You could always pick my kid out in the Halloween parade lineup as the only child with a store bought costume. I’m also the mom who brought in Safeway brand cupcakes when it was my turn to provide snacks. Mother Teresa I’m not.
I likewise confess to apologizing to my daughter on more than one occasion for making a judgment call that turned out to be less than stellar. In addition, an occasional curse word would slip loudly from my lips in her presence.
I would then smile and tell her that she was my practice child, and I would be so much better with the next one. We both knew she would always be my one and only, so we both made allowances for my mistakes along the way. And there were plenty of them.
That being said, I never missed a play, an award ceremony, a field trip or a back to school night. It also warrants mentioning that I was the class party helper for 12 years running. Candy canes, pipe cleaners and glue guns progressed into Indian costumes, ‘50’s dances, hero week, science projects, dioramas (man, I hated those things), and D.A.R.E. programs. We both happily survived pajama parties, teenage angst, dating drama and college calamities. I was up front and present for each and every one of them.
So when Mother’s Day rolls around I figure I’ve got a bit of good karma coming my way. When you’re a 59 year old mother, with a daughter that is fully grown, Mother’s Day becomes mostly about memories.
Visions of silly string wars, sleep-overs, kissing boo-boos, reading books, singing her to sleep, birthday parties, board-games, roller skates, glitter artwork and Play-Doh projects. And then there were the outings. I don’t think that going to a Disney movie can officially be called an outing, but when you see “Snow White” 8 times, I think you get to call it whatever you want.
One Mother’s Day morning, as my 8 year old daughter served me crunchy eggs and burned toast for breakfast, she asked me why there wasn’t a “kid’s day”. I responded that every day was kid’s day. She didn’t buy it.
I guess it’s hard to imagine that every day is your special day when you’re being given curfews, nagged about homework, asked to clean up your room and told to feed the dog. But the cold hard truth is that when you are a child of loving parents, every day IS your day.
Nearly 20 years later, I’ve often shared with my daughter that I hoped that one day she would know the joy of having a little girl just like her. She winces at the thought. The kid is smarter than she lets on.
Motherhood is tough business. I believe that the reason labor pains are so agonizing, so gut wrenching, so bloody and endless is because its purpose is to toughen us up for the hard part. Labor is a piece of cake compared to the actual raising of a child.
I’ve always said that the easiest part of childrearing are the ages between birth and 2 days old. After that, you’re out of the hospital and on your own … for the rest of your life.
Our life, for the years that we are raising our kids, revolve around them. It’s just the way it is. But, as every empty nester knows, all things come to an end. All things except motherhood.
Today’s picture is home grown. A 27 year old snapshot of a time long ago still very fondly remembered. She is every bit as adorable today as she was then, just taller, sassier and with more teeth. I am shorter, less sassy and have fewer teeth. I am not amused at the comparison.
Our children may no longer live with us, or call with any dependable frequency, text daily or even visit often. It matters less than it should. Because moms forgive pretty much anything. No matter how old we are, if our kids are okay … we’re okay. And if they’re not, neither are we.
If you ask me (and I know you didn’t) being a mom is often a thankless job. It’s never ending, unconditional and all encompassing. It’s not optional and it’s not always received with gratitude. It’s still a mystery to me why it feels like the best damn job in the world.
The lovely little cherubs whose diapers we changed and running noses we wiped will at some point or another be rude, angry or disrespectful of the parent that brought them into this world.
That’s okay, because there will come a time when they will learn about the sacrifices, worry, tears, hurt, and the joy, pure rapture and complete love of it all. That day will begin when they tell you that you are about to become a grandparent. Proving once and for all that God does have a sense of humor.
And, just for the record, that crunchy egged, burned toast breakfast I had those many years ago; well, it was the best damn breakfast I’ve ever eaten.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Amanda Fox - Too funny. I love the fact that you told your daughter she was a “practice child”. I’m using that line tonight LOL. And you are right, labour pains do prepare us for the rest of motherhood – which is hard as heck.
mercyn - Great post!
My son tells everyone he took two years of culinary arts in high school because if he did not learn to cook, he would have starved.
Tammy - Hi Amanda, Yup, I still use that line from time to time. A good crutch is hard to let go of. Hard as heck defines it nicely. And yet, I would do it all over again, but next time with a ton more money and a lot more wine! Appreciate the read and love the comment! Thanks for being here
Tammy - Hi Mercyn, I LOVE your son already! Send him over any time. The apple never falls too far from the tree, you know. Kudos to you both, and a very happy Mother’s Day to you!
Lois Alter Mark - I love this piece! I’ve told my kids every day is kids day, too, and they never bought it either! The picture is adorable — have to cherish those rare moments when your child actually looks adoringly at you!
Tammy - Hi Lois, so glad you enjoyed! I remember the day and cherish it still. Lots more wonderful days followed, and some, not so much. Parenting is nothing like the commercials tout it to be. Its way harder and way better in every way. Still … every day IS kids day. You and I know it’s true! Thanks ever so for being here. Appreciate the read and the comment!
Sheryl - My favorite line: I am shorter, less sassy and have fewer teeth. I am not amused at the comparison.
