Taking Stock

Christmas is just two weeks away and this year is so different from previous holidays. This year instead of planning and preparing dinner for one son, his wife and daughters on Christmas Eve and doing it again on Christmas Day for the other son, his wife, daughters and the rest of us. Christmas Eve was usually prime rib and Christmas Day was chicken parmesan with spaghetti and meatballs. Two whole days spent cooking and baking, cleaning and making sure everything was perfect. A bit obsessive, maybe but I love cooking and baking and creating food that people enjoy eating. This year will be a lot different from our past holiday dinners, this year Christmas dinner will be something quick and easy, maybe pizza, maybe leftovers, it will be just the two of us and Mitch will have to leave to go to work.

I have been feeling a bit off, a long way from everything known, routine and comfortable, not that I don’t love where I’m at now and what I’m doing, it’s just a lot different, out of my comfort zone. Since we are still in an apartment, the majority of our belongings are still in storage, most of my cookware, all of my Christmas decorations and cookbooks are not here to put up or use, so I feel like we’re living in an extended stay hotel. Not really home.

Up until now I hadn’t been lonely, even though I work from home and the regular outside contacts I have are my hairdresser I see once a month and our realtor who is patient beyond belief trying to help us find our dream house. Our friends that live here are wonderful, but with our crazy work schedules, social life doesn’t exist, not that we had much of a social life before. So I’m not missing out on that here.

At first I couldn’t put my finger on it, what my problem was, then it dawned on me, I have no problems. I have a husband that loves me, two dogs that make me crazy and would eat anyone that tried to hurt me, (I am the giver of food) and living in a beautiful wonderful place that I get to make new memories. We won’t have the hustle and hectic days of cooking and cleaning, but we will have each other, and that’s what really matters.

Yes, it’s been a very chaotic year with so much upheaval and change, but maybe that’s what you need sometimes, great change. Life, like water that doesn’t move grows stagnant and complacent, forgetting the truly important things in our world. Our family may be thousands of miles away and I won’t be there to cook for them, or watch them open their presents, but I can call and talk to them anytime, not just on Christmas.

The year is coming to an end and the New Year brings promises of hope and change, yes there must always be change, not all changes are good but all changes are not bad either. I embrace the future and all the changes to come.

Happy Mother’s Day

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and to all the mothers out there Happy Mother’s Day. But I don’t think that it is really any more special than any other day. Don’t get me wrong, I think that motherhood is the most wonderful experience in the world. But reserving just one day to thank someone who made you what you are seems a bit underwhelming. Of course in my case, maybe I should change it from Mother’s Day to “Thank God My Children Survived Day”.

Raising children to be self-sufficient, productive adults is a noble achievement and I think I did an okay job. Nobody went to prison and none of them is on the dole. So I did okay, I certainly was not a perfect mother. I lied to my children when the need arose, such as when they were little and wanted candy out of the gumball machines. I told them that the writing on the front of the machines said, “Out of Order”. I sounded so sad and sincere, that it worked every time until they learned to read.

I bullied and terrified them telling them that I was an apprentice working on my mastership to be the meanest mom in the world and I was very close to getting my degree. I told them that I had eyes in the back of my head and could hear a pin drop three blocks away, so they better watch what they said and did. I dealt out justice swiftly, I never once said, “Wait ‘til your father gets home.” I let them play and get scraped knees and elbows. I let them fall down and helped them get back up so that they could fall down again. I told them to rub some dirt on it and get back out there.

I taught them to never be cruel to animals and other children, but at the same time I told them to never back down from a fight. Stand tall, be honest and treat people the way you want to be treated and it will all work out in the end. I told them that the only job they had in this world was to go to school and get good grades. A’s and maybe a B, but nothing less and there better be a really good reason that there was a B. Then we would work on the problem class until we solved the problems. I expected excellence out of them, mediocre was not acceptable. There is nothing wrong with not succeeding, but there is no excuse for not trying, that is the true failure.

As they grew older and started thinking about life, careers and families of their own, I told them that I didn’t care what they did or how much money they made, but to make sure they chose to do something they really loved doing. Because whatever they decided on, they would be doing it for a long time and if they didn’t love it then they would be unhappy for a very long time. I taught them that family is important but not at the expense of self.

I did what I did as a mother not because I wanted accolades or to be their friend. I told them that often, “I am your mother, not your friend, you have enough friends. I am here to guide you, to teach you and to make you into a worthwhile human being. You don’t have to like it or me, but you will do what I say, because I am your mother.”

Cruel wasn’t I?