Posts Tagged With: unconditional love

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?

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

tenacity in her DNA

Been thinking about Thing 2.
Concerned she’s not really getting her life together. She’s employed, sometimes happily, sometimes miserably. (But, aren’t we all?) I’ve been concerned about her emotional well being. And the well being of Boyfriend J. I worry for them. I know what it’s like to feel trapped. To feel defeated and how easy it is to let that consume you.

And then the other day, she shared that her dear friend Jimmy is going through so much with his mom and her health, and then suddenly she suffered a stroke and is in a vegetative state with no real hope of improvement.
Thing 2 expressed how hard it is to feel helpless when all she wants to do in the world is help her friend and his sweet mom through this moment in their lives.

I began to consider everything my baby daughter has been through in the last year or so.
I’ve seen her hold the hand of her dearest friend after the sudden and surprising suicide of his father.
I’ve seen her rush to the home of her sister and brother in law because the latter specifically requested her presence after the loss of their baby.
I’ve seen her be there for Jimmy even though she’s not sure how to be other than to “throw hugs and beer at him”.

This young woman has demonstrated a level of strength and support that most seasoned adults don’t always successfully handle. She is handling her own complicated emotional feelings, as well as for the people she loves. She’s been tremendously responsible for the people she loves.
So I feel like I need to stop and breathe a little bit. I need to realize she’s doing things with her time and life that are important, even if they’re not actively furthering her “getting it together”.
The thought she’s using these things as avoidance for dealing with getting her life together crossed my mind, and it’s a very Thing 2 sort of way to function, but after talking with her today I feel like she’s working hard to get herself together as well as supporting and loving her people.

She’s learning how to ‘adult’ and I think she’s kind of digging it!

I told her not giving up is hard af but it’s more worth it than she even understood. And this superhero feeling is why!

Of course there will be days when she’s not feeling especially superheroish, but now that she has, she’ll remember it and be more inclined to keep going when the going gets tough. Not quitting when life gets hard is part of growing up. Feeling accomplished and empowered when you persevere is the reward. She’ll remember that now that she’s experienced it.
She doesn’t remember fighting for her life as a new baby. She doesn’t remember how hard she worked to stay healthy. My girl is a fighter! She’s got a strength and tenacity down deep in her. She’s seeing evidence of that now. This time, she’ll remember.
Everyone needs their ‘I did it!’ moments.

I told her I knew she had it in her, that she knew she had it in her and just needed to be reminded.
She wrote: “Really I didn’t want to “brag” to you about how everything is working out (albeit in its own silly Thing 2 way) and make you feel, well, I don’t know what I was afraid of, but it’s nice to hear that you’re rooting for me (and us)” (Us being her and Boyfriend J)
“And I know you always are and will be, but I feel like recognizing it.
You gave me my tenacity.
And I am eternally grateful (heart emoji)

I told her that her tenacity is in her very DNA and I’m just here to remind her.

She replied: “I love you. Thank you for being the best momma, and for being an incredible human aside from your fierce momma-ness”

I shared with her that YBW and I had been talking about how she’s doing, and I shared with him about where and how she is and what she’s doing for her friends. That he’s been loving and supportive in our conversations about her. That even though they’re relationship is a bit tricky, he’s on her side.

She replied:

(This is one of my new favorite Robynbird/YBW analogies. I’m totally the cereal and he’s absolutely the fruit and nut mix.)

That’s the second time this week one of those girls told me they appreciated me.
Thing 1 did it on Thursday in a text message that read: “You’re a great mom. So you know”
And that creates nice warm fuzzy feelings in me.
My own ‘I did it!’ moment!

I built the foundation.
They’re in charge of construction now.
I’m going to worry…I don’t know how to not…but I see what’s being built, and I’m feeling comfortable and confident for them.

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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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Shrimpy


Baby’s first photo!

That little bebe is super healthy and is scheduled to make her/his debut September 30. (Thing 1 is keen to push it till October. I’m feeling her on that even without explanation. Her due date was February 27 and I was hankering a March baby. I got what I wanted, I’m hopeful she will too.)

When I showed the photo to YBW I remarked the bebe looked a bit like a shrimp. Then I giggled and said, “Aww, little Shrimpy.” Thing 1 called me just a moment afterwards and I shared that nugget of conversation. She repeated it to Husband N and Thing 2. I heard Thing 2’s voice, “We have to call it Shrimpy!”

Thing 1 sent that photo this morning, so I guess we’re going with Shrimpy. I’ll miss saying ‘the bebe’, but it’ll be nice not to say ‘it’ all the time.

Thing 2 also said the bebe would be a Libra.
I’d already deduced that.
In our world, Libra is better than Virgo. We know some really crap Virgos.
What’s interesting about Shrimpy being a Libra is that Thing 1 is a Pisces and Husband N is a Gemini. Pisces and Gemini have a particular duality to them. Could be considered light and dark, or yin and yang. I most often refer to that duality as sweet Thing 1 and evil Thing 1 (or Husband N).
So with these double sided signs it might be handy for a third party to be one inclined to balance the scales. As long as that is tempered with the ability to manage that inclination. That’ll grow in time. Or, Thing 2 will knock Thing 1 and Husband N’s heads together so that bebe isn’t always walking a tightrope.

