Posts Tagged With: unconditional love

my Momma heart

The housemate (codename: Housemate A) of the young man Thing 2 is seeing (codename: Boyfriend M) tested positive.
Not only has Thing 2 been around him, they actually shared a beer the week before.
She’ll get her results in ‘five to seven days’.
She decided to quarantine with the guys, partly because they’ve already been exposed to each other and partly to keep her father safe.

My Momma self is freaking out!
My logic believes she’s going to be fine.
But she has always had sick lungs and that triggers fear in me.
I don’t like feeling helpless. I want to swoop in and take good care of her.
Of course that’s not practical.

These are some of the random thoughts flitting around in my head:
I can’t do anything to help her.
She’ll spend her twenty-third birthday under quarantine. At least she’s with people she likes.
She might die.
Stupid janky lungs.
I sent her birthday gifts to her dad’s and she won’t be there to get them.
I want to take care of her.
She’s going to be fine.

I had panicky tears.
YBW hugged me tight.
He said, “I’m worried about Thing 2. But me panicking not going to help you right now, so I’m going to remain calm.”
Friday morning he asked if I’d talked to her, actually heard her voice. I told him I wasn’t ready because I couldn’t talk about it without tearing up and I didn’t want to do that to her. I needed to get my feels under control before I talked with her.

Husband N remarked that he wasn’t sure quarantining with the new guy was the smartest choice, he might not take good care of her. I replied, you know her dad and know damn well he won’t take care of her at all, so anything’s better than that!
I actually believe Thing 2 and these young men will take good care of each other.

I’m sending them a little care package of treats. Uno and Phase 10, a jenga-like block game with colorful blocks. Books for Thing 2, and sweet treats each one of them likes.
Thing 2 told me Housemate A was like, ‘honestly I’m just touched that your mom wants to send us something’.
To which I replied, These guys are going to have to learn that to be a part of your life is to become part of my brood.
He told her now he feels like he has another mom.
With a twinkle in his eye and smile on lips, YBW suggested Housemate A be reminded of that with mother’s day comes around.

I talked with her via chat this morning for quite a while. I still haven’t heard her voice, but I’m much less anxious about her well being. That may change if her test comes back positive…or if I start to worry…or if…or if…
But, I know she’s making plans and smart choices on how to take care of herself and she’s not doing it alone.

She and Housemate A organized the pantry, fridge, and freezer. She created a list and they ordered grocery delivery from Publix. They assigned Boyfriend M the yard work that needs to be done because he slept through their kitchen work.
They’ve got a plan to get around-the-house things done, as well as books, games, computer, guitars, etc. to keep them occupied during their quarantine.

There’s a part of me that always sort of knew she would get sick. Part of me that accepted it in a logical way. Part of me that knows even though she’s (probably) got it, she’s going to be fine.
But she’s my baby and I worry.
I can’t actively take care of her, but I can send fun things to occupy her time. Sweet treats for when she craves them.

I know she’s going to be OK. But I’m still going to worry.
She almost died two different times before she was two months old.
She’s survived bronchitis nearly every winter of her life.
She’s survived pneumonia.
She’s survived mono.
She’s survived H1N1 swine flu.
Even though her immune system is questionable, she’s made of seriously tough stuff.

After talking with her this morning, my Momma heart is less anxious, chock full of love, and waiting (impatiently) for test results.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

the view from here

The last two days, I feel like I’ve been in seriously great Momma mode!
Y’all, I’m so blessed to be my daughters mother. They are incredible women, and my love for them is unconditional and limitless!

Yesterday Thing 2 and I talked for a while for the first time since my birthday. I assisted her in some important decision making, and provided over all Momma love and support. That girl is made of some seriously sturdy stuff, but sometimes needs help remembering. It’s hard when you feel like you have to do everything on your own. Being reminded you have loving, supportive people in your corner helps get you out of your head and provides a fresh perspective on everything.

This morning Thing 1 was feeling a bit overwhelmed by her own great and arduous task of packing her house. I asked if she was needing assistance planning or simply needed to be heard. She was all about the help.
So I suggested she start with a list (I mean of course I did, I’m the freaking List Lady after all!). I suggested she plan out what needs to be packed and then create a timeline.
Of course Baby K is like, WTF mommy? when Thing 1 is trying to pack instead of playing. I know that’s hard for both of them.
But I was struck with an idea!
What if Thing 1 actively packed for only twenty minutes each hour!?! She may not feel like she’s accomplishing much, or even finish packing one box, but she might feel less overwhelmed, and Baby K won’t get her diapie in a twist at being ‘ignored’.
Set a timer! Crank the music! Make a game of it! Baby K will love that, and Thing 1 can get things done without too much stress.
And, if she does her twenty minutes at the top of each hour, they have that last forty minutes to play together!

