Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Circa 1969-70

I love this picture of my parents. It was taken at my maternal grandparents house. I remember that red/pink carpeting feeling like sandpaper though!
The other day I was at a garage sale that had tons of old Avon decanters and stuff. I saw a pair of yellow and white salt and pepper shakers there..and instantaneously (yeah, like Star Trek type rewinding) I was mentally drawn back into the 70's and in our kitchen on Bell ave. My mom used to sell Avon for a short time then and she had this suitcase full of tiny lipstick samples (probably where I got my love for tiny things) and samples of other sorts. Anyhow, I saw these shakers and then my eyes lept to a lavender plastic umbrella type thing. It had tiny holes in it so the scent you put inside it would scent your linens. Another thing mom sold. And as I looked over this ladies vast collection of Avon stuff these items kept popping into my head and I kept saying "Yeah, and I remember this too!!". Now as generous as my family is to me, they could have probably cared less that I remember some silly plastic decanter or s/p shakers! However, I wanted them to really be amazed as if maybe it would prove to them that yeah, I really did have a mom at once. She was REAL. I know this because she used to sell this stuff and, and, well I was THERE! This is how it would have played out if I would have had my own sentimental way: We see stuff, I say I remember and the family flocks over to me touching the items and saying "Really, this stuff?, WOW! She was a viable person who was your mom and she DID have a job and wow, did you help her sell it, what was she like?" Insert reality check here!
Another I got rid of the pictures of the stepmother and the wedding. I was like..wait, why do I have to keep these? Is there a law that says what God has healed in my heart, I should keep reminding myself of this pain? Not in my vocab! SO I chucked 'em and it was a great feeling. Remember, life is not fair, but there is a God and he is GOOD!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

It was a good day...

I am so blessed to have this beautiful young lady as my daughter. It is beyond words the love I have for her. Mother's Day used to be a difficult day. It gets easier as life goes on. But I never will forget the woman who gave life to me so that this picture could even happen. And in church today I was reminded that even though some of us are motherless, we can still remember and cherish the time that the Lord had given to us. I am grateful and I DO CHERISH ten years with my mother, Helen.
I was with Heather the other night at the Hallmark store and as quick as a wink I found myself choking up when I briefly looked down at a card paying homage to a mother from her daughter. It was just that quick! I looked around to see if I was the only crybaby and yep, I was! That's okay with me...I learned a short time ago to let it flow when it's there, don't push it down and ignore those emotions.
It's been said that motherless mothers are overprotective. Sometimes more so than mothers who still have their mothers. I feel that way so much! I sometimes feel I have kept our kids in a cocoon for the last 17 years. Part of me is proud of that and part of me is like, hey, did I equip them with enough to go out on their own with? When I think back to when our son turned 11. I went into freak out mode demanding that he follow me to the basement to master how to do the laundry. For some reason I felt like I had to hurry up and make sure he knew how to do this task because I didn't have a clue how to do the laundry or anything "householdy". So here is this poor kid wondering why playing outside one week was fine and now the following week he is being given a dissertation on whites, darks, fabric softener etc!! I had to look back at my experience and remember that first time I tried to do laundry by myself (and why did my father not do this?!). I was watching TV in 1980 and saw a commercial for CHEER detergent. The lady was pointing out the side of the box where it explained the three tempa-cheers and sorting laundry according to that. So, I promptly went up to the market and got us some CHEER (even though mom was an avid TIDE fan). And that is how I learned to do laundry. From a box of CHEER. Crazy. But on that day years ago with my son, I was determined that HE would not learn from a box of detergent as I did.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I cry and celebrate normal events in my kid's lives:

My 15 year old daughter, Heather, got her temporary license for driving yesterday. A normal event to any mom except to me. I am a motherless daughter since 1980. We left the DMV and as we got to the car I put my arm around her and handed her the keys. I couldn't stop "holding" her and of course the tears started to flow uncontrollably. Heather understood though, just as she understood why I cried in the dressing room when it was time to shop for school clothes every August. And when it was time for her violin concert, her swim meet or any other event that a mother is usually present at. And here was another event, a milestone that took me back to the day in 1985 when I turned 16 and headed for the DMV. Coming home to an empty apartment and feeling the pain that I could not share this with my mom. I have a husband and a son too. But with my daughter, it has always been EXTRA special. I have thanked God daily for letting me witness what other mom's take for granted. Why did I cry at all those events? Because my mother never got to be there for most of those events. She isn't even there now to share a phone call with regarding her grandchildren's life.That is the frustrating part. The injustice, the "it's just not fair!" part of my life. The part that makes me want to throw myself to the floor and have a temper tantrum until I get my way with God. It's crazy because when I cook, I still use her utensils. A spatula, spoon and pizza cutter. What an inheritance, eh? But when my adult hand grips the exact place where her adult hand gripped I feel close to her. I see her standing in the kitchen making dinner and I pretend I am there again. I study the items in the kitchen, what she is wearing and the smell of her peanut butter cookies baking. I used to envision her being lost and coming back. She would not know me now. I am a different parent than she ever was. She was permissive. I am more strict with my children. But still I allow my mind to go to that place sometimes where I see her standing at my house one state away from my childhood home in Ohio, knocking at the front door. Who is that old woman I wonder? But as I get closer I notice those tiny eyes and that contagious laugh. I study her frame and usher her in. She wants to catch up. She can't stop staring at me. I don't need to confirm anything I just want to update her fast so we can start having an additional grandma for these grandchildren. But soon the "fantasy" just doesn't fit and I cancel it out in my mind. Too much time has gone by. It's been too long since I was a child. The fantasy doesn't work. The kids are too old and probably wouldn't be able to bond with this frail old woman of what would now be her age of 80. Still, I cannot relate this to anyone I know because they have parents in tact or their mother died at a ripe old age. They think I am stuck in the past (yeah, sometimes I am) and some are gentle about it, some are pointed about it. Get over it...right? My mother died on January 5, 1980. It's my 9/11/2001, my Nov. 22, 1963 day. It's the day my childhood ended.
My dad, mom and I were on our way to the bank and as we crossed an intersection a garbage truck hit her side. My dad and I survived. At least physically. She was 53 and I was 10 (six days from my 11th birthday). Their only child. Unequivocally, it was the rug ripped out from under me. The accident was big news and the next morning, there was the demolished car and a fireman carrying me to the ambulance on the front page. I still have the front page picture and article. A few days after the funeral the neighbors threw me a subdued eleventh birthday party. My dad could not attend as he was still in the intensive care unit. He also could not pick out her casket or attend the funeral. The family was in shock so I did it. I think to myself now, as an adult, HOW COULD ANYONE LET A CHILD PICK OUT A CASKET?!" But they did. I was wracked with guilt for years because I didn't go to the second "showing" at the funeral home. I just couldn't take it. Couldn't take seeing her laying there with silly glasses on and bruised up. Her real glasses were kept by my aunt who was paranoid they would get buried with her. So, just before the showing she went and bought these silly looking frames. I stayed home and watched TV with a neighbor trying to pretend things were still the same. They never were again. One time a therapist asked me about my childhood and I kept talking about life before the age of ten. She finally said to me "Do you realize you’re relating to your adulthood as age eleven to the present time? That is not adulthood. Eighteen and over is traditionally". No, I told her. Adulthood started for me on 1/6/1980!

