1)My eyes are getting old. If you want me to read your blog please don’t use a fancy font. Also don’t select a purple background with dark grey type. Just way too much effort for my eyes.
2)If you want me to read your blog use discretion please with unnecessary pictures of your naked feet. Please at least have your toenails clipped if you find including your feet in the post necessary.
3)Publish my comments please. That is all the fun of blogging! I commented on another mom’s blog. She was the mom of a three or four year old girl. She didn’t like people using the hashtag #boymom to identify the experiences of having a son. She didn’t feel like girls and boys were that different. I don’t think we should put people in a box, but on the other hand my son and daughter are different and that is okay. I’m not a hashtag user but if people want to talk about their experiences as a #boymom, that is okay. You learn pretty quick when you bring your son home that you must be a lot hastier changing the diaper than you were with your daughter. You’ll see quickly that your son is more likely to turn most any object into a sword or a weapon than your daughter is. Of course there are exceptions. I commented on her blog and my comment never showed up. I guess an actual #boymom wasn’t welcome to the discussion.
P.S. Thanks to all the wonderful bloggers out there who have published my comments.
I wrote this several years ago. It is inspired by my mother and father in law. Since I wrote this my father in law has been reunited with his bride in heaven and this will be their first Valentine’s Day together in that celestial place. Annie’s spirit is now at rest.
It is has been several year since I left this world. My spirit feels restless, I don’t feel settled in my home up above.
We shared fifty years of married life. You were the only one to ever call me Annie, everyone else called me Anna.
We met one day as teens the day I took my brother fishing at the lake. You lived the next town over. I think I loved you the moment I met you. After high school was over we married, and just about a year later we had our first baby.
I’d never really thought about doing anything else with my life, being a wife and mother was everything to me. I’d had five babies and I still relished my role.
Some people thought I was a bit simple, relishing a kid’s first day of school or lost tooth or trying to perfect your favorite pie. Those were happy days for me.
One day a cold shadow seemed to enter life in our small town. A pale woman with lizard eyes seems to always be on the periphery. I see you talking to her after church and at the town festival. I know as a banker you see it as your role to be friendly to all but this seems different.
I hear whispers. I wonder what is happening when you say you are working late. I don’t ever confront you. I will never say the lizard eyed woman’s name. I don’t speak to the lizard eyed woman. I pretend she is invisible.
But just as I feel the situation is getting intolerable, the lizard eyed woman’s husband decides they are moving to another town. I hear the lizard eyed woman’s husband is mean, but to me he is a kindred spirit.
After they move, I do my best to forget the cold shadow the lizard eyed woman left behind. Our children marry. I get lost in the weddings and grandchildren that seem to happen every few years.
Our family gathers together. I hear my name…Annie, Mom, Grandma. It brings me joy to hear my name. I don’t feel quite right that day, but I take comfort in the hugs of little kids. The very smallest child there can’t yet say my newest name…great grandma. I get to hold her for the longest time.
After that day I still don’t feel right. We see the doctor, he says my time is getting shorter. As everyone comes to my home to visit, it all seems bittersweet. As the time gets closer I hear your sister say that you and I will meet again someday in heaven. I can’t respond to her but the words bring me comfort.
I’ve left this world. As people mark the end of my life I hear my name…Anna, Annie, mom. I see my physical body in the ground and I am told my spirit must leave this world.
My spirit is unsettled. I know everyone, including you must move on with their lives. I don’t object to you finding comfort in the arms of another, until I see it is the lizard eyed woman.
Our children sense you have changed somehow. You delay telling them about the lizard eyed woman. But then she insists that everything be out in the open. She is now your wife and takes your last name. I guess she has forgotten the last name she shared with her own kids and their father. From that point on the children will never see you without her. The children all whisper amongst each other…the oldest try to piece together old memories of this woman.
I see the traces of me in our house start to disappear. The afghans I had crocheted, little knickknacks I had collected along the way. Even our most recent family picture is gone.
