The first time you hold that tiny, helpless baby in your arms, you realize you are their entire world. They look to you for love, protection and nurturing. To them, you are their everything, an all knowing supreme being.
From this exalted position, there is only one way to go.
I was no different, of course, and by the time I was 21, I was desperate to escape my parents’ house and their “ignorance”. My mom was happy to see me go and even gave me a going away present when I got my first apartment.
As I adjusted to my new life as a young adult, I started to realize my mom might know some things I didn’t.
There was no internet back then and finding information took some work. Mom was always home and had instant answers, kind of like Google is today.
Although Mom’s rating was gradually rising, it got a big bump up when I became engaged. I had waited until June to go shopping for a dress for my early August wedding and found the selection at the mall picked over. I found an off white “maxi” dress that was too short, but since it was on sale for $19, I bought two, thinking I could lengthen one with material from the other.
It was a delusional fiasco.
After years of languishing at the bottom of the ratings, Mom was back in action. She was at the top of her game with authoritative answers, plausible solutions and decisive plans of action.
I stopped pretending that I didn’t need her.
In those early years of starting my own family I turned to her constantly. As the years passed, I grew confident in my own knowledge and no longer needed her for domestic consultations.
Before I knew it, our roles had reversed.
I still thought of Mom as the matriarch of the family. I looked to her for knowledge, though now it was about family history and what I needed to know before she and the memories and stories in her head were gone forever.
I liked knowing there was someone, generationally, “above me”. Maybe you never quit seeing your mom as that All Knowing Supreme Being who is more interested in you than anyone else on earth.
It can be a hard thing to let go.
Mom died surrounded by her three daughters on March 31, 2009. I held her hand until she was gone. It wasn’t until I was trying to discuss arrangements with Dad that the loss hit me.
I still miss Mom, but have embraced being the “above me” person to my own children. They’re smarter that I ever was and have the internet, so my role is mostly ceremonial.
One day, I climbed into my daughter’s couch pit with my grandson under my arm. In that moment, I was struck by where I was in the generational cycle and blurted out my thoughts.
I regretted bringing it up. She doesn’t need to think about it now and I’m hoping to keep the torch lit and waiting for a long time.
Hope you all have warm memories of your moms today. Happy Mother’s Day!
On a recent winter day with warmer temps thawing the ice and snow, I took my grandson out to play. As we passed through a puddle on the sidewalk, I pretended that I was stuck and needed his help to pull me out.
As I rummaged in the grass for a larger stick, a childhood memory from long ago came flooding back.
From there, full blown panic and hysteria set in. Our worst childhood fear had been triggered: QUICKSAND!
TV Westerns were extremely popular in the 1950s, much like legal, hospital and police dramas are today. At their peak in 1959, 26 Westerns were airing during prime time on only 3 networks. There was at least one playing every night and usually more.
Quicksand was a central theme in many Westerns, along with gun shootouts, Indian scalpings (this was before cultural sensitivity was appreciated) and rattlesnakes. Quicksand was the perfect suspense building plot device and always played out in the same way.
Denita and I didn’t view 6 shooters, Indians or rattlesnakes as imminent threats, but believed quicksand could appear anywhere, including the ditch in front of our house.
Over 50 years later, Denita and I still remember how terrified we were the day I got “stuck” in the ditch.
I had other childhood fears besides quicksand.
What do children worry about today? I hope my grandson doesn’t blow as much of his childhood on baseless fears as I did.
Motherhood brings much joy, but also the responsibility for actions that will affect your children for the rest of their lives. The weight of making the wise decisions necessary to keep a child alive, safe and thriving can be agonizing. So many questions! So many answers!
When I was raising my children I wanted to know who I could go to for that one, ultimate, authoritative and credible answer to all motherhood’s questions.
I longed for a “Worry Hotline” that I could call for answers. It seemed there was a hotline for everything…
If cooking a turkey rated a hotline, why not child rearing? Was it too much to ask for experts to help us with the most valuable resource in the country, our children?
I desperately wanted to stop the endless weighing of pros and cons, the infinite analyzing of consequences and the fear that every decision I made might end in lifelong mental or physical harm to my children.
I wanted to go from this:
The Worry Hotline would be staffed by mothers who had raised large families of happy, healthy, functional children. They would have at least a Master’s degree in Child Development and call me “Honey” or “Dear”. They would know every answer to any question with absolute certainty.
They would put me out of my misery.
Somehow, I made it through motherhood and raised two terrific kids without the support of a Worry Hotline.
However, I still think it is a good idea!
Happy Mother’s Day, dear Moms!