really had much pain, a bit of discomfort, but the sound of the gun made me anxious and I didn’t really enjoy the experience.
Storyteller was clean and bright and filled with interesting artists with twisted senses of humor who weren’t afraid to drop the F-bomb. (These are our people, y’all!) We talked and joked, and shared experiences, and even music. Grumpy’s tattoo gun was quiet. No, not just quiet. It was silent!
Y’all! That made the biggest difference for me!

Momma holding Thing 1’s hand

Elephants form tight knit family groups that are lead by the eldest female. The role of the matriarch is to keep the herd out of harm’s way.
Momma elephants keep their herd safe.
However grown my girls are, the desire to keep them safe, the desire to gather the herd, to be together when we can, is always in my heart.
Even though we are far apart, we are tightly knit in our hearts.

We three girls are overjoyed with our new ink!
Yes, because we have this art on our bodies. But also because we went through it together.
We embraced the beautiful mess that is being these particular mother and daughters. Our most powerful and sacred love. We took all that and created a wonderful experience with which to celebrate us!
Two sisters and their Momma documented their love and joy at being each other’s with indelible art on their bodies. These elephants further connect us, serve as a visual reminder of our unbreakable bond.
That they’re beautiful makes it even more lovely!

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Happy Mother’s Day


I received these bulbs in the mail on Thursday with this precious card:
Happy Mother’s Day from Thing 1 and Husband N. We love you. P.S. Happy Birthday!!!

When I called to thank her, she said, “I’ve been waiting my whole life to send you flowers on Mother’s Day and I finally did!”
Thank you my sweet girl, for the beautiful flowers that will continue to grow and bloom and remind me of your love for many years to come!

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

sometimes a girl just needs her mommy

Sometimes a girl just needs her mommy.

Thing 1 lost her baby.
Husband N lost his shit.

Instead of a fun and relaxed visit over spring break, I left out of here Monday before Palm Sunday to help them put their lives back together.

My daughter has told me she needs me exactly twice in her life.
The first time was when she was suicidal.
The second was Sunday morning two weeks ago. Her voice sounded small and frightened as she asked me to come early. “I just need my Mommy.”
She called me Mommy.
She said need.
I knew I was going to do whatever it took to get to her as quickly as humanly possible.

I normally have mad crisis management skills. But this day I felt anxious and frantic. God love YBW, he prepped out so much of my getting ready. He patiently told me the weather several times while I pulled clothes from drawers and the closet. He even sat on the bed and talked with me the entire time I packed. Normally he’ll make sure I have what I need and leave me to it. This time he knew I needed him to kind of hold my hand through the process. He knew I wasn’t functioning in my normal way. I am so grateful!

Thing 1 was still so angry with Husband N when I arrived. She needed him to spouse up and he just shut down. That wasn’t a problem I could solve. I could, however, clean the entire house and do every stitch of laundry. I could also get Thing 1 organized as she moved forward. Lists became schedules and she seem(s) satisfied.

Thing 1 and Husband N had an important conversation in which they discussed their feelings regarding the events and how each of them handled them. That changed the atmosphere drastically. I am hopeful they’ll get what they need from each other and find the best way to move forward together.

After her follow up visit, she said she felt so much more relieved. She was anxious about having a D & C, but her body did what it was meant to do and the doctor gave the all clear. He told her he wanted her to have two normal cycles before they could start trying again. I never asked her intentions, I feel like it isn’t really any of my business.

She was still getting tired really quickly and needed to stop and have frequent breaks, but by the time I left, she seemed to somewhat back to normal physically.
Emotionally she’s exhausted and not ready to process anything. She said she needs to “stew in it” for a while before she can even begin to understand how she feels or consider talking about it.
She snuggled with me more than she normally does. (She’s never been a snuggly sort of human. Sensory integration issues make that difficult for her.) Her codependency was more pronounced than it normally is.
This makes sense to me. She needed people she loves around to support her.