And in this house…
Yesterday afternoon, I opened one of the bins YBW and I pulled out of the utility room.
It was labeled with the names of my grandparents followed by the words family info.
So I was pretty much expecting all the genealogy stuff my mother complied in her lifetime. That was what I remembered putting in the bin after going through all the stuff my mother’s husband gave me five years ago.
But damn if I didn’t surprise myself!
In that bin was more so much more than the genealogy information.
Some random af stuff I didn’t know what to do with when I initially received it, but felt comfortable deciding yesterday.
Grandaddy’s harmonica.
My mom’s passport in which I too am in the photo as I was in her belly.
My grandmother’s hand written birth certificate.
And this (these?) gem(s).

I was able to divide and conquer everything, saving some things I want the girls to see before I dispose of them, and only had a small discard pile.
Of course now I have a stuffy headache from the mildew that clings to some of those items. It’s worth it.

Today I’m kind of being quiet. That is, not really doing much. Some writing. A bit of tidying. A bit of ridiculousness…
YBW is working from home this week so I went in there and said, You have a minute? He turned to give me his undivided attention.
Me: Wanna know how old I am?
YBW: Forty nine.
Me: Yeah, but not in chronological time.
YBW: …
Me: I think I need a neckchain for my reading glasses.
YBW: smiles but says nothing…
Me: If I’m wearing a pony or bun-bun I can’t put them on top of my head, they fall off.
YBW: serious face but silent…
Me: Is that ridiculous?
YBW: Not if me in my shorts and tee, and socks and slippers, and hoodie isn’t too ridiculous.
Me: I love everything about you.
YBW: Me too, baby.

Good Lord, we’re ridiculous!
At least each of us thinks this about the other.

This afternoon I’ll be focusing on organizing music, doing a bit of research on brain health and mental illness, and shopping for some stylish chains for my reading glasses.
Can you handle the excitement?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Baby K and her mommy’s birthday pie

Thing 1 and Baby K were here for two weeks!
It was the loveliest (albeit exhausting-est) two weeks in many moons.
Y’all, I absolutely adore watching my daughter be her daughter’s mom!

I love seeing their closeness. I’m amused when they get frustrated with each other. I love the way Baby K says “mum-mum-mum-mum” for her mommy.
To witness and share in their relationship is an absolute delight!

Baby K learned to clap while she was here.
She even (sort of) learned to say clap while she was here.
She pulled up so much and began cruising around the sofa and coffee table while she was here.
She even crawled up two (non-sequential) steps while she was here!
She says “Papa” for YBW and she said “Ba-Da” when referring to me. Ba-Da for Birdie? I’ll take it.

They were here in time for Thing 1’s birthday!
It’s the first time I’ve hugged her on her actual birthday since she was eighteen! She just turned twenty six!
So! Much! Joy!

Neither of my girls actually like cake, so we celebrated with a delicious apple pie!

I miss them.
I mean, I’m glad to have my ‘baby duty’ scaled back, but I miss conversations with Thing 1 and special moments with Baby K.
We drank so much wine.
Thing 1 said “Get out of my head” more times than I can count. It’s nice to be on the same page. It’s lovely to feel so close and connected to her.
We talked plans of what it will look like when they’re here for however many months starting this summer.
I enjoyed meal planning and grocery shopping with Thing 1. I look forward to that when they’re here.

Baby K played with Meredith and Beau.

They have a cousin who’s only a couple of months older than Baby K, so they love being in baby mode. These kids are nine and seven, and their mom could barely drag them away from the baby toys!
I love that my friends-as-family and actual family are such a big part of and have such love for each other!

I was with Thing 1 for six weeks when Baby K was born and we vowed then to make sure we could see each other as often as possible. You know, we’ve seen each other pretty much every other month since then. And soon, they’ll be right here whenever I turn around, then as close as their own house nearby.

I am truly grateful for the blessing of being able to witness and be a part of my granddaughter’s growing up.
My cup runneth over!

Categories: love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

and the momma lioness roars

No sooner than my post about cookies published, did I received a text from Thing 1 apologizing for causing drama.

I hate that because I expressed my frustration, my daughter apologized for starting drama.
The truth is that’s drama I started by writing about it.
She shouldn’t feel responsible for it.
I reassured her she did nothing wrong. That her comment was innocent and she was not at all responsible for any of it.
She said she shouldn’t have said anything about Christmas, and she was OK with me staying here with YBW for Christmas if that’s what I decided.