It is time for Thanksgiving, this time at our granddaughter’s house. You say you won’t come with out her. Conversation at the table turns to holidays of old. Laughter. I hear my children talk about me, “mom”. My spirit warms. But then there seems to be an attempt by you to change the subject, as if everyone should forget the family history. She with the lizard eyes purses her lips in disapproval every time an old memory comes up. I feel cold again.
I’m not sure my spirit will ever be at rest until you will freely say my name, you allow your children to speak freely of me and I know that I am not forgotten.
This time of year is always bittersweet. Summer always goes by so fast, and then the kids are back in school. My daughter went back to college, and my son in back in high school.
I always have dreams about what we will do as a family in summer. The kids are older now and doing their own thing so family time is precious.
Trips to see my mother and assist her also compete for my time. I don’t know if this stage is temporary, but right now my mother’s memory problems seem to make her more relaxed and more pleasant of personality than what she normally is.
At this time of year I often think about how I’d once thought about homeschooling my kids. I wonder what homeschooling families do when mom gets sick. I have been slogging through some medical issues since spring and this thought just crossed my mind. My mom didn’t home school us, but she wasn’t “allowed” to be sick. When we were old enough my sister and I could help with various chores. Probably at a certain point we were too clueless to offer help. My dad would have never thought to vacuum or load the dishwasher or deal with school issues. What happens to home school when mom is sick? My dad would have been qualified to teach some high school math and most college math I am sure, but he would have never made the day to day commitment to do so. He did help us from time to time, but often his answer was along the lines of “You can use calculus to solve this in a matter of seconds”, but since we didn’t know calculus we remained puzzled.
This year my son is taking chemistry and will be reading some Hispanic literature as it was written in the original Spanish. Two things that are certainly far above my pay grade. I did take some high school and college chemistry, but most of what I learned is stuck in a locked compartment in my brain, and I don’t have the key anymore. Reading literature written in Spanish….not in my skill set at all. I could attempt some French literature, I suppose, but my brain is rusty there as well. I’m grateful that my son has school and sports to keep him stimulated.
The bloom of summer is fading for me, just as it is for the world. Time for the next season.
My dad has been gone for almost one third of my life. I think of him often at this time of year. In my mind he is a tall quiet guy, waiting for something….what that might be , I am not sure. After my dad passed away it struck me how similar my dad and I were…I wished I would have realized this when he was still alive.
I came across some old census records from when my dad was a child. It is hard to picture him as a child. He was the youngest in his family. His family had lived comfortably before the Depression came along. When my dad was born though they were struggling. From what I gather my paternal grandfather never bounced back after this, either economically or psychologically.
I sense my dad knew from a young age he would have to make his own way through life. He started working at a young age. Later he would join the military and finish college. After that he would meet my mom. I admire that he took time to serve in the military. He’d always taught us to be respectful of veterans. He’ d always wanted to make sure that we were aware of dates such as the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, in which US military personnel had lost their lives.
My father always struck me as an old soul. Perhaps it was because I sense he didn’t have many years of a childhood that were carefree. He had very old fashioned beliefs especially in terms of religion. He was extremely intelligent in certain respects, but in navigating relationships with people, there was always some awkwardness.
Beyond the quiet intelligent man that the public saw, he had another side. His other side was controlled by alcohol. While it was not entirely the alcohol that made my dad sometimes difficult to get along with, the alcohol sure didn’t help. Why did he drink..who knows, I can only guess. I’ d always thought there was an element of depression and anger that he was trying to manage. Along with that I also thought there seemed to be a ghost of sadness that haunted my dad’s side of the family. This ghost was only hinted at though, people just weren’t open about the it struggles with mental health.
Despite my dad’s inner struggles, I always admired his work ethic. He didn’t want to stop working. He had already become sick, and his death would only be a few months away when he finally quit his job.
While I never talked about it with him, I always suspected my dad and I both had a strong need for quiet. Sometimes our shyness made it difficult to communicate with others. Our words sometimes tumbled out in a way that seemed awkward to others. I’ve really tried to work on this especially in the past years.
If I could go back in time I wish I would have tried to get to know my dad better. I wish I would have been able to figure out how to let down some of my own walls and get my dad to do the same.