The day before I left, she thanked me for coming. She told me she needed an “adultier adult” around her. She was weary and needed help carrying that burden. Husband N was weary and needed help carrying that burden. His solution (albeit unintentional) was to shut down and escape. This left her holding the bag all by herself. She needed help holding the bag. Actually, I believe she needed to put down the bag for a little while.
Fortunately for both Thing 1 and Husband N, Thing 2 and I were able to carry their load for a little while.

I would do anything in my power to ease the suffering of my daughters. Even though they’re grown, I firmly believe it’s (at least partly) my job to keep them safe. I couldn’t keep my girl safe from this, and that frustrated me so. What I could and did do was love her through her pain. What I could and did do was bring her comfort and joy. What I could and did do was manage her household for a few days. What I could and did do was have honest conversations with her and her husband. What I could and did do was work efficiently with her sister when it came to getting things done. What I could and did do was be the adult when she wasn’t sure she could.

My girl is made of study stuff. She has a strength down deep in her.
That’s what kept her going when Husband N shut down. That’s why she can survive this even though she’s not sure how she really feels about it. That strength will be what heals her and help her start again when the time comes.
I am truly awed by her.
But sometimes, even the strongest of girls needs her mommy.

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Do you even Bitmoji?

This is my Bitmoji. She looks as much like me as a bunch of pixels possibly can. And y’all, I have to tell you, I love the stuffing out of her!

I enjoy communicating with my Bitmoji. With Nora, mostly via text, and Sundance via text and Snapchat, but especially with Thing 1 and Thing 2. We have a group chat in Snapchat that makes it SUPER easy to use our Bitmojis.

Another thing that’s cool about Bitmoji in Snapchat is that if another Snapchat user has a Bitmoji, they can do things together. But only one at a time, so when it comes to my group chat with the girls, it’s just one of them with me at a time.

Thing 1 sent me a kiss.

Thanks to the Olympics, Thing 2 was able to express her love of figure skating.

I have no idea why Thing 2 and I are behind this tree, but we look shady af.

I sent this one when I expressed my desire to wave a magic wand to alleviate her morning sickness. I love love love her little baby bump!

The girls Bitmojis bring me such joy! They look so like my girls. And seeing them all together makes me all smiley. If our avatars can be in the same place at the same time, it feels more like we’re together even when we’re far apart.

I recently changed my Bitmoji’s hair. I was wearing it curly for so long while trying to grow it out from a pixie cut that was never as cute on me as it was in the photos. Letting my curls do their thing made it simpler to tolerate the growing out process. But now that it’s the way I want it, I’ve been putting forth the effort to wear my hair straight.
Thing 1 quickly expressed that she is not a fan of the new do.
It’s funny, because her straight hair makes her look younger than her curly hair…perhaps as a soon to be grandmother, she ought not look younger?

Anyway, they’re fun and playful and we get great joy from sharing them.
You can check out the updated app that lets you create an avatar here:

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

let us treat self expression with respect

There will be those with differing opinions. And that’s fine with me.
Isn’t that what makes it interesting to be a human? To think and feel things that may be a bit different than the things thought and felt by the people you know?
I’ve learned so much about myself and the world by engaging in conversations of differing opinions.
Here’s the most important thing I learned.
It’s all about respect.
I respect your right to your differing opinions. I expect that same respect in return.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy right?
(Yeah, I know.)

I received a snapchat from my daughter two days ago. It amused me so. I was amused because I too have been where she was. I was also struck by the truth in it. Her truth. Where she was in that moment.
It was real. It was honest. And it was a true representation of her sense of humor.

I know the differing opinion folks might have something to say about her attitude or language. I know I would never have sent something like that to my own mother.
But my girl, she is different.
And I’m a different sort of mom.

Here’s the what.
Honest self expression is not always the simplest action. So if one can manage to speak their truth I say, Bravo! Sometimes that truth comes via opening credits of a television show and quippy language.
I was amused enough to take a screenshot.
At the time, I had no idea I’d be using it for a post, I just knew it was a perfect encapsulation of who my daughter is and why I love her.
It really does come down to respect. I respect her enough to encourage her self expression. She respects me enough to know that she can be herself with me.
And the respect from those of differing opinion to acknowledge that my daughter has an interesting way about her without judging it.