I told her I was angry at the mother being manipulative, and at Thing C for not being honest.
She agreed. She wondered how YBW was feeling about it, how he would choose to deal with it.
She said: It just sucks because nobody is fair to him.
She said: I can’t help feeling bad. I should have kept my mouth shut.
I replied: Your comment was innocent. The information was abused.

She said something that surprised me, the truth of it I mean.
She said: She’s almost as bad as dad

And that’s why she pushes my buttons.
She is so manipulative. She does it with such skill those she’s manipulating don’t even realize it.
Because I’ve lived with this type of behavior the majority of my life, I’m acutely aware of it.

She asked if Thing G would be alone on Christmas.
She designed her message specifically to push YBW’s buttons. She saw an opportunity to have her sons with her on Christmas day and used her words to manipulate the situation.
Neither YBW or I would leave the kid alone for Christmas. I mean, come on.

She invited YBW to come to her parents house for Christmas.
Now, to the casual observer, that seems kind and welcoming.
But with all passive aggressive, manipulative behavior each word is chosen with purpose.
She used those words to appear inclusive.
If questioned, the manipulative person can say, See! I said ‘this’, to be interpreted as appropriate. Knowing full well they were manipulating the situation to get what they want.
She wants what she wants and is capitalizing on an opportunity made clear to her by one simple sentence written by my daughter.

Is there drama because she creates it?
Is there drama because I’m overreacting to it?
In all honesty, it could be both.

I don’t want to feel the urge to protect my husband and my daughter from this woman.
I know they’re capable. I know they don’t need to be protected.
But I feel protective of them.
When my husband is being manipulated, and when my girl apologizes for starting drama, it triggers something deeply protective in me.

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

love is not a contest and I don’t have to choose a favorite

These thoughts hatched while I was washing my hair this morning.

I’ve always said parents have a favorite kid even if they don’t admit it. This is of course, if they have more than one kid. Each kid also has a favorite parent. Kids don’t like to admit it either.
The thing is, for the most part, cohabitating humans are not unaware of each other. Sometimes, it’s understood but never spoken. Sometimes it’s understood and spoken. Sometimes no one favors any one else.

The family I made kind of naturally split down the middle.
Thing 1 and her daddy.
Thing 2 and me.

Thing 2 was my favorite.
But not because Thing 1 wasn’t.

Thing 1 was all about her daddy. I mean, those two were like peas and carrots. I never felt left out, but I never felt that level of connection with Thing 1.
I didn’t feel like I was allowed to choose her as my favorite because she and her dad were already each other’s favorite.

Thing 2 came along and our bond was completely different than my bond with her sister. It was powerful and chock full of unwavering love.
We kind of became each other’s favorite by default.
For years that’s simply how our family was.

When the marriage dissolved, that down middle split became a chasm.
It was terrible for all of us.
I’m only now truly realizing how bad it was for the girls.
I humbly ask their forgiveness for my part in that time in our lives.

What’s interesting about this whole favorites thing, (I’m simplifying the hell out of this to get to my point.) is that I’m under the impression the Things think I switched favorites.

From my point of view, it’s not a switch in favorites.
It’s more that for the first time, I feel as though Thing 1 is an option to favorite.

I’ve discussed my relationship with each of my daughters.
This is somehow different.
I mean, partly it is about how we relate to each other, then and now. Partly it’s because we’re each at different places in our lives.
I never expected to feel as close to Thing 1 as I do now. I’m grateful for that. More than I have words for.
I don’t feel any less connected to Thing 2 because of it.
I have the ability to love them both at the same time in two completely different ways.

They can’t each by my favorite.
Yet they actually are.
Each one, my favorite in a different way.
Is that growth?
Is it that we’re no longer under the spell of their dad?

All I know is that I feel differently about favorite kids and parents than I did before.
I feel fortunate that I have the option to favorite either one, or both of my daughters.
Perhaps because I have the option, I don’t have to choose it?

Love isn’t a contest.
Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love.
I love my daughters in exactly the same, yet completely different ways, and I don’t really want it any other way.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

sweet birthday baby

Today I’m celebrating twenty-two years of Thing 2!
Even though she’s all grown up, she’s still my sweet baby.
Y’all, she’s only sweet a portion of the time, and she’s not at all a baby. But she is mine, and I love her more than the moon and the stars!

Thing 2 is doing the hard work of figuring out how to be an adult in this world. And however much she feels like she’s getting her ass handed to her, she’s actually making more progress than she realizes.
She’s one of those stubborn sort of girls, the ones who sometimes can’t seem to get out of their own way. (I wonder where she gets that…?) She is sometimes crippled by her own inability to make and trust a decision. She sometimes feels overwhelmed and defeated. But she’s tenacious. She keeps at it. She’s doing the day to day and eventually that will make a dent in the large and looming future.
I worry for her.
But I have faith in her.
She can do it! This thing called life.
She can do it because she’s chock full of muchness.

