Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!!

First of all, thank you SO much to ALL the mothers in the world!

You are all true heroes! There’s something incredibly beautiful, brave, and selfless about being a mother, no matter how you became one, and whether or not your children are Earth side or not. You are AMAZING!!

I myself have many amazing women in my life, who may not be my biological mothers, but who have been incredible heroines in my life, and deserve all the glory and love that this day is designed to offer!

My Grandmother Linnea: I honestly don’t even know where to start here. My grandmother has been a constant in my life since the very beginning, when my parents brought me home from the hospital into her home, where we all lived. In every arena that my parents fell short, Grandma picked up that slacked, plus a ton. She provided in ways that most grandmothers aren’t forced to, and she did it so beautifully and effortlessly! She laid the foundation for not only for the type of mother I wanted to be, but also who I wanted to be as a person. When I think of the comforts of home, I think of her hugs, the smell of her home, and especially her voice.   To this day, when I’m feeling down, or beating myself up, I think of her words “Please be kind to yourself.” It took me SO many years to understand what she meant, and it’ll be the life lesson that’s most precious! MY grandmother is my hero, and I am so blessed to have had her as my angel all my life. I love you Grandma!

My Aunts: Marta, Kerstin, Ellen, Lorraine, Vera, Wanda:  I don’t know that there’s ever been a group of women so incredible and powerful as my aunts! Each of them played such a special role in my life, and my growth. Marta was, and is, the ultimate mother figure. She was always my caregiver, my “safe place,” nothing was ever too much for her, even when it was. She knew we needed her, and she filled that role no matter what.  She is so soft spoken, kind, firm, teaching, intelligent, and funny! She role modeled what motherhood is, even in chaos, she is the mother I want to be. I love her so much, and the older I get, the more I appreciate her! Kerstin was always the “cool aunt!” She totally still is! She gave me music and TV tastes, even décor! She showed me how awesome it is to be “crunchy” and her laugh! Oh how I wait to hear her laugh when I go home! What I think I learned the most was how to find the light and love and humor in the dark days of our lives. She models what it is to be beautiful and thankful no matter what. I love her for all of that and more! Ellen taught me what it was to be cool, fun, and witty! She has always been so fun and loving, and never a dull moment spent in her presence! She also showed me what it is to be passionate, work hard, and follow dreams! Also, I always loved her décor and fashion, because she’s just so freaking cool! Lorraine, she taught me grace and beauty. When I think of the ultimate example of womanhood, I think of Lorraine. She was always so beautiful, her tastes were beautiful, her voice!! And her mothering, she showed me what it is to be passionate in her children’s growth and education. She introduced me to incredible stories alongside her own children, and is probably responsible for the wonderful childhood memories I have of using my imagination and my love for literature and music! Vera, I think Vera also taught me grace, beauty, love for literature, but also, bravery and adventure! She seems to so effortlessly float through this life with grace, can be so humorous, and just go at life with such adventure! I’ve always adored and admired her ability to find the beauty in all things, and always so patient and loving. I admire her intelligence, her worldliness. Wanda, I just don’t know where to begin. Wanda is one of the most selfless and loving women I’ve ever known. Wanda welcomed me into her home, and loved me when I needed it most. She provided a pillar of womanhood, parenthood, and life. She has always been my example of faith, and love. She always exuded beauty and grace, and love. She helped to guide me in how to be a better human, even though the lessons didn’t kick in until many years later. I honestly attribute being alive to ALL my aunts, but Wanda intervened when I was truly in danger. I know now, having raised a child not my own, that it is one of the most incredible things she could have ever done for me. I think back and remember the love and care she provided me. She gave so much, and I never felt unloved.

I know that y aunts might read this and think “really??? This is what she remembers about us?” I want you all to know, you’re obviously far more than just a paragraph, but these attributes are what helped shaped me, and I love you all SO SO much!!!! Thank you all for being the mothers I needed, you all saved my life!

Michelle: Michelle is my husband’s mother. When I think of Michelle, I think strength, beauty, love, humor, and passion. She cares so deeply, she’s passionate about what’s important to her, she does whatever she can for anyone in need, and she is always beautiful no matter what.
She gave birth to Drew at 18, spent years struggling as a single mother, and then a few very rocky years, before she met Drew’s step father- who raised him for the better part of his life. Despite all the many challenges she faced, she raised an amazing man, who has been an amazing husband and father, and all thanks to her!  When she met me many, MANY, years ago, I was NOT one her favorite people.  Despite this however, when her son informed her that he would be marrying “That Devil Girl”, she did everything in her power to turn her perspective around, and welcome me into her family.  We had a few rocky years ourselves, but eventually became best friends, and she became the greatest mother-in-law in the world! Just to note: our truce came by way of a king sized Reese’s bar, and it’s been a beautiful relationship since!

In the end, Michelle has supported me through all my pregnancies, both of my live births, and raising my own children. She plays, probably the most significant mother role in MY life, as well as her own children, my siblings, and some others! She has “adopted” many “strays” in her time as a mother, and that makes her even more incredible!

I gave her a necklace a few Mother’s Day ago, and it said “Thank you for raising the man of my dreams.” That still stands. But ALSO: Thank you for raising your kids, my siblings, my friends, my children, and me. You ARE my village, and I love you more than I’ll ever have the words to express.