Thing 1 shared with me that she really liked the nurses at the ob practice, that one of them noted that Husband N and Thing 2 showed an abundance of excitement. Thing 1 is generally reserved when it comes to demonstrating her excitement. Thing 2 and Husband N are not remotely reserved about sharing their excitement!
I have this vision in my head of what it was like.

Thing 1 kind of like, ‘Yeah, but I love them.’

I asked her if seeing the bebe and watching it’s little heart beat made it more real to her. She replied she never doubted that it was real, mostly because there was no reason for her to be vomiting so much if she wasn’t pregnant.
I suspect I asked her because I was asking myself the same question.
Does seeing that little bebe in a grainy black and white ultrasound photo make him or her more real to me?
Interestingly, the answer is no.
My baby is going to have a baby of her own. However next level that is, it’s always been real to me.
As of today, she is 7 weeks 5 days along in her pregnancy. Only 32 weeks and 2 days to go! (Did I math that right?)
Between now and then, we’ll hopefully discover if Shrimpy is a boy or a girl. Thing 1 and Husband N will settle on a name. Thing 2 and I will plan and execute a kick ass baby shower. And a whole load of other not quite as cool and even some cooler stuff.

I’m planning to head to Georgia for part of spring break. Want to hug my girl. Want to hug her husband. Want to rub her little belly and let Shrimpy know we’re all about her or his arrival.

Y’all, we might (occasionally) be idiots, but we have great big love!

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the most exciting news…EVER!

Eeeeeeeeeee!
I can finally share the most exciting news I’ve ever had to share!
I’m going to be a grandmother!

I got a call from Thing 1 last week on Tuesday. I was walking out the door to go to school, she asked if I had a minute. I explained what I was doing so she said, she might need more time than that. Well, this got me worried. I immediately go into mommy-mode, is she OK? Is Husband N OK? Yes, yes everyone is OK she assures me. And all of the sudden I just knew!
I said, OHMYGOD! Are you pregnant!?!
She giggled and confirmed!

HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY!!!!!
Of course I was sworn to secrecy. That makes sense to me, it’s her story to tell, and Husband N’s story to tell.
I was strictly forbidden to tell Aunt Sundance, and Aunt Sally in Charleston.
I was allowed to tell YBW. (Yeah, like that wasn’t gonna happen.)
However much I want to shout it from the rooftops, I made a promise to my girl and I’m going to keep it. She and her husband are entering into the trickiest place in life and need all the love and support they can get.
She’s since told her aunties and Husband N’s extended family.

Thing 2 found a way around the strict no-tell policy.

My Things have been talking to each other, and each of them to me even more so than normal. In one conversation, one or the other of them asked what I thought I might want to be called. I always said when I had grandbabies I’d want them to call me by my childhood nickname, Roby. I love the way it sounds when little children say it. Only now that I’m presented with a legit grandbaby, I’m not sure I’m feeling Roby any more. So, I’m made a list.
I mean of course I made a list…

Sent this to each of the girls. This one went to Thing 1, Thing 2’s had the word ‘thoughts’ written up the side.
My top three were Birdie, Lolly, and Mémé (we’ll choose to pronounce it may-may)
Thing 2 and Husband N voted for Mémé and Thing 1 and I are waffling between Lolly and Mémé.

My friend and mentor Jessica (Oh, I was allowed to tell her so she and I could confer regarding the most important parenting books Thing 1 and Husband N would need.) anyway, she suggested I go with Lolly and YBW could be ‘Pop’ and together, we’d be ‘LollyPop’! Gah! Cutest grandparent names EVER!
Only one problem…the Things’ father shared with me that he wants to be called Pop. Needless to say that put the kibosh on me being called Lolly. Sad face me…though I’m not sure I’m ready to cross it off the list.

YBW, first of all is almost every bit as excited as I am. Then the moment of pause kicks in and he says, “I’m not sure I’m ready to be a grandparent.” I figure it like this, he has two options, the first is to abstain from being this bebe’s grandfather, to which he said a resounding NO! The second option is embrace it and realize that even though we’re “only 47”, we’re completely ready and capable of being grandparents. That was his choice.
I keep asking him what he wants to be called, and asking his opinion of what he thinks I should be called. He’s struggling with that because in his experience, his first born named his grandmother by repeating a specific sound when he saw her. My experience is that with the exception of for the first two and a half years of Thing 1’s life, she called both myself and my mother Mommy, until she was finally able to say Grandmommy, she called everyone what they asked to be called.
I love how different families experience the same things differently.

Thing 1 has been struggling with morning sickness. And y’all, I mean struggling. It’s interesting, I was so sick with her from the moment I got pregnant twenty-four seven and for nearly six months. So much so, that twice I was hospitalized for dehydration and hooked up to an IV. Good times.
Sunday was a particularly bad morning for her.

Poor old Bear.

Sundance called me Mimi…I told her it’s not my name, so I don’t want her to get too attached to it.
Sally texted me last night now all I can hear is Laura San Giacomo’s voice.

My joy is honestly bigger than any joy I’ve ever experienced.
Marrying YBW with all the people we love most there to share our joy with us. And y’all, there was a room full of the greatest joy that day.
I wanted to be a mom from the time I can remember. Becoming a mom has brought me unbelievable joy. More joy than I ever expected, or ever deserved to experience.
But this. This is something else entirely.
My baby having a baby…
This is next level!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 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

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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