Thanks for the laugh!
Tammy - Hi Sheryl, you’re welcome! Thanks for popping in and appreciate your comment. YOU made ME laugh!
Enchanted Seashells,Confessions of a Tugboat Captain's Wife - Oh boy, don’t hate, but…I buy my son presents for Mother’s Day because we both agree that if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have anything to celebrate. Truth. This year I got him an array of Kiehls products. 🙂
Laurie - Tammy, love that picture! I think this post is a beautiful, loving tribute to motherhood. It brouht tears to my eyes. i hope you have a wonderful Mothers Day!
Tana Bevan - Tammy, Motherhood is definitely not for the faint of heart. Teenagers (particularly those with the female anatomy) have got to be one of the the greatest forms of birth control out there. (“How did that darling, cute, sweet, angelic child I nurtured all those years morph into a creature from beyond?”)
The good news is usually children return after a few years of hanging out in the morass of teen angst, become human again in a slightly older/more mature form (one hopes), only to immediately (or shortly thereafter) set out to forge a life for themselves.
Or at least that’s what used to happen.
Nowadays there seems to be a time lag between those steps and the darlins’ departing the homestead, but that’s another story. For the sake of my comment let’s go with the “fact” that shortly after the darlins’ return from their teen angst, they leave home. Ah, silence, sweet silence … until something goes wrong. Then you probably get an earful (though its doubtful you’ll hear the resolution).
The kicker is, every-so-often there will be a call, a message, a note, a something in which the darlin’ says, “Hey, thanks for all you did for me (and do for me). I love you Mom.”
Poof, suddenly none of the other stuff matters.
It must be genetically encoded. Just when you’re so frustrated you want to commit a felony on your off-spring, they tell you that and you turn into a blithering, puddle of mush. Okay, maybe you don’t. I confess, I do.
In the end, it’s those Magic Moments that make it worthwhile since it’s all about love. May you and yours share in a very special Mother’s Day.
Tammy - Enchanted, not hating on ya, loving you for the thought, and the act. Such a wonderful motherly thing to do. You, my dear, are before your time. Perhaps it’s about time we all followed in your thoughtful footsteps. Awesome! Thank you for the read and the comment. Ever so lovely to have you here!
Tammy - Laurie, thank you for that. It was written with a pound of remembrance, a dash of love, a pinch of sentiment and an abundance of gratitude. So very happy it moved you. I will enjoy the day, thank you. My thoughts are with you and your mother. We only have one. Thanks for stopping in and sharing. Love having you!
Ande Lyons - *SNIFF* Wiping tears of joy and laughter as I read your beautiful post for the THIRD time!
LOVE the gorgeous photo of you and your baby girl. And yes, she will always be your baby girl!
Just tweeted my FAVE quote: “I’ve always said that the easiest part of child rearing are the ages between birth and 2 days old.”
The first words I taught my boys were “can I get you anything Mommy?” 😀
The programming was further cemented by the huge plaque in my kitchen with the quote: “Ask not what your Mother can do for you… ask what you can do for your Mother.”
And yes, every swear word my precious treasures know, they learned from their Mother.
Even though these two darling boys are now 17 and 15… and I need a stool to stand on if I want my face to be in the family photo… it feels like it was just yesterday that I was rocking them in my arms, my face pressed into their chubby sweet necks, breathing in the essence of their preciousness. *sigh*
Happy Mother’s Day dearest Tammy!
With love and appreciation for YOU!
Mel Glenn - I readily concede that being a Mom is the toughest job in the world. Cute column with real truths. My second son always says first son was the “practice child.” I am sure you were a great Mom, and what an adorable picture!!
Suerae Stein - Oh, Tammy, what an adorable photo! Just look at the way your daughter is beaming at you! I was just feeling quite sad and nostalgic the other day as I heard a little 5-year-old say to his little friend, “I get to see my mommy now!” And I thought, “Why does that have to end… that excitement over seeing mommy?” My kids are teens and one is heading to college in the fall. The emotions are flying right now! It’s nice to hear that it does get better. Oh, and you sound like a damn great mother to me!
Joan Cooper - How Charming!!!
I have never been a ‘mom’ except to horses, dogs, cats, birds. After I got over the ‘salmon swimming upstream’ syndrome, I realized that to have a child is a lifetime commitment that I probably would not have been very good at. It takes humor, tolerance, blind eye, ability to forgive and other things I am definitely not good at.
Have a fabulous Mother’s Day. You moms earned it.
Tammy - Hi Ande, thank you, thank you, thank you, for all those kind words. I, my dear, appreciate YOU. Your description of pressing your face into your babies necks as you breath in their essence of preciousness says it all for mothers everywhere. The first thing I did, instinctively, when Amanda was handed to me in the hospital, was smell her head, face and neck. I don’t know why. But I’ve always told her that she could line up with a hundred other kids, and I, blindfolded, could easily select her from the bunch just by smelling her. True. The knowing of her fragrance never left me, and to this day, when I hug her, I lean and smell my kid. That is why I say that I love her with the breath of me. LOVE, love your mommy-isms! Perfect planning on you part. I imagine it’s too late for me to start that with mine. Damn. I hate missed opportunities! Thank you for being here and for sharing your comment. Appreciate it more than you know. Have a wonderful Mother’s Day – so well deserved!
