Mother’s Day Perspective

It’s Mother’s Day, but Hallmark doesn’t make a card for the many children who don’t have June Cleaver for a mother. I am one of them.

I remember growing up both confused and awed by the close relationship some of my friends held with their moms. At the time, I didn’t appreciate how my mom endured sickness, injury, tantrums, and the selfish, ungrateful energy from her four offspring. She packed picnics, wiped snot, threw parties, swabbed skinned knees, offered encouragement, and restricted empty calories often without a thank you from anyone. I took without giving back. I pushed, tested, and undermined, as mom struggled.

It’s never too late to say thank you. My mother was far from perfect, but she gave me a gift of immeasurable value, the blueprint on life’s pitfalls:

Do not let alcohol take over your life.

Do not use others as an excuse.

Do not say one thing and do another.

Do not double down and dig in when you know you are in the wrong.

Do not focus on the negative.

I spent my early years being afraid of/angry with my alcoholic mother while simultaneously mirroring her. Like a crystal ball, her mistakes showed me my future life.  Eventually, I paid attention. I quit drinking. I learned to take responsibility, tell the truth, and sincerely apologize. Most importantly, I learned to be grateful. I learned to focus on the good, and find the silver lining in hard times, and now I practice daily to embrace love rather than be swallowed by fear.

I witness the children of my friends and siblings challenge their parents, and I can understand how my mother’s insecurities plagued her, how her children and husband undermined her, and how her negative mindset fed the depression that led her further into darkness, away from the perfect person she so longed to be.

My mother died seven years ago, and I am grateful that in death she found peace.

 

Advertisements

Slow the Ride Down

Our normal family Thanksgiving isn’t happening this year. Everyone had somewhere else to be, and I’m oddly thankful. It will be a quiet day. I can use one.

The pieces and parts of my life are moving fast. It feels like I’m juggling fire while balancing on a log rushing through rapids. In the excitement, my blog has taken a hit. Terrible consequence since writing is the thing that keeps me sane.

Some good things are happening-like scoring huge points at work for successes, but having my accomplishments on display means I’m not only earning praise, but also a lot more responsibility. My hours are getting longer, and the time I spend thinking about work (when I’m not at work) has quadrupled.

Some bad things are happening-like rushing my Dad to the ER with a high fever and lack of responsiveness. He has returned home with new prescriptions, but I have to keep a close eye on him.

Some annoying things are happening-like trying to sell my former home 2,500 miles away. I’m negotiating with the third potential buyer, and it feels like every day a new issue arises threatening to derail the closing.

On Friday afternoon, I looked forward to relaxing and putting all the moving parts out of my head for a day or two. Then, the dog got skunked. I tried to salvage a few hours Saturday morning with a run, but the pain in my foot that kept me sidelined all summer suddenly returned. By Saturday night, I realized there was nothing in the house for dinner. I fed my Dad a frozen lasagna and crawled into bed early.

My dreams are more bizarre than ever as worries collide with hope and anticipation of the day when this ride slows down. I’m close. I feel thankful in knowing somehow, I will make it. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!