This is what I know.
Be respectful. (of yourself and others)
Speak your truth.
If you do the first, the second will be much simpler, no matter how you choose to express yourself.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

two birds and a squirrel

The girls and I have been talking about mother-daughter tattoos.

Thing 1 has two tattoos. Words on her wrist to remind her that she’s perfect just as she is, and an ankh on her back.
Thing 2 has several tattoos. Wings at her elbows, two that represent he love of folk punk music, and the symbol for chaos on the inside of her wrist.

I have one tattoo. I got it in the spring of 1998. It’s a ring of flowers around my left ankle.
I made a promise to myself that I’d only ever have one tattoo.
A promise I’ve kept even though I came up with the idea and have designed the most perfect tattoo. Know where I want it and why.
Inside my right wrist. Maybe three by three inches. A little Earth and a crescent moon and some stars.

When Thing 1 was a tiny girl, I told her I love her more than the whole wide world. But when Thing 2 was coming to join our family, I realized I would have to say something different to her, otherwise negate the first three years of Thing 1’s life. So I have always told Thing 2 that I love her more than the moon and the stars.
I’ve sat on this idea for several years. I even created this stained glass panel to placate myself.

(The solar system is a big deal to me, because when I began to love YBW, it was ‘all the way to Pluto and back’.)

We’ve talked previously of getting tattoos that represent each other, but recently we’ve begun talking about a specific matching mother-daughters tattoo.
Now, we’re probably still going to get our representative tattoos, mine of course will be the Earth, moon and stars.
Thing 2 has always said she wanted to get a little succulent plant to represent her sister. And she wants to have Kanga and Roo’s mailboxes to represent me.

When she was a little girl, she would climb into my lap and get all tiny and say, “You’re Kanga and I’m Roo in your pouch!”

Thing 1 and I haven’t had that specific of a conversation regarding tattoos that represent each other.

But then…I got an idea!

In a group text, I put to the girls and idea for our matching mother-daughter tattoos.
I suggested a robin bird, a magpie, and then another (yet to be determined) bird.
Thing 2 shot down the magpie idea straight away. (Turns out she’s the only one that doesn’t remember her Grandmommy calling her that.)
And we talked about other options.
Thing 1 suggested a squirrel and we all loved that idea!
Then Thing 2 suggested a hummingbird for her sister.
We were on a roll, y’all!

Thing 1 did a quick doodle and sent this pic.

(That squirrel though!)

Of course there will need to be discussion of colors and sizing and where on our bodies this ink will go. But we have some time for that. The next time we’ll all be together for sure is in June when Thing G graduates from high school. Though there is talk of being together in March for Thing 1’s birthday.
I know I’ll want mine to be small…and off the top of my head, I’m thinking maybe on my left forearm near my elbow. But who knows? Knowing how different we three girls are, it won’t be three identical tattoos in three identical spots. Only, I do hope the art itself is identical, otherwise it’s not worth having ‘matching tattoos’…
At the moment, we’re just in the planning stages.
Momma got an idea. Girls improved upon it. Art is being created.
More conversations will happen.

It’s curious to me that after nearly twenty years of keeping that one tattoo promise I’m blowing it out of the water with not one but two new tattoos in the works.
It’s time.
I’m ready to fulfill a new promise to myself, ink that represents the two loves of my life that will never change. And ink that we can share as mother and daughters.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Godspeed, Mo

Yesterday at 11:16 I received a text message from Thing 1.
This photo and these words.

Look at him just chillin! Sweet boy 🙂

Yesterday at 3:44 I received a phone call from Thing 1.
She was crying. She said, “Mo’s gone.

She said after they took that pic of him lying in the yard, they went for a walk, and over by their pond he wandered off into the woods, as he sometimes does. A bit later on she went to get the mail and found him in the road. He’d been hit by a car.

Mo was a miracle for our family at at time when we were in great change. The Things dad and I had just separated and the girls were living in two different places for the first time in their lives.
Thing 2 was obsessed with going every Saturday to adoption day at the pet shop. We went religiously. Never to “get” a pet always to look at the dogs and cats.
One particular Saturday we were walking past the dog crates in which all manner of dog was barking or acting a fool. With the exception of one dog.


