Tuesday, October 15, 2013

mama mama misses HER mama

sorry if this makes you cringe. or cry. i'm usually not into mushy sentimental sh*t. but this is my free therapy :)

yesterday was my mom's birthday. she's been gone 15 years, which is hard to believe. the day before my sis and i drank margaritas and stuffed our faces with tacos and got hit on by drunk old men in her honor. but yesterday, her actual birthday, kind of sucked. rough day at work, even rougher night at home. i wanted my mama.

when you lose your parents before "their time" (whatever that means), you say (people say), oh, i can't believe my dad won't be there to walk me down the aisle, or, i can't believe my mom will never meet her grandbabies. and of course, those extra meaningful moments are bittersweet because there's a mom-, dad-, step-dad-, or grandma-shaped hole in your special day. but to be honest, those big days are so hectic and crazy and sleepless and stressful and a whirlwind of excitement and love that you don't have a lot of time to throw a pity-party for yourself over your lost loved ones. at least, i didn't.

the times i most miss my mom are just regular ole days. maybe especially when i'm sick, or tired, or up at 3 am cleaning barf or poop or pee out of the sheets/blankets/carpet/cleavage... when i can't sleep... when i feel like i cannot take one single second more of this insane juggling act... when i want to be the one who gets babied and taken care of and not the one doing the babying for once. maybe when i just want to say "thank you," "i understand now" (at least a little), and "how on earth did you do it all?" when i want to know about ME as a baby, because, my dad, bless his heart, doesn't seem to remember a thing. i asked him about potty training and he was like, "hmmm, i don't remember going through that with you guys." ha! maybe i just miraculously starting using the big kid toilet on my own- i was quite advanced ;) (and i'm not judging, because these years are a manic blur and i've already forgotten huge chunks, who knows what i'll remember in 30 years!) i miss the opportunity to know my mom as an adult, to go on family adventures, to drink a margarita on the beach together. i wonder what my kids would call her (i can't imagine she'd settle for grandma). i miss my mom when i'm having a "heated discussion" with my husband and i just want to call a time out and ring her up and ask her to play referee - to let me know if i should just drop it (she'd probably say yes). or when i feel like i am failing at communication, failing at being the person i want to be, just plain failing. just plain missing my mom. sometimes there's just no one else that fits the bill.

for those of you who didn't know her, my mom rocked. she was a perfect blend of laid-back and go-getter. she was really good at everything, and expected the best from those around her, but didn't take herself, or life, too seriously. she refused to be pigeon-holed, or defined by one characteristic or facet of her life. i trusted her judgment implicitly (even the blue eyeshadow and shoulder pads... okay, maybe not the mullet ;)) and i still find myself asking "what would mom have done or said in this situation?" mom looked homeless men in the eye, and didn't talk down to anyone (well, unless you gave her coke instead of pepsi). she made you earn her respect and her smile, but was loyal to a fault once you had done so. she had a firm handshake, traveled alone, took pleasure in company and in solitude, and believed in miracles. she could be no-nonsense, and she could be silly. she taught me to trust my instincts, but also not to make groundless assumptions. she was the least judgy person i knew, at least until i met my stepdad and the stepdadders, and finally my dear husband. she was really good at communicating, and "reaching across the aisle," so to speak. with an evangelical upbringing, and a decidedly un-evangelical adult life, she had a depth and breadth of life experience that allowed her to connect with and understand all types and stripes. mom had friends, lots of friends, from all walks of life. she believed in equality and freedom of choice before it was cool. and fanny packs (she was an OG hipster, but without the attitude :)) from the get, mom taught me that no one was better than me, and that i was better than no one. that i could do anything i wanted to do, be anything i wanted to be, and that everyone else was or should be entitled to the same. mom taught me that after a few margaritas, people's differences tend to fade away. and getting naked in a hot tub together is a great equalizer. when you know and love all kinds of people, you learn that regardless of their politics, their religion, their beliefs, their morals, and what goes on in the privacy of their bedroom, they're really not so very different from you. it wasn't a political thing. i hate to say, my mom didn't even vote. it was just a human thing. these are some of the truths my mother imparted to me.

all of this just feels very apropos as our country/planet is currently going to hell in a handbasket ... i guess i'm probably putting her on a pedestal... thinking she could solve the world's problems if only she were here. but i just feel like she, of all people, would know what to say... would be able to explain things in a way that people could understand... would be able to break down the BS and bring even the staunchest stalwarts to an understanding...

realistically, her sentiments would probably echo a wise friend of mine, who recently said -

"Blah... blah... blah... government shutdown... blah... blah... blah... healthcare... blah... blah... blah... politics... blah... blah... blah... I'm still at work, getting paid, raising boys, kissing my spouse and practicing loving kindness."


i love this. and i try to remember it. i get myself so worked up sometimes... listening to NPR on the way to and from work i'm nearly apoplectic by the time i arrive at my destination. seriously. the other day i heard a reporter say (and i'm paraphrasing here), "well, congress hasn't done a single godd@mn useful thing in years and now they can't even manage to keep the government running, but, they did pass a bill on helium today." i was like, wait, i'm sorry, what did you just say?!?! i nearly drove my car into the ever lovin' center divider. they must have meant that the entirety of congress sucked a sack of helium balloons before coming to work that day?!?! the stupidity and intransigence and impotence in government and politics infuriates me. but... at the end of the day... why do i care so much? all i can do is breathe, love, and worry about me and mine.

my friend posted some more sage advice in the same vein, borrowed from "The Buddhist Boot Camp" -

"When you find yourself intolerant of intolerance, you're actually no different than the other side. Resolve the internal conflict and make peace within yourself instead of trying to fix someone else's perspective without ever attempting to calm your own. You can't fight fire with fire in order to prove that setting something on fire is wrong."

- Buddha's FB page

which kind of reminds me of my new favorite quote:

"Let go, or be dragged."

- An "American Proverb," allegedly.

anyway. that's all. happy birthday mom. miss your face.

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