Monday, May 08, 2006

House circa 1979, Family circa 1969

I think I was being baptized this day at our Lutheran church. This is one of my favorite pictures of my family surrounding me. To the left is my proud papa, behind my mother are his parents Mildred and Harvey. Maternal grandmother Louise is to the right of my mother. The date is, I believe, April 1969. All in the picture are now deceased.
I don't scroll through photo's of my family when I pick up an album. I study. I look intensly for any clues to what was going on that day or who was doing, eating, sitting, laughing what and where. I have to. Because the memories I need to now hear about are with those in the photo's. It really bums me out at times. I know God is good but there are days when I just wonder why I was picked for the short end of the familial stick!
I was born to two people on their second marriage. A first child for my mother and a third for my father. I have been told by other family members that I was desperately wanted by my parents. They must have figured that by the ages of 42 and 44 if a child didn't come soon, it would be too late. So I was born in Jan. 1969. We lived in this great little two bedroom house on Bell Ave. My mom kept a clean and neat home. From the photos I see we went a lot of places when I was little. Virginia, Florida, Michigan, PA etc. I love the picture of my mom and I on the beach in Florida with the seagulls dancing about our heads. I want to go ask her about it. I want details of this trip. What was the exact city? Did I have fun? I can't remember as I was only 3.
I study the next picture of our house on Bell. Countless times I played with my Hotwheels in that driveway, Easter photos on the front steps, building snow forts in the front yard, playing horseshoes on the side near Cebula's house. The tall tree that strongly held my favorite tree swing (on old tire), summer nights on the patio off the garage watching TV outside with mom and dad, watching mom hang out our clothes while I relaxed in the kiddie pool.
Okay, this means nothing to you, maybe, but for me. A mecca.

The single girl picture...

This photo is from the mid sixties I believe. It is of my mother as a single working woman at NASA in Cleveland, Ohio. She is smiling because she knows my dad and I are just a few short years away from further enriching her life (okay, I made that part up!). Actually until about the late 1990's I didn't have any photo's of her up around our house. It was too painful actually. I would have rather blocked her out even though I didn't consciously say that. It was not until I met up with a man named Jim through a high school classmates type site that God began a healing in me. I used to post random things on the Elyria High School site on classmates back then and one time I posted something about the auto accident at a certain site and did anyone happen to know about it. It was a long shot. But God is into long shots apparently because Jim not only remembered it but he was there. So we emailed back and forth. Hubby DLR was amazed that Jim was there and encouraged all of us to meet. SO we did. I came to Elyria and met him and his wife. He not only made us feel right at home but as a special added touch he happened to pick up a dozen of my favorite pink icing cookies of mine and my mother's favorite bakery in town. The bakery is now defunct which is a real bummer!
Anyhow, Jim had gone into the hardware store that morning and heard the accident. Being a paramedic/emt he ran out to assist. Things I never knew and worried about he cleared up. I wondered for years if my mother had a chance to make her peace or speak to God. Did she ask about me? He also stunned DLR and I both with a coat that he still had that he had been wearing that day. When he brought it out I was speechless. The depth of my emotions were bottomless when he proceeded to show me the tiny holes he incurred in this brown winter coat from reaching through the glass to reach me. Amazing. So, friends, God didn't just satisfy my questions he provided the closure I had been longing for by bringing Jim into my life. For Jim's willingness to come forward I am forever grateful. He and his wife are very special people to our family to say the least! After this episode I felt like something became unhinged in me. In a good way. I was able to see my home differently when I came home. I began to search for pictures of my mother and include her in our lives, not hide her away. And to this day...the photo's still stand.

Been wanting to do this for a long time

Wow, if only I could have had this technology, this type of outlet in 1980 I would have been able to work through my feelings in writing.
This site is dedicated to motherless daughters and motherless mothers. I am both. I became a motherless daughter on January 5, 1980. A distinct line was drawn in the sand that day...the line between carefree, spoiled, only child to housekeeper, bill keeper, commander in charge of all that my dad could not handle. I joined the mother ranks in Nov. 1988 and Dec. 1990. It is my complete hope that this site will garner responses from motherless daughters/mothers from all over the world. It is also my hope that we m-d's can all take a load off here and kick our responsible feet up with any and all feelings, musings, hopes, regrets or whatever we want to talk about. Thanks to Hope Edelman and her book I first read in 1996 "Motherless Daughters". I also read the next book titled "Letters from Motherless Daughters". Now I am reading "Motherless Mothers". Which prompted me to start this blog. As I have been reading her book (MM), I find myself stopping and saying to my husband: "Hey, I feel this way too, I can't believe it, I must be normal cause someone else is going through these feelings too". If your reading this and you have never lost a mother prematurely, honestly, you really cannot understand the lack that we feel as mothers. I know you want to, because I have seen your sympathy and felt your empathy but I also know that look of relief from you that you haven't had to experience this rug being pulled out from under your feet. Your blessed so go hug your mother TODAY!
Stop, stay awhile, drop a few would be great to hear from you!