This sweet dog was lying quietly in his crate completely ignoring the chaos around him. He looked up when we stopped and his little nubby tail started to wag. We three girls were enamored by this sweet boy.
(Y’all don’t know this about me, but I don’t like dogs in any way shape or form. I’m not a hater or anything, I just don’t like dogs.)
But this dog. This sweet boy. I feel in love with him. So did the girls.
There was much conversation about how we might adopt Mo. We liked that his name was Mo, not only did it suit him, it also went nicely with our last name.
I walked away from the girls and called their father at work. I told him that the girls were going to call him about a dog. He heaved the greatest of sighs. Then I said, “We need him.” That gave him pause. He knew that if I said that, this must have been some dog.

Well, we ended up adopting sweet Mo and he became part of our family. He mostly lived at their father’s house, but sometimes he lived with me too.
He was the sweetest, most neurotic thing you’ve ever seen. He had mad abandonment issues and fretted when we’d leave him to go to school and work.
Thing 2 took quite a shine to him, she researched online, and in books from the library, how best to love this quirky boy. She was enthusiastic to take him to the dog park to play with other dogs.

She was enthusiastic about taking him for long walks, especially down to the riverfront park where we could walk along the canal. One time, Thing 2, Mo, and I arrived just in time to watch the authorities pull a body from the river. Good times.


Mo was such a good loving dog. He was happy to belong to our weird family. We loved him so.
When it was time for me to move from SC to VA, Mo would lie on his big green pillow (which he stole from Thing 2’s bed) and keep me company while I packed box after box of books.


Just this fall, Mo and his “little sister” Sweetie moved from the Things father’s house to Thing 1 and Husband N’s. Being on the little farm gave them so much more freedom. They were able to rip and race and be silly doggies without disturbing any neighbors.
Of course, it was an adjustment. The dogs missed their dad. They missed Thing 2. But they were so happy with Thing 1 and Husband N. They were happy to be together and loved.

I’ve been hit by waves of sadness since I talked to my daughter yesterday. The tears come out of nowhere and choke me. I couldn’t breathe for the weeping when I told YBW the news last night. I’ve cried alone, I’ve cried with YBW. I’ve cried on the phone with each of my babies.
That sweet dog was more than just a dog we adopted one day. He was a gift for our family. We were able to love him and each other through the worst times and come out the other side better off.
I really do not like dogs. Mo is the only dog I’ve ever truly loved. He was so special.

When I was more calm after sharing the news with YBW, he got angry. He wanted to know how fast one must drive down a dirt road to hit and kill a dog. What kind of “stupid Georgia hillbilly” didn’t stop to help, but just kept driving.
His anger surprised me.
But he’s right.
There’s no excuse for that kind of driving. There’s no excuse for Mo’s death.

Thing 1 felt so responsible, felt that she failed at keeping Mo safe for our family.
I told her that it wasn’t her fault. That none of us blame her. That we’re so sorry it happened and she has to live through it.
Turns out Thing 2 told her the same thing…nearly verbatim.
She told me her father said that Mo was an old dog, thirteen or fourteen years old. And wasn’t it wonderful that he’d had such a lovely day? That he was healthy enough to run and play and lie in the sun. That he left this world a strong dog, not an old sick dog.
My heart thanks him for being a good dad to her in that moment.

Thing 1 and texted a bit last night when we no longer had the will to speak.

I called her a little while ago to check on her.
She told me she wished she hadn’t found him. That it would be easier for her to deal with if she hadn’t seen him. I understand that on the deepest level. I told her how proud of her I am. I told her she was a real adult yesterday, and that I understood it sucked more than anything. But she did it. She’s doing it now. She’s living though the grief and pain. She’s not looking around for someone more “adultier” than she is. She’s just doing what it takes to get through. That’s adulting.
She asked me to hug YBW and thank him for his anger. She said she wants to hang signs on the road. “Thanks for killing my dog, you f**king asshole.”
She has moments of tears, and moments of anger.
Mostly, she has love.
We all have love.
The love of a dog called Mo.

Categories: love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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