It seems strange to think of her as my sweet little baby, she hasn’t been that for so long. She’s her, you know? She’s a girl doing her best to live her life. She’s the daughter to two people who haven’t made her life terribly easy. She’s a sister. She’s a friend. She’s a lover. Now she’s an auntie!
In addition to her being all those things, she’s simply herself. I sometimes wonder if she feels like being herself is enough.
I believe it is. I hope she does too!

I won’t be able to smother her with hugs and kisses today, but I will twelve days from now when I collect her at the airport!
The idea of celebrating her in person brings me such joy!

Here’s a photo I absolutely adore.
Thing 2 deep in thought where the sea kisses the shore.
Can you see her muchness?

circa 2003 on the pier at Folly

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

nine days – the countdown to Baby K


OHMYGOD!!

This little nugget of adorable will be here in NINE DAYS!
AND, she’s bringing her mommy and daddy with her!
I’m so happy, I swear I might burst!!

Birdie and Baby K back together again!
SQUEEEEEEEE!

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and introducing Baby K

Baby K and her Birdie.

Turns out pregnancy wasn’t good for Thing 1’s heart.The stress of pregnancy depressed her heart’s ejection fraction enough to cause real concern. The solution was to induce early and keep a close eye on her heart.
It started out sounding much scarier than it ended up actually being. At one point we were told Thing 1 had a 50% chance of surviving labor and delivery.

Thing 1 has had some weirdness with her heart since she was a teenager, all the investigations left us with no diagnosis and more questions.
At least now we know something.

Her regular OB sent her to a high risk specialist OB in Savannah.
It has been a long time since I took copious notes to this degree.
We were immediately put at ease by the new OB. She didn’t see any reason why Thing 1 couldn’t deliver Baby K. She remarked that reading an echo cardiogram is oftentimes subjective, and referred us to a cardiologist in Savannah that same day. Another echo, and the most patient cardiologist later and we had an entirely new take on her ejection fraction.
(Ejection fraction is a measurement of how much blood the left ventricle pumps out with each contraction.)
He told us a normal ejection fraction is about 55%. Thing 1’s first cardiologist read her output as 35%, but the Savannah cardiologist read it as more like 45%. He said her ejection fraction is more than likely about 42%. And she was safe enough to labor and deliver her baby. The doctors decided to induce two full weeks before her due date to avoid more fluid build up in Thing 1’s body.

Thing 2, Husband N, and I were with Thing 1 during labor and delivery. I’ve never seen anything like my daughter’s labor. She slept through most of it, and never even broke a sweat during delivery! I was awed and delighted to be there when Baby K came into the world, but to be perfectly honest, I couldn’t keep my eyes off my daughter. I was truly amazed by her! Thing 2 teased me for my tears, of course she had her own tears, and both of us were entirely focused on Thing 1.
Y’all, my daughter is an absolute Goddess!

Thing 2 cut the umbilical cord like a total bad ass even though her face told it’s own squeamish story.
Baby K arrived Friday last, in the afternoon weighing in at 6 lbs 12 oz and 20 inches long.

The moment Thing 1 held her daughter, the world became just the two of them. Even though Husband N was there, Thing 1 couldn’t see anything but Baby K. And that was when I slipped away…

One week later, Thing 1 is healthy, feels fine and seems to be back to her normal heart self!
My momma heart is relieved and joyful!
My grandmother heart is in full on SQUEEE! mode!

Y’all!
She is absolute perfection!

Categories: love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

‘laugh it off’ or expect respect

Thing 1 posted this yesterday on social media.
She was feeling sad.

Rude old man in Lowe’s said I looked like I swallowed a watermelon seed then proceeded to laugh his butt off like it was the funniest thing ever said and block my way so I couldn’t get past him. 😭

Of course this got a lot of angry or frustrated responses: middle finger emojis (this may or may not have been mine), angry faces, one hilarious gif of Madea giving the side eye.

My Momma-hackles were up. I was flooded with the overwhelming desire to stab that “rude old man” with my icepick! Leave my kid alone, fuckface. (I know, it sounds like a word I learned in 6th grade, because I did …but just work with me on this.)

This morning I woke to a comment to which I reacted with all the feels.

Well, try to laugh it off. It’s such a limited time in your life and that watermelon is a blessing!