Tammy - Hi Mel, yes, I can only agree with you, motherhood is the toughest job around. But it’s also the very best job to have. Thanks, Mel, for the read and for the sharing. Enjoy your family this Sunday as you celebrate your kids and your wife’s mothering of them. Your sons are most lucky to have two loving parents that are still together and who love them until the end of time.
Tammy - Hi Suerae, thanks, yes, those were the days when she often looked lovingly at me. A memory I hold dear. I understand how you feel. We all wish we could freeze time or at least slow it down. When a child leaves for college it devastates a mom’s heart. We get over it when we realize that it isn’t an end…it’s a new beginning. Still, it’s tough going for a bit, so hold on. Baby birds always remember the nest they were born in, and they always return. I’m still not sure it gets better, as any mom will tell you, it’s hard to beat caring for our infant and growing children. Perhaps that’s what grandbabies are all about. I’ll let you know when my time comes. Thank you for the read and the comment. I so appreciate you sharing.
Tammy - Hi Joan, I think that furry children make us parents all the same. The difference is they never talk back and never ask for money. Yup, kids are a lifetime commitment and many are not inclined for the challenge. Sad to know that many of those people have children anyway. I so respect that you made that choice, eventually. I also respect moms of furry children. Being one myself, I understand the heart strings that it holds, and the commitment that it takes. Blessing to you, this Sunday, Joan. Thank you so very much for being here!
Tammy - Hi Tana, Yes, I too turn into a puddle of mush when a sweetness is thrown my way by my kid-let. I totally feel you in your description of a teenage girl. Talk about a wild ride! There were times I wanted to get off the carrousel, but clearly not an option. I do remember sitting in my bed more than once wondering what the hell happened to my sweet, adoring, daughter. Of course I found out that she was always there, just sidetracked by hormones, reality and the need to grow up faster than her body would allow. It all works out in the end. At least that’s my hope! Here’s to many more magic moments for us, Tana. And here’s to you! Blessing to you this Mother’s Day, and to the sweet daughter you raised.
Liz - Tammy love love the photo….side ponytail and all. Got to love the 80’s! My oldest child claims we made all our mistakes on her and that her brother’s life was much easier than hers. As we all know parenting is not for the weak, but what a huge reward it is to see your kids grow into wonderful adults…..so proud of them both. Happy Mother’s Day.
Tammy - Hi Liz, haaa! Yes, as my kid and I would always say, “fashion is everything”. Well, mostly we say that about little dog outfits we would choose for our dog, Maddy. I cringe when I look at some of my “looks” in the 80’s! But it’s always fun to go back and see my now, very grown up girl, as a little baby. Seems like yesterday. Your oldest might be right to a degree. We are a bit stricter with our first child (so I’ve heard). I guess we want to make sure it all goes perfectly. Good luck with that. So, perhaps her brothers life was a bit easier because she paved the way. Just one more thing he owes her. Yes, it is a wonderful reward to see them grow and be such great kids. We are lucky, lucky moms! A super happy Mum’s Day to you, sweet Lizzie!
Laurie Hurley - This one brought tears to my eyes as we prepare for my 18 year old to leave for college in September. I can’t imagine our home without her in her bed every night. We raise our children to be independent and then (at least I) curse that she is actually leaving me. Once out the door, everything changes. My daughter is adopted, but I never remember that part – she is mine, heart and soul. The only time we both are reminded she did not spring from my body is the fact the she is Asian and I am not. Who cares? Not us! Loved this post, hit an emotional nerve with me today. Happy Mother’s Day!
Tammy - Hi Laurie, so happy it touched you. I get what you’re going through. Tough business watching our babies leave the nest. I’m pretty sure I had a mild nervous breakdown. I do remember crying for about 3 months. My divorce from a 27 year marriage was easier. My heart is with you. You will quickly find out that while everything does change, the important things never do. She is still your baby, and will be until the day you die. I think it is God’s cruel joke to require us to nurture, love and protect so that we may let go. I remember sobbing an entire afternoon many years ago when I was teaching Amanda how to walk in our driveway. She clung to my fingers like they were life itself, and then suddenly she burst forward and let go. The irony didn’t escape me and I knew, at that very moment, that she would be letting go throughout her whole life. It was, after all, her job .. and mine. Blessings to you, Laurie, and to your beautiful family, this Mother’s Day. Thank you so very much for the read and for the sharing.
Kellie - OMG Such a baby face on you girl! Precious!
Jim Lunsford - Great post, and great picture! Happy Mother’s Day!!
Tammy - Thanks, Jim. Appreciate the compliment. Hope your day is wonderful too!
cheryl - My dear———you look just the same as that day——adorable
Tammy - Cheryl, thanks for that. Especially since we both know it’s far from true. But I sure like hearing it! Hope your Mom’s Day was a special one. You deserve nothing less than wonderful!