Posts Tagged With: mothers and daughters

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.

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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: , , , , , , , | 4 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.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

remembrance of snow days past

Yesterday’s snow day got me thinking about all the snow days I’ve had the joy to live through.
From snow days with my girls to snow days when I was a girl.
Curiously, the memory that took my breath away was of a snow day in 1979.
I was seven years old in February, my eighth birthday would come in May. A crazy storm came out of nowhere and buried the DC Metro area in over two feet of snow.

President’s Day Storm 1979
photo copyright: Washington Post

This was a bomb cyclone storm too, (Though I think it was before that phrase was in the common lexicon.).
This storm was of great significance, mostly because everyone was caught off guard. It also directly impacted the way meteorologists predict storms.

But for this particular little red-haired girl, who dug tunnels to access an elaborate system of housing (caves) in her yard, drank her body weight in hot chocolate, and impatiently waited for her gloves to dry before she could go back out to play again, the President’s Day Storm had a different kind of significance.
It’s the first time I can recall actively panicking.
Because the storm hit us out of the blue, after a couple of days, we ran out of important things. You know…milk and bread, and the like.


My mother decided to walk the .6 miles (uphill) to our local Safeway to get what we needed. As you can see, according to Google Maps it’s about a 12 minute walk from home to the grocery store. I figure that was pretty much the same 38 years ago as it is now. House is in the same place…even the same Safeway.

Now, in hindsight, I wonder if she wasn’t just trying to get out of the house and away from us kids and Grandaddy. Since there’s no one left to ask, I guess we’ll never know.

I’ve only recently come to understand my childhood of being a “mommy’s girl” that didn’t feel comforted by her mommy was directly linked to my attachment anxiety. That I clung to my mother in desperate desire to feel connected to her, even though I very rarely did.

When I started my little jaunt down memory lane of snow days, I first visited the amazing tunnels and caves my brother and I built. Saw the snow packed down from flipping ‘skin the cat(s)’ about seven hundred thousand times off the big strong limb of the maple tree. And actually, if I think about it, that may have been how we decided to created the cave and tunnel system.
But then as I jumped over the fence (couldn’t open the gate for all that snow) to visit the forts we carved out of the snow against the fence, I felt my eyes drawn towards the church at the end of our street.
I actively watched up the street for what seemed like hours in a panic waiting for my mother to come home.

I am actively feeling that panic in the pit of my stomach as keenly now as I did at that snowy day.

Of course I have no idea how long my mother was actually gone, how long I stood there anxiously awaiting her return. What felt like hours could have been a much shorter amount of time. I honestly don’t know. I haven’t consciously thought about that day and the way I felt in ages.

What I do know is that when I finally saw my mother turn the corner onto our street, grocery bags strapped to the sled she pulled behind her, I was flooded with the greatest relief I’d ever know.
I ran up the street towards here, crying and gasping for breath.
The look on her face stopped me in my tracks, snowy mittens immediately wiping my face before she noticed my tears. But it was too late. She’d seen them, and had not patience for them.
She said, “What’s the matter with you?” in a tone laced with such disgust it was almost a physical blow.
“I was worried about you. I didn’t know when you were going to come home. I didn’t know if you were safe.”
She shook her head and moved passed me, “Of course I’m safe. Don’t be so dramatic.”

I stood in the street watching her walk away from me. In that moment I felt so small and so terribly stupid. Of course she was safe. She was the mommy. Mommies are strong and capable. I was stupid to worry about her. I was too dramatic with my tears and panic.

I’ve never shared this story before.
Honestly, I haven’t thought about in…well, probably ever. But that’s the memory upon which I landed when I started thinking about snow days.
Not the fun we had as kids.
Not the fun we had as adults with our own kids.
Not the sledding, the snowmen, the bonfires.
Not the snow cream, the snow angels, the hot chocolate.

But I did have fun snow days as a kid.
With a frozen nose and shrieking laughter.
With snowball fights at the church yard and sledding at the park.
Snuggled up with my kitties under colorful ‘afgans’ in cozy jammies and stacks of books.

And I did have fun snow days as an adult.
Witnessing the girls in the snow for the first time.
Bundling everyone up for very quick trips to play.
Taking their photos with the some of the most fun snowmen you’ve ever seen.
Making snow cream.
Making hot chocolate by the potful.

I don’t honestly know if more of my memories are happy than sad. But I do know I go through the happy ones more frequently. I do know that this particular sad one was buried as deep as the snow from that long ago winter.
As far as I’m concerned, snow days are always a good thing!
Our county schools called off Friday just before 5 pm Thursday afternoon. So that means another snow day today!
Even though there really isn’t any snow, I’m still happy!

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being a weird mom builds character

I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about relationships.
Specifically about mother-daughter relationships.
I firmly believe that all mother daughter relationships are complicated.
I’m not sure how they couldn’t be. Mothers are complicated in that if you boil it down to the most basic function, we’re kind of flying by the seat of our pants with the task of keeping other, smaller humans alive. Daughters are complicated in that they learn how to be women from the adult woman they spend the most time with. Of course, what they don’t know is that we don’t exactly know how to be women any more than they do, we’ve just been pretending longer.
But here’s another thing I know about the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters: with enough love and honest communication it can be a truly spectacular experience.