Gwen and Tammy: When I met Gwen, it was right after Drew and I got married, and she was just lovely! She was married to Drew’s biological father, and had two children with him. Our family grew in an instant! We became close when Genna was born, which was on Gwen’s birthday! She welcomed us into her home and her family, and I fell in love with her immediately, knowing she’d not only be a fantastic mother in law, but also an AMAZING grandma, and I was right! Many years later, she and Tammy fell in love, and we gained ANOTHER grandma!! Tammy has proven to be just as amazing as Gwen, and took on a roll of having a whole new family in her life, and taking on the grandma roll like the amazing and beautiful woman she is!! When I think of Gwen, I think love, beauty, grace, humor, and selflessness. When I think of Tammy, I think of strength, love, beauty, fun, and love.  I don’t think there’s anything quite so difficult as being a step-parent, but both have done so with the grace and acceptance that I’m not sure I could ever muster. Our lives have all been richer for having Gwen and Tammy, and I don’t think I’ve ever really expressed my full gratitude and love to them, not to mention their unconditional love for us! I love you both so SO much, and so do Drew and the kids. Thank you for being amazing, and beautiful, and loving!

Karen: Karen came into our lives through Drew’s biological father, and has also welcomed all of us! She brought with her a whole family too, and we have just fallen in love with all of them! When I think of Karen, I think love, grace, fun, and selflessness. Karen has welcomed us into her home, shown us love and acceptance, and been nothing but kind and loving! Karen is incredible especially in taking strangers, and making them family. I never feel awkward or uncomfortable with her, and that is a gift she exudes. Thank you for being amazing, taking on this brand new Grandma roll with such grace, and loving us! We love you!!!!

Now that I’ve given my love to all the wonderful mothers in my life, I want to recognize my own mother.  My sister Linnea said something incredible yesterday as we sat in my front garden pulling weeds and planting flowers. We were discussing our mother, and how we haven’t heard from her, and if she’s ok. I mentioned talking to our brother Paul that morning, and how he had also mentioned her. After discussing the ugly stuff, Linnea said to me “I’m thankful she’s our mother. I don’t think I’d be who I am if she weren’t.” And I responded “You’re right, because she shaped who I am as a mother.” Obviously, these sound like positive attributes, but they’re not. Our mother has been ever distant. She was never warm and loving when we were children. I don’t believe she knew how to be, and that’s ok! As you’ve read above, we had MANY other mothers to run to for ALL of our needs, including, and probably especially, our emotional needs.

My mother was never forthright in discussions about deeply important things in this world, but she was ALWAYS able and willing to discuss history, politics, religion, and literature. As a mother, and an adult, I’ve come to believe this was her way of talking deeply with us. She could stay up for hours having honest and deep conversations with all of us on these topics. I think these were the only times we really got to see her soul. This was her way of revealing her true self, the things she loved, and what mattered to her. And interestingly, these are areas where my siblings and me are all the strongest. We care deeply about our ideas and opinions, despite how varying they are. This is what our mother passed to us. I know that we all felt these were her “love” and so we all listened intently, because we were going to take her love where we could get it.

The negatives run long and deep, and I could (and have) spend an entire post discussing them, but I won’t today. It’s Mother’s Day, and she deserves better.  I’ll be honest and say that 364 days out of the year, I probably wouldn’t say as much, but for whatever reason, today, my heart is softer and more open, and I’ll take advantage and do with it what I can.

I understand now that my mother suffers incredibly from mental health issues, and alcoholism, neither of which are anyone else’s fault. Realistically, they’re not her fault either, but that’s difficult to believe when you’re the victim to them. Sadly, she’s the bigger victim. While my siblings and I have suffered all our lives from it, she’s suffered more. She not only has to live inside her own head, but she has to live with her mistakes and choices, and her bitterness, which I would not wish on a single soul in this world.

My mother has given me valuable life lessons though, and not just in “what not to be.”
·      She taught me that I can never change a person, I can guide them, inspire them, but change is entirely on oneself, and you can never force it.
·      She taught me that one’s religion, faith, beliefs, politics, are ones own. And if you don’t agree with them, well then tough shit, because it’s none of your god damn business anyway
·      She taught me how to properly paint my nails,. This is important.
·      She taught me how to bake, although I prefer to do so from a box.
·      She taught me to appreciate art, in all forms, and that when you find your medium, never give it up, it may be your only solace.
·      She taught me to be passionate in my own beliefs, Even though she didn’t agree with them.
·      She taught me that the world is riddled with injustices. While I now know that you can’t “pour from an empty cup”, and should deal with what’s going on within your own soul, that the world needs your voice, and you should always offer it.
·      She taught me that the world is vast, and that we should appreciate it, and learn from it.
·      She taught me that history is incredibly important, and that we should never take things at face value. Never stop learning, never stop questioning. And also, the public education system is shit, and that victors write the history books.
·      She taught me to love coffee, and that’s probably the best out of this list.

These may all seem like insignificant life lessons, but these are what I have, and what I utilize. I value these lessons because they stick out. Most can celebrate this day WITH their mothers, or at the very least, loving memories of their mothers. I don’t have that. I have a mother who I’m completely disconnected from, and chooses to not be in my life. And despite all of this, I’ll always love her, because she’s still my mother. And always will be.

Happy Mother’s Day.