I originally posted this 2 years ago. Since then, through researching my family tree, I found an old class picture from when he was in the eighth grade. He is the tallest in his class but somehow gives the impression he wants to be invisible. Or else he just didn’t want his picture taken. I was happy to find the picture as there were few childhood pictures of dad.
As I have mentioned elsewhere in my blog, my sister is an alcoholic as well. I don’t know if my dad and sister had a genetic vulnerability to alcoholism, but it sure is a tough disease.
I apologize if you have already seen this posted. I am confused about trying to repost an old post and I am not sure if it had went through on the other tries.
My son has his driver’s license now. I wasn’t quite ready for this, but his dad and I certainly appreciate being released from some of the chauffeuring about town. On the other hand I used to have some good conversations with the kid in the car.
As our kids become more independent, my husband and I are watching our parents become more frail. I watch my mom struggle with with both cognitive and physical issues. How long will my mom live in her frail state, a decade? Mom’s struggle to stay independent means she’ll see suggestions to make her like easier as people trying to boss her around. I’m a nurse. Spending time on the other side though, as a family member, through ER visits, hospitalizations and doctor’s appointments is eye opening. Many wonderful caregivers, some not so wonderful. Some definite concerns during the ER visits, the most basic of nursing care needs to be addressed along with the more complex tasks.
My husband is watching his dad become more frail. I sit on the sidelines and watch the difficult family dynamics. Dynamics that are perhaps changed by the presence of my father in law’s second wife, who he married very late in life. His children have less of a voice as his wife claims to know what is best for him.
I frequently visit the website of my “hometown” newspaper. This week I saw that a former classmate had died. She was a woman. As far as I can tell, it has been the guys I grew up with who died early. I was surprised to see her name. We weren’t close, but I still wondered what happened to her, what caused her to die relatively early. I also a former coworker in the obituaries, see her name was another surprise.
The circle of life comes with much joy, but also sadness. I’m not ready for the s.adness
We pulled into the parking lot of some might call the den of iniquity, more commonly known as your typical American public high school. No driver’s license yet, he still needs to catch a ride from mom now and then. My son’s face breaks into a smile as he spots one of his skinny long legged teammates. He leaps out of the car with a quick goodbye.
Leaving the parking lot, I spot all the usual sights. Individuals much too manly to wear a winter coat. Kids laughing, walking in to the school. The brisk weather makes their walk a bit more hurried, as if they have a sense of purpose for the day.
For about a minute, years ago, when my son was still shorter than me, I thought about homeschooling my kids, but it never happened. I imagine if I had homeschooled my kids, at this point it would joyless for him. A teen boy at home with his mom all day? I’m not vain enough to imagine that I am the end-all and be-all of human companionship. Plus there is no way I could teach calculus or physics or any other number of classes at this point. And god forbid anything should cut into my internet surfing time on my days off. When my son shares something new that he learned from his day, I’m happy. I don’t have a fear of my son being exposed to ideas that are new or different.
My son is more of a social animal than I am. Well, actually lots of people are. I imagine at this time, he and his friends are quickly gorging on lunch, while making quick conversation. He is at that envious age where he can eat lots and lots of calories.
Sometimes he’ll tell me about a free minute at basketball practice where they clown about and pretend they are Michael Jordan or some other well known NBA star, name forgotten by me. At the end of the day, on the way home from practice, in the car he and his friends will joke and give each other shit about something that happened during the day.
My son is happy and that means a lot to me. I count myself lucky to observe his joyful, carefree moments. Soon enough, he’ll have to cross over that treacherous gorge from childhood to adulthood. We are in no hurry to have that happen.
Gorge: a narrow valley between hills or mountains with steep walls, there may be a stream or river running through it. It can also mean to stuff oneself with food.
Surfing the internet the other day I came across a blog where the mother included the family motto. I can’t remember the whole motto, but I do remember it included the line “Creating a Family of Significance”. I wonder how one defines a family of significance? Would my family live up to her definition? Her blog was full of those sorts of posts where one can measure their success as a parent. Nine things you should never do for your kids, four things you must teach your kids, blah, blah. Well I have already found out I am lacking as a parent because I don’t make my teen do all his own laundry. I’m probably also lacking because my husband and I haven’t created a family motto yet. I can’t really think of anything lofty, perhaps “In all things love, with plenty of fun and good food along the journey”.
