Family is like music; some high notes, some low notes, but always a beautiful song.
Some of my best memories are of my kids as they were growing up, their friends, and my nieces and nephews. I really miss those days. I was younger, not disabled, and they were the best years of my life.
I’ve found myself being reminded of several events this past few days. I’ll see something on tv, read something, or see a photo that reminds me of something from the past. Sometimes it makes me laugh, and sometimes brings a tear to my eye. I’m sharing a few of those memories with you today.
My son’s first day of Kindergarten didn’t go as planned. He wanted to wear his new Batman flip-flops to school and I didn’t see a problem since the weather was still very hot. The flip-flops looked something like these pictured. Within 2 hours of being in school, one of the flip-flops broke. He was devastated. When I went to pick him up that day, his teacher told me that it ruined his entire day.
That very same teacher, when my son was an adult and out of school, saw my son and I in the Walmart parking lot. She yelled, “Chuck, is that you?” My son yelled, “No!” I must have laughed for 30 minutes!
I recall one April Fool’s Day, my son and his then-girlfriend decided to play a prank, and it was a good one. I had no clue what they had done until mid-morning when I went to get a fork for my pancakes. I was completely shocked as the drawer was completely void of knives and forks! “What the hell happened to all the silverware?” I yelled. I walked into the living room and there they sat with smirks on their faces holding back the laughter the best they could. Suddenly, something caught my attention from above and I looked up. Lo and behold, every knife and fork we owned was taped to the ceiling!
Another April Fool’s Day, my son thought it would be pretty funny to hide the car. (He was old enough to know how to drive.) He moved the car behind the shed, out of sight. It was after lunch before I looked out the window and noticed the car was gone. I thought someone had stolen it!
I was 35 for 5 years before my kids did the math. Yesterday, my daughter pm’d me and asked what I would like for my birthday this year. I replied, “Oh fuck. Do I have to have another? I’m too fucking old already,” to which she replied, “What? You’re only 35!” Of course, I laughed my ass off just being reminded of those years when I got away with being 35 years old!!
From the ages of 6 to about 12, my daughter would wake up in the middle of the night, and sit with us in the living room. She always had this glossy-eyed, out-of-sorts look on her face, which told me she was sleep-walking AND that she actually got up to go pee. We would sit and carry on complete conversations with her, until I told her she should go to the bathroom. She would get up and go, and then head right back to bed. The next day, she wouldn’t remember a thing!
One time, my son and I were going to Walmart and it started to rain – POUR down rain – just as we got there. We decided to make a run for it. He was only about 4, so I was holding his hand. I hit a giant puddle of water and landed face-down, taking my son down with me. We got up, soaking wet, and my poor little boy looked up at me and asked, “Why’d you do that for, mommy?”
A friend of my son’s came over one day after school. I think they were in high school at the time. I don’t recall what we had that evening but the friend stayed for dinner. Afterward, he told me that he’d rather I take his plate to the sink, because he didn’t want to break our good China! It was very thoughtful of him but I assured him, they were Dollar Tree plates and definitely NOT good China…although they were probably made in China! We all laughed. It was pretty funny at the time!
Well, there’s a few random memories that are now documented in type, so I won’t ever forget…unless my blog gets deleted. Ugh. I’ll bet you have some pretty funny (and fond) memories, too.
Is there such a thing as A Perfect Mother? Perfect, by definition is “free from any flaw or defect in condition or quality; faultless.” Are any of us ‘free from any flaw” or “faultless”? I think not. Can a mother be free of flaws? Nope.
We aren’t given an instruction manual when we have our first child. We can read every single book ever written about parenting and still fuck up. Things don’t always work in our favor. What works for one mother, may not work for another. What works with one child, may not work with another. All children are different. All mothers are different.
