Archives for posts with tag: mother

The only things that prepared me for being a Mommy were my own terrific mother and grandmothers and my ability to read anything I could on the subject. And my friends as we shared parenthood and its adventures together. I was one of the first of my friends to have a baby and I was still in college, graduate school, so I hadn’t been around any babies. I was the oldest child in my family, but we were close enough together that I didn’t remember anything about taking care of them.

I was a novice with a Better Homes & Gardens Baby Book propped open on the changing table to show me what to do. I was a good student, so I guess I approached it that same way. It was funny at the time and funnier now that I’ve had four children and eight grandchildren. That’s the first thing you’d better learn – to laugh at yourself. My husband and I often would look at each other and burst out laughing at the absurdity of it all.

A fantasy book I wanted to write while in the thick of motherhood was going to start “I had no idea how much shit I was going to handle in my lifetime…” I meant that literally and figuratively. To be more polite, let’s change that to messes of one sort or another. There’s the messy bottoms, faces, and vomit at the bottom of that mess pile. We can throw in the pet messes along with that – dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits, chameleons. What else did we have? Then there are just messes that kids make. How many Legos have I picked up in my lifetime? Star Wars characters with their itsy bitsy guns? Blocks, books, balls of all kinds, shoes, socks…it goes on and on. Some of my kids were neat and some were messy. A couple lived their teen years in rooms so bad that we just closed the door – I’d learned not to pick up for them by then. There were cooking messes…

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and dirt and mud, especially when I had a soccer goalie daughter who didn’t mind wallowing in the muddy goal. I never seemed to have towels in the car to get her home.

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And then there were life messes to clean up. Hurt feelings, anger, bad tempers, broken hearts, disappointments. You grit your teeth and pick up the physical messes. You gird your heart to take care of life’s breaks and falls.

Being a Mommy was the best thing that ever happened to me…still. I’ve been through the worst of it and the best of it and would do it all again. That would be in another lifetime…I’ve earned my stripes in this one. My son called me Mom and my girls call me Mommy. My daughter-in-law calls me Karen. They’ve grown up to be wonderful adults and parents and I’m so proud of them and for them.

Being a Mommy is a great class that never stops teaching you about yourself. You learn how far you can be pushed before you break into anger, laughter, or tears. You laugh a lot at the adorable things your children and grandchildren do and say and at yourself along the way. You are angry at yourself, at them, at others when they do the wrong thing or someone wrongs them. You learn that life isn’t fair, your children aren’t perfect, you can take on way more than you think. You learn that you cry for them, with them, and when they accomplish something big or small. I’ve cried through some pretty silly school programs. It could be that the most uncontrollable tears of all are the ones of pride.

Most of all you learn that your heart is way bigger than before they came into it. You learn that it swells with pride and a love you never understood before. You learn that it can be broken and that they help it heal.

This Mother’s Day weekend, I rejoice in the lessons this Mommy has learned. I remember with gratitude the love that I was surrounded with from my own Mommy and grandmothers and aunts. I send much love to the precious Mommies in my family who make me so proud of them and their children.

And love to all Mommies out there. Have fun, be proud of what you do and laugh at yourself with joy! Happy Mother’s Day!

One of the books I got from my mother was her 1946 book of household information.  My mother threw herself into being a housewife when she got married in 1945.  When I open this book, I like to think of her reading it intently and picking the hints she would use.

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I love these old books for their everyday wisdom, the simple illustrations, and to see how far we’ve come.  I also learn a lot of useful tips even for today.

Obviously, this book will be used in other blogs because it’s too funny and interesting not to share.  Today, I picked two tips that stood out.

The first is timely since we are still in cold and flu season.  I absolutely never thought of making pockets for my sheets.  Maybe because I hate to sew and don’t have scraps of old sheets around to use like my grandmother did.  I don’t feel guilty because I do send my old sheets to Goodwill where they probably ship them off to Africa for re-use there.  Also, I don’t sleep as neatly as this person must have.

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The second tip is for sleeve protectors when you are doing housework.  This one blows me away.  Obviously, these women were dressed in long sleeved blouses or dresses, but couldn’t they just push up the sleeves?  The “gay sleeve protector” is made from colorful fabric, once again found around the house, with snaps sewn on so you could wind it around your arm.  This was the fancy version.  I’m trying to envision this one and the trouble they went to making it work.

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When I’m trying to explain to my kids that I ran a house without an answering machine, computer, or cell phone, I have to remember that I grew up in a time when we didn’t have clothes dryers, barely a washing machine (my grandmother had a wringer washer), dishwashers, electric vacuums, much less television.  By the time I was married, we had all of those things.

My huge respect for the women in my family who preceded me continues to grow.  I remember hanging out the clothes with my mother and grandmother, using the push sweeper, and washing the dishes (which I’m actually doing now since my dishwasher isn’t working).  None of those things was horrible, looking back.  But, we love our progress that lets us spend less time cleaning and more time….doing what?  I think we trade one set of chores for another as women.

When I was a little girl, I took a lot of time picking out Christmas presents for my family at the T. G. & Y. (dime store).  How much money did I have saved up?  A couple of dollars?  Maybe $5.  I had a lot of gifts to buy.  For many years, I would give my mother a bottle of Evening in Paris perfume…well, it was probably toilet water, not even cologne.  It had to be the most glamorous thing in the store in that beautiful cobalt blue bottle with the fancy silver label.  I don’t know if I even knew what it smelled like, but it had to be good with a name like that.  I can see myself holding the bottle, knowing this would be the best gift ever.  I can picture the twinkle in her eye when she opened it with such delight, as only a mother can honestly do.

When my mother was in her 80s, I found a bottle of Evening in Paris in an antique store and it still had some of the fragrance in it.  I gave it to her that year for Christmas and she smiled the biggest smile and put it with her collection of perfumes and perfume bottles, as mothers do.  When she died, I took the bottle back and it sits with some of her other bottles where I see it every day.  The label fell off along the way, but it’s such a distinctive shape and beautiful bottle, even without the fancy silver lid.  Anyone would know it was the real deal, something very special.

And it makes me smile when I think of the little girl that I was and my terrific mother who appreciated my sincere effort to bring her something as wonderful as she was.

P. S.  I saw that The Vermont Country Store holiday catalogue has the actual Evening in Paris perfume for sale now.  Really.

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I started my morning watching the incredible Paul McCartney’s “Kisses on the Bottom,” originally shown on PBS Great Performances.  One of the songs he sings is “Always,” which was my mother’s favorite song.  She sang it to us as a lullaby and then sang it all the rest of our lives.  The lyrics make me teary…”I’ll be loving you, always.  Not for just an hour, not for just a day, not for just a year, but always…”  I hear those words when I make my bed the way she taught me, when I look at my own children and grandchildren.  I always smile..

Today, I’m having breakfast with friends from Kindergarten, grade school, junior high, high school, college.  We’ve been through playgrounds and birthday parties, boyfriends and proms, classes up through college, marriages and divorces, births and deaths.  We laugh, share, gossip, cry and wrap our arms around each other.  These are Always friends and I treasure them.  We mean more to each other every year.

I sing “Always” to my youngest granddaughter, Eliza.  All the other grandkids are too big to listen to me right now.  I sing it in my heart when I watch my children and grandchildren.  Everyone needs someone in their life to sing this song to them…

I’ll be loving you, Always
With a love that’s true Always.
When the things you’ve planned
Need a helping hand,
I will understand Always.

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