Tag Archives: Motherhood

It’s a Cold and It’s a Lonely Hallelujah

chipsForgive me Father, for I have sinned. It’s been six months since my last blog post.

Not that I have anything to write about.

I suppose I could rant about  Donald Trump but if I get started I won’t stop.

I could talk about this book I just finished that was the saddest story I have ever read. So well written you should run out and get it now. But so heart wrenchingly sad I can’t possibly recommend it. But the writing…I know, why did I even bring it up? Ok, A Little Life, but don’t blame me if you can’t get through it.

I could talk about eating clean. I want to eat clean. I bought a Prevention Magazine guide to eating clean in the check out line at the supermarket the other night, alongside a bag of sour cream & onion potato chips. I felt a little dirty buying the chips. I ate half the bag reading the magazine.

I could talk about the fact that The Good Wife is ending or that Elizabeth Keen is dead or that I really don’t like what’s happening to Callie & Arizona on Grey’s, but then you would realize that along with my dirty potato chip habit, I watch way too much television.

I could tell you about my daughter’s chorus concert this week. The auditorium looked like a bare threaded pair of suit pants on an old man. The solos lovely, pure, off-key here and there, heart-in-throat adolescent angst and glory. These sung by seniors – a farewell tribute. My daughter, only a sophomore, doesn’t have to face this yet. Doesn’t have to take the rose at the end of the concert and have something announced about her future in front of all of us expectant adults – the college they are going to next year where 30% will drop out, the majors they have chosen that 80% will wind up changing. Those 3 kids who were announced “still undecided” looked a little embarrassed but I clapped hardest for them.

Or maybe, since it is Mother’s Day, I could talk about what this day is like for us mothers who have lost their mothers. My mom died almost 5 years ago at the young age of 75, and I still have Mother’s Day cards in my bedside drawer that I bought for her. My mom would have loved my daughter’s concert, although she didn’t visit much. One of the things she said to me when I was taking care of her at the end (and she said this in a flat tone as she was taking some of the last steps she would ever walk) is that she loved me more than I would ever know.

But I knew. I knew all the dynamics that made it hard for her to show love and approval to me. I knew she didn’t understand me and my choices. I knew she was jealous of me in my youth, and later felt I could do better on so many fronts. I knew she chose other people over me – to visit, to listen to, to share her love. And I knew she knew I was angry at her and unforgiving.

We are all a mess of good intentions gone bad and repeated tiny heartbreaks balled up with hope. I miss my mother like my arms have been taken away, like I’m wandering the streets of the place I grew up and no one recognizes me or even speaks the same language. I can’t stand that she left so soon, before we could figure it out just a little bit more.

I told her that I loved her. I told her it was ok to go. But I wish I told her I forgave it all. I wish I said, I understand you. I understand.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there trying, hoping, loving. It is practically impossible to get it right. There will books written about you. My Name is Lucy Barton, for starters. It is impossibly sad and beautifully written (another one!) and about a mom and a daughter and I think you should read it. Elizabeth Strout is my hero.

So many times I come back to this blog and promise to write more and then wind up at my default of silence. So no promises today. Just a few words. A few book recommendations. And a shout out to my mom. XO

 

 

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Oh, Joseph, I’m So Tired

mangerDo you think that Mary-the-Virgin-Mother-of-God ever looked to the heavens after traveling a million miles through desert and bumpy terrain on the back of a saggy-ass donkey passing Inn after Inn with No Vacancy signs but Joseph insisting they can’t ask anyone where the next empty Inn is because he’ll find it himself then they finally end up in a filthy freezing cold manger and she has to give birth without an epidural or even a friendly female face who gets that she’s going through the most painful and terrifying thing in the world and instead there’s bloody straw and a nosy shepherd and three old men with ridiculous gifts when she really needs something useful like a baby wipe warmer or a binky and she says, I hate my life?

Or was it later, with Jesus sneaking off to the market hanging out with hookers and heading up a gang of Apostles and busting up temples and telling everyone he was the son of God and Joseph always working working working fixing other people’s houses while their kitchen cabinets looked like shit and she could never get the utensil drawer open without a fight and her health was going to hell in a handbasket because of stress and poor diet and she was always the one hosting the Seder taking Jesus to play practice making the dentist appointments and putting the toilet paper in the holder and not just sitting out on the sink. Do you think she sat down at the end of the day with a glass of Mogen David and said dear God give me strength?

Christmas. The mother of all holidays. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas there is this eerie residual affect, a dusting of angst that coats your skin and makes you sneeze. So much tinsel and jingling and debt and old wounds. Enormous sighs of disappointment. Frenzied sugar highs and lows. Tender hopes and dreams bruised and buried deep inside. Impossible expectations and global jealousy and utter fatigue. We love it, we hate it, we wrestle it to the ground and strangle every ounce of beauty from it year after year trying, forever trying, to get it right.

I made it through in the usual condition. Gained weight, landfill of trash from wrapping paper and packaging, cookies sitting in tins still not delivered to neighbors, a few spot on gifts and lots of pajamas, missing friends and family who live too far away, didn’t send out cards, feeling hollow and tired, wondering if I’ll ever get it right. How did you do this year?

PS  I stole the title for this post from Richard Yates. Read this short story if you get the chance.

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