That's right. This day is all about me. Because I'm your mom.
And I deserve it!
I'm not even talking about how I got you here,
Though that was a BIG DEAL!
I'm talking about the diapers, runny noses, and puke puddles.
And I know you don't remember the long hours I spent walking you around
In a dark house instead of sleeping because you were miserable and crying.
But I do.
Remember those times you broke my dishes and cut my curtains,
And messed up the room I'd just cleaned?
Remember getting snot and spit up and sticky hands on me?
Oh, and the garlic powder you dumped all over the living room floor when I was seven months pregnant?
All the "one more book", "one more lullaby",
"one more cuddle" requests every night?
I drive you where you need to go, help you cope with that bully at school,
and patch up your knees when you come out on the losing end
of a collision with the sidewalk.
Teaching someone to tie their shoes and scrub a toilet and fold their clothes
is harder to do than you'd think.
And good grief!
Why do you always steal all my notebooks?
I'm a writer.
Really, some things are supposed to be mine.
But mom's don't really get possessions of their own.
Then there are the things that I knew would be hard,
Like having The Talk.
But I did it anyway.
And you will never know about the times I cried
in the bathroom behind the door,
or hated myself because I'm not good enough at this,
Or prayed at the side of your hospital bed at 3:00 am with tears running hot down my face, trying to find faith, hoping God would let me keep you here.
And there is so, so, so much more.
But the real reason I celebrate this day,
Is that this is the day I remember my greatest gifts.
Not the plants in a pot you painted at school,
or the hand prints on construction paper,
or even the "All About Mom" paper you filled out
where you said I was 57
and that my favorite food was "ovackodoses" (avocados).
All four of you.
Every day forever.
All those things I talked about up there?
They taught me patience, and selflessness, and courage.
They taught me sacrifice, and forgiveness, and faith.
So much faith.
Love so big I can't explain it or even completely understand it.
Go on and give me the carefully cooked meal,
the hand beaded necklace with my name spelled out,
and (please) that nap you promised me.
I deserve those.
I really do.
But I will never fully understand what I did to deserve you.
You made me a mother.
You made every day my day.
This post may be born out of guilt. Maybe I just want to excuse myself for something that I've been self-conscious about for awhile. You see, I'm not great a taking pictures of our life events. Lately, I've decided that I enjoy vacations and family gatherings more if I participate and savor the moment rather than trying to document everything. There is, however, the point that without pictures to remember them, the memories muddy and fade away.
I have some people in my life who are great about taking pictures. I admit that I count on them being there to take pictures for me. When they aren't and I think, "I have to take pictures", they often end up looking like this:
I took the picture, trying to capture the magic and fun of the morning, but, yeah, I'm never going to be in love with this picture.
This morning though, I realized that some of my favorite pictures in the whole world, are the ones I took because I pause and think, "This is magic. I want to keep this forever." It isn't forced. It isn't planned or expected. It just happens. I'm so glad that I've taken some of these pictures, the ones that matter because they captured something truly special. Here are some documenting my two oldest daughters' relationship:
And the thing that is so great about these pictures is that they tell a story, and you know I'm all about that.
So no more guilt. I do take the important pictures.
Life is hard. But you already knew that. So why are some people so happy all the time? I promise that it's not because they're an exception to the rule.
Some people just have a gift for optimism. They see the sunny side and the silver lining, and their glass is always half-full. It doesn't mean that they don't hurt, worry, fear, or grieve. It's just that when something good comes along, they embrace it.
I spent a good chunk of my life thinking, when (............) happens, I'll be happy. It doesn't work. Those things may or may not happen. I can promise though, tough things will come too.
So, find happiness now. This very second. Here's how:
Find something that gives you a warm fuzzy inside and DWELL on it. You know, just like we do with things that make us unhappy. Think about it. Focus on it. Savor it. Be grateful for it. Record it.
So what brings joy by the second? Here are ideas from my life:
Wow. I could keep going on and on now that I started. That;s the way it works. I bet you get these random zings of good moments in your life too. Sometimes they only last a few seconds, but they happen. Recognize them for what they are. Reasons to be happy. They add up to a joyful life.
What makes you happy? Please leave a comment and share the joy!
I spend a couple of weeks every summer waiting at the local aquatic park while my kids are in swimming lessons. This could be miserable, since it's usually hot and the place where parents are supposed to wait smells like b.o. in the worst way, but I know where find a shady spot and catch a refreshing breeze while working on my writing. I have diagrammed the plot for many chapters and stories in this oddly productive writing oasis. In fact, it inspired a story idea with lifeguard characters.Some of the lifeguards I've seen over the past few years have inspired certain quirks and personalities. I'm still sketching it out and trying to be patient till I can write it.
Another perk is that I have plenty of opportunities to EAVESDROP on teenage conversations. This is the best way to freshen up my dialogue skills since, let's face it, I'm not exactly part of the teen scene anymore. Last week, I was sitting at my favorite metal table planning out the final chapters of Focused on the back of a flyer I found in my minivan, when a group of ideal specimens strutted into the place. They too had to wait for swim lessons to end before their after-hours swim party could begin. Perfect.
At first, I was able to document that the words "crap" and "dude" are still heavily favored expressions. (This was once debated at my writer's circle.) However, it didn't take long for the topic of conversation to veer towards certain female lifeguards. I stuck it out though as it wasn't completely distasteful and was definitely genuine. Then they began to discuss their weekend plans, hoping to include "what's her name" and "that girl down the road." I'll just say that at that point I seriously considered glaring at them to let them know how disgusting they were. And, just so you know, it wasn't because I learned a new euphemism. Tiddlywacker? Seriously?
I was disgusted because they cared so little about the girls they were discussing that they didn't even bother to try remembering their names. My first thought as I gathered my stuff and walked away was, "Those poor girls. I hope they give these jingle-brains a well-aimed kick to the tiddlywacker for an answer." My second thought was, "Oh, my gosh. I have to raise a son."
I'm writing this post because I know that what I overheard is the rule, not the exception. It has been for time immemorial. The problem is, how do I write stories that are real and honest, but clean and elevating? How do I create a character with real flaws and humanity without writing something that breaks the moral code I've established for myself as a writer? These aren't questions I have an answer to yet. This is why the task I've set for myself, to write clean but authentic stories, is difficult. But I don't give up easily.
When I first began writing seriously a few years ago, it was full steam ahead. Unfortunately, life has a way of shoving mountains in your path. I've scaled some rocky slopes this year that made writing incredibly difficult, but the path before me is clear again.
To celebrate, I'm sharing a short story I wrote, purely for my own enjoyment. It is an LDS (Latter-Day Saint, a.k.a mormon) romance. so I'll provide a little background for anyone who isn't familiar with our church. Our young adults, beginning at age 18 for guys and 19 for girls, may choose to serve full-time missions. They are issued a call to serve and share the gospel somewhere in the world,
So, look on my sidebar for the document "Natalie's Song." You may download this for your reading pleasure, but please remember that this work is mine. Please don't share, copy or change it in anyway. If you would like to share it with others, please do so by sharing a link to this site.
Good times ahead. Enjoy!
My Chatter Page
Because I always have something to say,
"I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions." James Michener