It’s my turn to write today (Michelle L.) but I want to share these words from my friend Martha with you instead. Our mother hearts stretch as wide as the universe and are as fragile as a tuft of dandelion seeds.
My father calls and wants to know when I will write. Often.
And I’ve talked of vacillation before. Yesterday the sky was perfectly blue. This morning was grey, but wait! Now again, it is blue with swirly white strands of cottony clouds. Last night I had very little sleep which lends itself to a morning of need. Yesterday, I was a tinge frightened by the apathy I felt toward the (necessary) dependence I should feel on my Creator. And so as I approach Mother’s Day I take an assessment. (Really, always, everyday.) One of my children breaks me. Every single day. And it has always been. From the day she was born I was broken, and I am just not sufficient enough. Every morning we do the same dance, and I think: Really? Really? It is like some kind of SNL skit. At some point I think it must improve, but it doesn’t. And I fall flat. And there it is, this hardness, a difficulty that is really more than me. Sometimes I think back on former episodes of my life. And about change. About times when the Lord’s grace seemed to bubble over from inside and change seemed to take place quickly. But I am on no fast track now. I am slow to learn, I find myself often confused. But when in the right place the question arises: have you felt to sing the song of redeeming love? And I have! I have! The Lord’s love and grace is about change. And when I come to Him with my broken pieces (over and over) and childish questions (because I am such a child) I am never condemned, there is never a Really? Really? And this grace defines. It defines people as God’s children. By love and not by their sins. And not by mine. And so tomorrow I will try again (and the next day). And I know I will keep coming up short. I don’t know what this will mean, for my daughter or for me or for anyone else. But every hardness I’ve encountered has been a gift, a treasure that has brought me steps closer to my Savior.
Today’s UP CLOSE post by Anna Maria Junus falls perfectly into the topic Complexitites of Mothering. Anna Maria is a freelance writer, a full time student majoring in English, the mother of seven and the grandmother of three. She lives in Alberta Canada with her three youngest children (two of them teenagers). She has a published novel “Roses and Daisies”, and her work has appeared in “Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother’s Soul,” websites, national magazines, and she had a humor column in various newspapers. Her blog “Real Women Don’t Wear Bikinis” can be found at annamariajunus.blogspot.com. Her other interests include acting, needlework, and surviving her kids with her sanity intact. The latter is not going very well, and she has been known to wake up from a deep sleep shouting, “Man the hatches and put out the chicken.”
The day started at 6:30 when my alarm went off and music blasted me awake – or semi-awake. Rain drizzled outside the window. I rolled over in the large bed. I learned in the years since my divorce that being a single parent had its benefits, like enough room to sleep anyway I pleased, no one snoring in my ear, and the covers being mine, all mine. But there was no one to share in the misery of getting up so early in the morning, and no one to ask if they could please deal with the morning war this time.
I lay there for a while convincing myself to get out of bed – it took a lot of convincing – then I got up and looked outside at the thin grey veil of wet stuff. I much preferred one of those fine storms where thunder crashes and lightening flashes, the kind that had woken me up a few nights earlier with earth shattering booms that made me think that the end was near and we would all soon die. That night I’d watched the spectacular light show out my window, listening to the thunder that never seemed to stop. The angels tap-danced, went bowling, had laser battles and water fights, and played loud music until all hours of the morning. Trouble is, you can’t call the police when those neighbours have their wild parties. (Not that you would really want to since the show is so much fun to watch. Besides, they clean up after themselves.)
Today’s weather in no way resembled a party—more like a cranky kid with a runny nose. The rain came in spurts and drizzled, with the sun trying desperately to show its face, only to be chased away by bouts of temper. It was a day that shouldn’t have even got out of bed, but did so just to make everyone miserable. And everyone knew that causing misery around here was my job. I turned from the window and headed toward my bedroom door. Ow! Stubbed my toe. Double Ow! Bit my lip because I stubbed my toe. Now I was in the perfect mood to do my job. I headed down the hall and started making the rounds to the four children who still live at home. Continue reading
Yesterday after church I engaged in the weekly ritual of lugging the church bag from the van to the kitchen and unloading it. In the bottom, underneath empty sippy cups, a wet dress and pair of underpants (don’t ask), a half-eaten bag of animal crackers, and a bracelet made out of pasta with a piece of cardstock proclaiming “I Love You, Mom” attached, I found a single red rose.
A single, very crushed, very wilted red rose.
Two hours earlier, it had been a beautiful flower, one of more than a hundred bestowed on the women of our ward for Mother’s Day, a gift given with the best of intentions. But after I left the chapel with an impatient toddler, my big kids loaded the scattered droppings of our overflow seats on top of the rose, and I threw the bag into the oven of our van. By the time the flower reached my kitchen, it had seen better days. Continue reading
It’s a phenomenon more puzzling than a Sunday crossword, but more certain than the stars. In fact I could set the compass of my last few years by it: the sticky whirl, the push and pull, the confusion and wonder of a mother daughter relationship.
My mom and I get along great, but I’m no exemption to the hashing out of should-haves, would-haves and why-didn’t-she’s on dates with my journal and dates with my husband. One in particular of which I’ll tell.
About two years ago, I started trolling around various LDS blogs. Some were interesting, some were funny, and some were heavily doctrinal. There was one author I came across a number of times, and I was impressed with a number of things about her: she used her full name (a rarity in the world of anonymous posting), she was intelligent, articulate, and sensitive, and she had a disabled son.
As the mother of a disabled son myself, I was immediately intrigued and sought out her personal website. I spent an evening reading her blog and weeping. Here was someone who thoughtfully and intelligently articulated exactly the feelings that I had but was unable to express in such a thoughtful and intelligent manner myself. Over and over as I read, I thought, “YES! I feel exactly the same way!” I never realized that there was anyone else out there, LDS or not, whose experiences mirrored mine in so many ways. Continue reading