Was I A Perfect Mother? Hell to the no. But I did my best. I screwed up several times. It happens. My mother wasn’t the best role model. My ‘motherly’ role models were teachers. My mother learned how to be a mother from her mother, my grandmother. My grandmother had to work because she was a single mom, and my mom and brother ran around and did whatever the hell they wanted. Granny did what she had to do BUT she didn’t have to sit on a barstool for hours after work, either. I loved my grandmother and my mother, and I know they did the best they could with the knowledge they had. I know I did a better job of raising my children than my mother did with my sisters and me. The point is that no one is perfect and we all make mistakes. There’s no such thing as A Perfect Mother. All we can do is the best we can.
I was never the ‘perfect’ mom and I never claimed to be but these things I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt:
- I love my children more than life and would gladly give my life to save theirs.
- I protected them from the “icky stuff” between their father and me.
- My children, now grown, would probably argue to this day that I was OVER protective. I was not. I knew where my kids were, who their friends were, and communicated with their friends’ parents regarding sleepovers and parties. That was part of my job!
- We had rules but I wasn’t strict. I can only think of twice (once each) that I had to resort to spanking. They were pretty good kids!
- They grew up in a safe environment, knowing they were loved.
- They didn’t have everything they wanted but they had what they needed.
- I always tried to let my kids know how special they were; that they were good at x, y, or z.
- I told them how much I loved them all the time.
- I read to them most nights before bed. They often saw me reading books. Still, neither of them like to read, to my dismay.
- My kids ate junk food, but they also ate veggies and protein! Balance!
- When my kids were upset, I let them be alone for a bit and then offered my help if they wanted it. I instilled in them that they could always talk to me, no matter what, but to this day neither of them talks to me about the hard stuff.
- There were several times when they were growing up that I got strange vibes from certain people. I always trusted my gut and steered clear of those people to protect my kids.
- I allowed my kids to make age-appropriate decisions as they were growing up. They screwed up sometimes but I was there for support and guidance.
- I always told them that they had the right to defend themselves if need be, but they had better not take the first punch.
- I cherished the things my kids made for me in school or during other activities. In fact, I have an entire storage trunk full of mementos and sentimental things. Some things are still hanging on my walls!
- I taught my children to love and appreciate nature and animals; to watch and learn from things instead of killing it or destroying its habitat.
- My kids were clean when they went to school or anywhere else. They bathed every night. They had clean clothes, shoes that fit and I wore sweat pants for many years just so they had what they needed.
- My kids always came first; when we were still with their father and after we left. They were my priority, my pride, and joy. They were my heart.
They are still my heart. No matter how old they are, or how old I become…they will always be my heart!
We had a ritual back in the day. On payday, we would either go out and eat pizza at our favorite place in town or I would call and order the pizza, then pick it up.
This particular payday, I ordered the pizza and planned to go pick it up 40 minutes later, when they said it would be ready. CP was home, sitting on his ass as per the norm. It was the only night of the work week he didn’t go to bed at 7:30 pm. If I’m being honest, I much preferred the nights he came home from work and went directly to bed.
My daughter was hungry and my son was just a baby, so I’m sure he had been fed already. My daughter (aged 3) always liked to go bye-bye with mommy, as most daughters do. I had no problem taking her with me because she was always a good girl. I thought, however, that my lazy, good-for-nothing partner (now ex, thank goodness) would at the very least offer to watch the baby while I went after the pizza. I wasn’t about to ask him because he always acted like I was inconveniencing him by asking him to do any freakin’ thing. Of course, he didn’t even bat an eye. No offers to pick up the pizza, no offers to watch the baby.
I got the kids ready and headed out the door. When I got to the pizza place, I got the kids out of the car. I carried my son in a carrier and held my daughter’s hand. I believe I used a fanny pack back then because I didn’t have enough hands to be carrying a purse! We went inside, and after a bit of a wait, paid for our pizza and headed out the door.
But before we got out the door, I realized I had a baby in one hand and the pizza in the other. How was I to hold my daughter’s hand? I was, at that very moment monumentally pissed at CP. I stopped just inside the door and asked my daughter to hang onto mommy’s shirt and to not let go for any reason until I told her to. I also explained why I couldn’t hold her hand. Thankfully, she was smart and understood.
