Sunday, May 10, 2009
Mother's Day......Let's be honest shall we?
I hate Mother's Day. Really. Can't stand it. All that schmaltzy, cheesy, nonsense. Rainbows, butterflies, hearts and crap. Blah, blah BLAH!
Let's put it out there like it really is huh?
We are, therefore we all have a mother. Some of us were raised by our birth mothers, others of us were not. Either way, we have a mother figure of some sort.
Today is the day we generally set aside to honor mothers. Whether we want to or not, our thoughts are guided to our own moms, ourselves as mothers, or even the misfortune of NOT being a mother. And usually, at least for me, the day sucks. Plain and simple.
There are some people who are very close to their Moms. Talk at least once a day on the phone, visit every week, share everything in life together. For me? I don't get it. Don't get me wrong. My mom was the best Mom she could be. I'm not gonna pretend everything was roses and cheesecake (which is gross, by the way), when in reality is wasn't. We both know we had a rough go of it. It's okay. It is what it is. I don't have the "call every day-talk all the time-share every little thing" relationship with her and that's okay. There is mutual respect and love and that is enough. So I don't get that whole part of it all.
Then, after I became a mom, I would do just about anything to get out of going to church. Again, the cheesy crap that I knew was going to come. Butterflies, rainbows and freaking heart crap! "Oh, I just don't know what I'd do without my Mom"......BLECH!
Not only was I NOT that kind of Mom, but I didn't HAVE that kind of Mom. So I never fit in. Anywhere.
I yelled. I spanked. I issued time-outs. I grounded. I swear. I let the TV babysit on more than one occasion. I was not at the "crossroads", I worked outside the home. I didn't sew, bake or even remotely cook. I didn't organize fun play dates. I wasn't the PTA president. My house wasn't spotless and organized to a T. And don't even get me started on making their Halloween costumes. Oh how I hated that day at school and the stupid costume parade! I didn't teach them hard work by giving them daily chores and Saturday projects. Not one of my sons is an Eagle Scout. I made my middle child lay with a broken arm all night because I didn't think anything was wrong. They ran out of lunch money and more often than not, had overdue library books. I didn't stay up all night working on their science projects with them or wait on the couch until they came home from a date so we could "talk". I didn't ensure weekly family home evenings, nightly scripture study and kneel by them while they said their prayers.
Yup. Confirmed. I suck.
Then this week, I let myself stew on it a little longer. Maybe it was because I had Sissy all week and had lots of time to think back to my earlier parenting years and what has become of our family now. Maybe it's because I now have the perspective of a 42 year old whose sons are mostly raised. Hindsight truly is 20/20.
My kids know EXACTLY how I feel about anything and everything and usually loud enough to not bear repeating. They also know, they can tell me anything in any kind of words they feel they need to. So what if there are some cuss words at my house? As long as it's not the f-bomb or the Lord's name, you are generally okay. My kids know the line. And they don't usually swear. Just me. Funny how that worked out isn't it?
And while my sons aren't Eagle Scouts, they do know the value of working and serving their community. I wasn't the PTA president but I did spend 10+ years of the board for Little League. My kids know what it is like to spend an entire Saturday in a hot snack bar grilling burgers, dropping a basket of fries in the hot grease, and pumping out snow cones. They know how to deal with angry people. They have watched me stand my ground with parents and umps, and then turn around and help a 4 year old figure out which candy bar he wanted cause "he can't read yet". They watched as I had to report theft in our league and turn in our very good friends to law officials. They watched as I struggled to do the right thing.
They have seen me "give it to" a teacher who was wrong. Sit in class in middle school to prove a point and take on the principal over an important cause.
My house was generally in chaos not so much because of disorganization, but because of sheer numbers. I have had more boys at my house than you can imagine. My sons know that anyone and everyone is welcome. They don't have to ask first, so I can shine up the place. They just come here to be. And while I don't wait up on the couch to talk after a date, they know that a quiet "Mom, I'm home" is enough for me to prop up on an elbow and ask for details. Not just my own sons know that my great big bed is the "talking" place. I have had my fair share of others plopped at the foot of my bed yakking away at me. My sons also know that whatever food we have in the pantry is there to share. No questions. And while my boys probably have to look on the front page of the scriptures to find a particular book, they do know where.I.am.all.the.time.
How did my little family turn out? In spite of me, and that I suck according to the Mother's day standards?
- making some hard life decisions and has chosen a different path, but is honest enough with me to tell me. He is open with me to a fault I think. He knows that even though I get more than ticked at him sometimes, my door will never be shut and locked. It's open, just waiting for him. I don't know that he'll ever seek that door, and while our hearts break daily for him. He ultimately knows we love him. It is enough for now.
- After some waffling back and forth his later teenage years, made the decision to serve a mission for our church. He is happier than I have ever seen him. And though, he might not have learned all the things he should have from me before he left, he is a successful servant of the Lord. And he is happy. Happier than I have ever known him to be. He is a leader, an example and a walking testimony of the power of the atonement in one's life.
- A good boy. Knows what he wants and what he doesn't. Is kind, compassionate and is one of the most non-judgemental persons I have ever met. He accepts people for what they are, who they are and constantly sees the good in things. And more than any of my kids, is completely self-reliant. And at work, is a great employee. Being the only one left at home, has become my good friend.
I have realized that my kids are who they are. They were themselves before they ever came to this earth. I'm not a believer in "molding". I can't mold a shape that is already formed. I can teach, help, guide, show by example, love and pray for my kids. However, in the end, they are their own selves. I was blessed to be small sliver in their earthly experience. I was blessed to have the opportunity to learn MY life lessons through attempting to be their Mom.
Their personalities and traits were already in place before I ever got a hold of them. I just tried to instill the good things that I knew, encourage them to be the best they can be, teach them about consequences and then leave the rest up to them. I can neither accept blame or compliments on how they turn out. They get all the credit. They, in the end, make their own choices.
So for all of you that have posted such beautiful poems, sayings, pictures and otherwise very touching tributes, I say good on ya!
As for me, now that I got a rockin gift from Splenda and the Tuffster, I say, let the day be over already! Let me get back to my everyday life. Let me go back to enjoying my kids for who they are, enjoying their personalities that they were created and born with, enjoying the fact that we are a family who loves each other despite the fact that maybe we didn't do all the things were were counseled to do perfectly all the time.
Am I glad to be a mother? A resounding YES! It has been the greatest blessing of my life. But at the same time, NGL - it's been the hardest, most heartbreaking trial of my life as well. If I could go back, would I do anything different? Probably not. I did the best I could. Not all of my children chose what I would have wanted, but I really don't think anything more that I could have done would have changed that.
It is a good feeling to relieve myself of that burden.
I have to repeat, I can no more take the blame for my children's actions than I could take the praise. It's them. It's their choices. And truly, I am just blessed to be a small part of their earthly experience.
So for next year Mother's Day? I am going to approach it a little differently. I am going to applaud my children for their good choices. Demand expensive gifts for putting up with their crap, have an expensive dinner on Splenda and then call it good.
And if anyone decides to bring up the foo-foo, fluffy, butterfly, rainbow hearts crap. I'm gonna knock up 'side of their heads to get some sense back into them and then move on.
Happy Mother's Day!