The person who wrote this comment loves my first daughter nearly as much as I do. They share a sacred place in each other’s hearts and lives. I know she was trying to put a positive spin on an incident that upset Thing 1. She was doing what she thought was right. And I love her dearly for it. Helping my baby see that she might be able to just shrug it off and live in a place that is filled to the brim with the blessing of Baby K. And she’s right! That man knows nothing about how or why or what Thing 1 does to live her life. And who cares what he thinks? Thing 1 just needs to keep livin’ man. L-I-V-I-N.

Only, the more I considered her kindness, I considered how women around the world have been conditioned to behave, to accept the behavior of others…
And then my hackles went absolutely haywire.
I responded to the comment in what I hope is a kind and respectful way.

I understand your heart is in the right place in this comment, I know you speak from a place of love. You’re right, this baby is a blessing.
However, my concern is, taking this stance simply perpetuates disrespect towards women everywhere. That man doesn’t know just how much of a blessing this baby is. He amused himself at the expense of a young pregnant woman. At. Her. Expense.
We should never laugh this off.

I’m actually having both sides of this conversation in my head as write this post.
Was that man attempting to be friendly and not super successful, or was he a misogynistic asshole?
I have actually used that swallowed a watermelon line in my life. But never to a stranger.
Part of me agrees that Thing 1 should just “ignore the mean boy” and go on about her life.
But as I argue both sides of this issue I realize how wrong the whole fucking thing actually is!
There is nothing OK about one entire side of this conversation!
I would NEVER let my daughters behave that way, speak that way to or about someone! Would it be different if I had sons? Would I be a bit more, “boys will be boys”?
Um. FUCK to the NO!!

I’ve moved so far beyond the compulsion to protect my child.
I’m talking basic human respect.
This is our world, y’all!
How can this be OK?

Look, I’m not some mad feminist over here beating my bare breasts while burning my bra. I’m just a regular sort of (fully clothed) woman writing about what I see and feel.
My pregnant daughter should never have to be expected to “laugh it off”! She should never be exposed to that kind of random disrespect and borderline abuse!
Nobody’s daughter should!
Nobody’s son, for that matter!

Y’all! I am fired up about this! Am I overreacting? Am I justified?
I want to know what you think.
Ladies and Gents, do we simply ‘laugh it off’, or do we do everything in our power to treat other people with basic human decency?
I want to hear what you have to say on either side of this conversation.
Please and thank you!

Categories: me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

twenty five years of Thing 1

When each of my girls turned 13 I created a book. This book was filled with photographs from their first moments until as close as I could get to the deadline before their birthday that year.
For this day twelve years ago I made Thirteen Years of Thing 1.

I honestly don’t know what the significance of my daughters becoming teenagers was, but when Thing 1 was closing in on that title, it hit me in a way I didn’t expect. And going through the photographic evidence of her lifetime brought me great comfort when I was so anxious about that anniversary of her birth.

Today is the twenty fifth anniversary of Thing 1’s birthday.
My first daughter has been in our world for a quarter century. I am awestruck!

I was on the phone with her one day last week, we were talking about her birthday. I remarked “quarter century of Thing 1”, that gave her pause. She hadn’t considered it like that. And then she rallied and said, “Sounds like it should be a book year.”
D’oh!
I did not make her a book. Part of me wishes I had, especially since this is her last birthday before becoming a mom.

I’ve called her twice already this morning. Her phone is turned off. Part of me is pleased she’s getting to sleep late, the other part of me wants to hear her voice.

I’m feeling my joy in the back of my throat and bubbling up into my eyes this morning.

Sally commented on a birthday social media post, “If she only knew how special she was to all of us! She’ll always be 3 in hearts!”
It’s true!
She was the first kid in my friend group. The first kid so many people ever loved. And even though we always tease that Sally is really my first daughter, Thing 1 changed the world for all of us.

Twenty five years ago I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. Truth is, I still don’t know what I’m doing some of the time.
I don’t think I mommied her the best possible way. I think I mommied her based on the way I was mommied.
BIG MISTAKE!
But, I learned better over time.
I grew up with her. I learned to be a woman the same time I was learning to be a mom. She paid a bit of the price for that. But she also experienced the maddest kind of love! More fun than she can possibly remember. And somewhere down deep in her I believe she holds the nugget of truth that she is the human personification of every hope and dream I ever had.
I know I failed at being her mom sometimes, but I also know that I far exceeded any mom expectations.
She is who she is because I am her mom.
I am who I am because she is my daughter.
She made me a mom twenty five years ago. In May she’ll make me a grandmother.
Still awestruck!

This is one of my all time favorite Thing 1 photos.

Age ten, November 2004 on the dock in Charleston.

Categories: love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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R. Eric Thomas

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