We got to the car, and I strapped the kids back into the car. I was fuming mad but hiding it from the kids. Why the hell couldn’t CP have offered to watch the kids, or at least the baby? Well, the answer is simple. He was a thoughtless and inconsiderate SOB!
When we were almost home, I told my daughter how proud I was that she held my shirt like such a big girl, just like mommy asked her to. She said, “Thank you, Mommy,” and she smiled so big and bright it almost made me forget what an asshole her father was.
When we got home, I helped my daughter out of the car, put my son in the carrier, and grabbed the pizza. My daughter was already in the house, holding the door open for me because she knew my hands were full. As I entered the door, CP was just sitting there with a look on his face that I was familiar with. That look indicated to me that he was irritated for some reason.
I thanked my big 3-year-old, thoughtful helper for holding the door. She said, “You hands are fulled up, mommy.” Even a 3-year-old can think! Why couldn’t her father? About that time, CP piped in and said something about how long it took. I don’t recall his exact words but it pissed me off, whatever they were.
I said, “For your information, it was a bit crowded there tonight because of a boy’s baseball team celebrating their win. And to top that off, I was struggling with full hands -baby in one hand, pizza in the other – all while trying to keep your daughter safe because I couldn’t hold her hand in the busy parking lot!”
CP’s face changed to a more angry look and he started to speak – but stopped, thought about what he was about to say – and said, “All you had to do was ask and I would have gone for the pizza or watched the kids.” To that, I replied, “I shouldn’t have to ask you to do things to help me or to watch your own children so don’t even give me that crap!”
CP grabbed a few pieces of pizza and went outside to sulk. When he came in, he went to bed without a word. I felt like I was raising 3 kids, instead of 2! He must have scarfed that pizza down like a starving dog because my daughter and I were still eating, and enjoying every bite! Of course, hers were tiny and mine a bit bigger.
Today is the day I first met someone very special in my life. My first-born child, born on Friday the 13th, March of 1987. She’s 31 years old today!
S.R. was due on the 6th of March, but leave it to her to be stubborn from the very beginning! When she was a week late, I went into labor. I suffered through 18 hours of hard, back labor. That child was so stubborn she refused to come out! Joking aside, S.R.’s head was too wide for my narrow pelvis. I was relieved (and scared at the same time) when the doctor decided to do a C-section.
I was so happy to meet my baby for the very first time! She had a cone head for a few hours but “ain’t nuttin’ wrong with her head now!” She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen…..I know, all moms say that, right?
Since S.R. was born on Friday the 13th, the nurses tried to pull one over on us and list her birth date on her birth certificate as the 14th, which was not accurate at all. I made them change it. Maybe it wasn’t intentional as I can’t believe people are that superstitious!
My Dad, being the huge comedian he is, pegged S.R. with the nickname Jason, from the Friday the 13th movies. He still calls her that from time to time and it still makes me laugh.
My dear, beautiful daughter has been through some hard times, bad decisions, and heartbreak but she has come out of it stronger than ever. She has grown into a strong, independent, and responsible young woman. She’s a great mom and I’m proud of how far she has come. I just wish she didn’t live so far away! (I’m told it’s just a 5-hour drive and 10 years ago I could have done it, but not now.)
The problem with S.R. turning 31 today, is that I too am growing older. No one told ever told me how old I would have to get to see my children grown and living their own lives! The years keep adding up and I keep getting older… Soon, but not too soon, S.R. will be my age and wondering where all the years have gone! She will be feeling old and nostalgic just like I am right now.
My beautiful daughter, if you’re reading this please know how much I love and adore you. I am proud of the young woman you have become. I hope you’re having a wonderful birthday celebration today! When you come visit, I’ll make your favorite cake and we’ll pig out like we used to! Happy Birthday!