While wasting more time, I came across an odd post about a Roomba and some dog poop. You can use your imagination to figure out what happened next. Apparently the owners of the dog and the Roomba had autoprogrammed the Roomba to run in the middle of the night. I have to say I was a little suspicious of the post. I don’t have a Roomba, but if I did I’d almost surely trip on it going to the bathroom if it was running in the middle of the night. My own dog would wake up and get aggravated with the Roomba, thus waking up the rest of the household. A Roomba doesn’t look very big to handle dog hair. They seem rather expensive just to free you up from the physical annoyance of doing vacuuming the old-fashioned way. And if the Roomba doesn’t have the intelligence to avoid a pile of dog poop, it probably wouldn’t know to avoid whatever potential obstacles could be found on my son’s floor. Writing that sentence, I know that could spark a blog post for those perfect moms with family mottos. I still vacuum his room for him, and he still leaves the occasional set of earbuds on the floor.
We teach our children many things. Some things we teach directly, like how to tie their shoes or how to ride a bike. Children learn by watching our behaviors, whether they be positive or not. We teach values to our children, perhaps hoping they will travel the same path we do in life.
I was reading a blog post from a dad who expressed the thought that traditional femininity was something his young daughter should be taught, and he would be active in the teaching process. By traditional femininity here I mean notions such as women should have long hair, women should strive to look conventionally attractive and they should cultivate sweet demure personalities. The girl growing up in this household would have little freedom.
I was brought up in a religious household where there was a certain brand of traditional femininity was taught. It was especially focused on females having little freedom, even as adults.
Growing up, I would often bristle at the things I was taught. For the most part I wouldn’t express it though. Having grown up in a household where a certain brand of femininity was taught, I realized certain things. These things wouldn’t have to apply to femininity alone, but anything you might think is important to teach your child. Your child will:
1)Buy into your value system
2)Maybe adopt some of your values but not others
3)Totally reject your value system
If your child doesn’t buy into your value system, eventually they will go their own way, no matter how hard you have tried to make them conform.
Some things my parents taught me I eventually tossed aside. Some other things they taught, though were definitely good life lessons.
Some of these include:
1)The value of reading and the library…My parents were both readers in their own way. My mom especially loved the library and we went there often as children. There was always a bit of excitement hoping you would find a hidden treasure.
2)My parents believed in making do. There was never a big rush to buy a new car, or other expensive purchases, even though they could afford it.
3)They were impeccable with their finances. They were both good investors. They would be horrified to pay a bill late. Of course due to hard work and some luck they tried to live their life together in a way that there wouldn’t be any worry. I realize that despite hard work, many people still have a hard time financially.
Now just because they had these values doesn’t mean their children necessarily grew up with the same values. I would say I am good with reading and making do. I don’t think my husband and I will end up with the same kind of nest egg when we reach retirement, but we do try to do our best. My sister, has probably destroyed her finances entirely in part due to her alcoholism.
Some things you might think are just common sense, things that everyone teaches their kids. Years ago, I went to visit my sister, long before I knew she struggled with alcoholism, and some things shocked me. She had many things stored at room temperature that you would normally keep in the refrigerator(at least at our house). I never asked her about it, but it was definitely a what the heck moment.
My husband and I have values we hold important. We hope we’ve taught our children well enough to be kind out in the world. Some of the smaller stuff though, it won’t be the end of the world if they change their mind.
There she is, my sister, whatever she does she consumes my mother’s attention.
Somehow it is silly, isn’t it, to think my mom could change her ways for just a day, and perhaps see that her other daughter might need her mom in some way.
I’m a grown woman. I should know better by now. I’ve been caught off guard by a difficult situation. I need someone to talk to. Why though at this point should I feel an ache that this person should be my mother?
All of my mom’s energy is yet caught up again in my sister’s addiction. In a conversation the other day I gave my mom an inch and she took a mile. A mile to talk about my sister.
I wish my mom’s mind could slow down for just a minute to see past the world of my sister’s life.