While it’s hard for me to have conversations with my daughters about my own mother, luckily they both knew and loved her, and I think they both know they were loved by her. Though they will tell you that she terrified them. They also understand that they’re pretty fortunate that I’m their momma and she was not. Of course, I’ve f**ked them up in my own special way.

Yes, I did say sorry…but it had a question mark behind it. And they received this message when they were together, so they laughed and then told me they love me.
I am a weird mom. They certainly have character.
I’m going to call this one win-win.

Hey, at least we can have honest and intimate conversations.

It’s curious to me how different my relationship is with each of my daughters. Thing 1 and I are close in a way that’s completely different than the way Thing 2 and I are close.
Here’s an example of a conversation with Thing 2 regarding how it’s easier to love than to learn to be loved:

This is one screenshot of a long and beautiful conversation we had about love and relationships, that awed us both.

I’m actually having a text conversation with her right now as I’m writing this. I expressed that I’m struggling to write after not for so long, she shared that Mercury is in retrograde and that makes words tricky.

This is interesting because I’ve been losing words again this week. I continue to chalk it up to my brain never actually healing properly…but if it’s Mercury being in retrograde, I’ll take it. (must learn what a planet in retrograde actually means)

But I digress…(YBW would tell y’all that’s par for the course with me)

The way that Thing 2 and I are close is an easy yet deep intimacy. We can talk of deeply personal feelings and the whys and wherefores behind them.

My daughter’s muchness is something I’ve discussed before. It’s something everyone that knows her is acutely aware of. The trick of it is that it truly is undefinable. She’s hit a beautiful developmental place in which she understands that her muchness is powerful. She understands that it will be what keeps her standing when life tries to knock her down. What she doesn’t yet understand is how exactly to tap into it to make it work for her. But she is young, that will come in time. Only when you’re twenty, you don’t often feel like time is on your side.

Thing 2 has told me countless time in the last two months that I’m awesome, or a wonderful mother, or something of the like. She also said, “You’re the best Momma We really don’t tell you enough”
We really don’t tell you enough.
But when she does tell me…

Thing 2 and I have the ability to open our hearts to each other and just kind of move seamlessly back and forth between the two.

My relationship with Thing 1 is loving, but with a practical twist. We don’t have the ease of intimacy between us. I think it’s partly because of our personalities. I worry that it’s partly because of the way our relationship faltered when she was a teenager. I oftentimes think that I should have worked harder to stay connected with her instead of being as stubborn as I was.
Only I can’t shoulda coulda woulda myself to death. We lived through that. We survived it, and found our way back to each other.
And honestly, we were never all that intimate before that time. So I believe we’re in a strong and healthy place that is similar to the one we were in before that time.

Thing 1 is quick to call with practical questions. ‘How to’ questions and ‘What about this’ questions. Our relationship manifests itself in a practical way. It’s interesting, she always called me Mommie, but when Thing 2 first began talking she said, Momma. Eventually, Thing 1 switched to Momma too. Unless she’s feeling particularly needy. If she’s physically or emotionally sick she will use Mommie.
Right before we went down to her house for Thanksgiving, I got a text about a reoccurring health issue of hers.

Observe the use of Mommie.
When my girls were little and hurt or scared or whatever, I would bandage their boo boos, or help them feel safe and it always ended with a big kiss to give them a dose of “Momma(ie) poison”. Mommie(a) poison is that lasting bit of me helping them heal or keeping them safe. Sometimes you need great doses, sometimes you might just need a booster.
Well, Thing 1 needed a big ol’ dose and she got it when I arrived at her home. It was good for both of us.

We have loving conversations. They’re of the practical variety more so than of the existential variety. One powerful conversation we had was about mental health. However tricky it is, we share common ground when it comes to diagnosed mental health issues. And she is the person I wanted to talk with when I was wrestling with the emotional aspects of my physical health. She reminded me I hadn’t always been “sick” and I would not always be “sick”. She fully supported my decision to go back into therapy. She reminded me that if I was aware of this emotional struggle then I was already better off.
Seems we rely on each other for that practical kind of love. Maybe sometimes I need a dose of Thing 1 poison too.

However practical our love, it is also delightfully silly. We love to communicate via bitmoji when we’re feeling playful.

Mothers and daughters are tricky, curious beasts. What’s wonderful about that is the fact that weird mom’s do build character. Weird daughters build flexibility in even the most control freak moms. We can fly by the seat of our pants and love and learn and grow all at the same time.
Mothers of daughters have the unique blessing of seeing how their girls relate to each other. From the time they’re children through their teenage years and into adulthood. The relationship between my daughters makes my Grinchy heart grow three sizes every time I even think about it. Their love for each other is truly something to behold.
How blessed am I to not only love each of them, but to be party to the love they share!?!

Mothers and daughters have been on my mind for months now. After my realization that I suffered insecure attachments and was (am?) and unloved daughter, I’ve actively worked to suss out my place in this world as a daughter and as a mother. This new understanding created more confusion that I could have imagined. I needed this time to sort it all out. To find a way to have it make sense. To adjust my personal barometer when it comes to mothers and daughters.
Like the Grinch, I puzzled and puzzled till my puzzler was sore. But, I finally feel like I can put it to rest.
I can leave the tricky and curious world of mothers and daughters knowing I’m more informed than ever before. And while I’m not sure I’ll ever be truly comfortable as a daughter, I know being a mother is my truest joy.
Perhaps I didn’t experience unconditional love as a daughter, but I certainly have as a mother. And that actually is enough.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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