April 30th .. and why you should hug your mother. Right now.

“No matter how old you get, hug and kiss your mother whenever you greet her.”

– from Highlighted in Yellow.

…………….

April 30th has come and gone and I’m playing catch up ..

But I want to go back to that day here for a moment .. as it will always be a very special day to me.  To many, actually.  Because it would have been my mother’s birthday.

As I reflect each day on the mother I am or am working to be ..

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about my mom and the kind of parent she was to us .. the kind of wife she was to our father .. and the person she was to the rest of the world.

I learned so much from her .. in life.

Perhaps even more, sadly .. in her death.

She would have 69 this week .. and was taken from us so young.

I’ll write more about her and some of the other women that have absolutely meant the world to me in life as we get closer to Mother’s Day as I want my daughter to understand the impact each of these women had on our lives.

But it was fun going back the other day looking for photos .. (something I was going to do anyway but also an assignment I’ve been given for work.)

Seeing her handwriting again on the back of the pictures ..

Thinking about how she spent her time here on this earth, where she felt she had made an impact ..

But also pondering where she decided to make changes, scale back, focus on the little things …

And the big thing.  Like time with family.  And why she hadn’t done more of it sooner.

It is a core value I contemplate often, work on always and believe any of us realize the importance of .. more and more as we age.

……………………

Happy Birthday to one of the most wonderful, generous, understated, most likely underappreciated, sincerely beautiful women inside and out that I will ever know.

What I wouldn’t give for more time ..

And I will say now what I say always to family and friends who have the gift of their mother still with them .. always hug her and tell her you love her.

It all comes back to .. (finishing some thoughts)

“Sometimes the best thing you can do as a parent, is keep your mouth shut.  My mother just listened .. and let me talk.  What a gift that was.” – Diane Keaton this morning, on the Today Show

……………….

What are the most important lessons your mother taught you?

……………….

I have seen the topic quite a bit recently in the news .. especially as we approach Mother’s Day.  I’ve been asked that particular question by friends recently as well.  And, it is a question I have been pondering myself, always have, but more and more as I work to navigate the ever changing waters that are motherhood.

Especially through divorce.

I have been trying to write for the past week, without much success, about some of the challenges facing us at the moment.

Much of it is relatively small in the grand scheme of things ..

 .. like making sure we’re out the door each morning in time to get to school on time.  Or .. navigating the increasing mood swings she’s having as she heads toward her tween years.  (This will be fun to write about).  Responding – or not to the occasional tantrum (of which we have not had one since that dreadful first night of spring break).  Listening to her constant push for a later bedtime as she gets older and balancing that with her need to get enough sleep.  Listening to her ask for anything that means more responsibility.  Yet struggling with how some of the most basic things she needs to do and is reminded of, she can’t somehow seem to get done.  Her being upset with me as I ask her to leave the cats alone and instead focus on her homework.  Not allowing any talking back and providing appropriate consequences when she does.  Keeping track of my jewelry, clothes or shoes ..as she can now fit into most of them… stuff like that.

I realized only this morning, just how similar a size we now are .. when I grabbed her rainboots to run out to the car.

And they fit.

As she grows and things are changing rapidly, some of these conversations and reflections will be easy and somewhat fun to write about.  And for her to have to reflect upon.

The problem is ..

There are bigger issues and conversations happening behind the scenes right now that are tough.  And are very big picture.  And that should stay behind the scenes, for now.

Especially because, we all know, that even in marriage parents don’t see eye to eye.

So what do you do, what is best to do, when it comes to divorce.  And your child’s future.  When you have two separate homes.  And two very strong, well meaning opinions that can’t quite merge.

…………….

Going back to the original question above, one many seem to be asking in their lives at this particular moment:

I believe the best advice I ever got from my own mother .. that I am relying on to get me through some of the smaller challenges of the day to day and of raising a child .. never came through actual words.

It came through her smile.  And her laughter.  Her ability to do both in the face of chaos.  And as Diane Keaton so eloquently stated this morning about her own mother, it was my mom’s ability to listen and respond in a way that, even if it was unintentional at the time, would ultimately help me take responsibility for my own actions and grow.

I’m not sure laughter and a smile are going to help on some of what is before us ..

I’m hoping there will be occasions however, where it won’t hurt either.  And in the meantime, I look forward to always working on my listening skills.

 

Mindless blogs and Making the most of our time ..

Leave it to a man,  I am laughing to myself, to point out the obvious.

(Well, to be quite honest, I know a lot of women that do that better than many a men.  But that was still the first thought that popped into my head)

While I don’t get a ton of comments on my blog .. which is fine .. I love and appreciate the ones I do get.  Even critical ones.  Which so far, I guess it’s nice I’ve only had one.  But I work in a field where I’m used to them.  I can usually take whatever gets thrown my way.

So when I saw the following response to my “Help Wanted” post from a week ago where I mentioned I could really use a personal assistant, something I’ve believed I would be much better off with since college, I about spit my coffee out laughing:

“Perhaps if you weren’t writing mindless blogs you would have more free time to do what the rest of us do??”

First of all, thank you, Mr. Obvious.  Or, what one might think is obvious.  It’s 2:23 a.m. and I’m up writing because I don’t sleep much, not when I’m alone anyway.  This is my usual time unfortunately, to be up yet doing things I simply want to get done.  Mindless or otherwise.  Because during the day, I’m busy.  Apparently according to your best guess, not making good use of my time.

Trust me, James .. I wish the DMV were open right now because I’d be the first in line late at night take care of what I need to get done.  In fact, I might call the appropriate state officials first thing tomorrow morning to suggest at least one office stay open 24 hours .. because I bet a ton of others would be right there with me.

Are you among the uber organized, incredibly efficient and ultra successful?  I do hope so and I am glad you have it all figured out.  If not though, perhaps it’s the opposite .. you don’t have a whole lot going on in life that you have time to read mindless blogs and then point that fact out?  Or best reality might be that you are lucky to fall somewhere in-between?

I could take a guess .. but I hate to ever assume I know a thing about someone else’s life let alone make a remark about it.

Life for most people, is hectic.   And for women it seems, more and more.  Women who might work.  Care for a child.  Try and maintain some level of health and fitness.  Take care of things around the house.   Volunteer.  Manage family time & relationships and friendships.  Take care of an aging parent.  Help a child with homework.  Visit a friend in the hospital who just had a baby.  Console another friend going through divorce.  Spend time on your own marriage to keep it on solid ground.  Or, exert far too much time and energy dealing with an ex who can’t seem to move on and blames you for everything that has ever gone wrong in his life.  Go to church.  Cook a meal for a family who’s going through a loss.  Make your own family dinner.  Run a child to their activities.  Shop for a child’s friend’s birthday present.  Take the dog to the vet.  Attend a fundraising event you feel obligated to go to because your friend with that organization just came to your benefit.  And if you’re lucky .. find time for a yoga class or a good bar where you can hide out for an hour and try to remember what it’s like to actually breathe and get over the guilt you’re just not doing enough .. or doing it well enough and you need to try harder tomorrow.  Finish that beer or wake up after the final yoga stretch and cool down.  And then kiss those you love goodnight.

While I truly am enjoying responding to James in this particular post, this is actually a discussion I do want to have with my daughter .. most likely routinely .. as she is growing up.  And one we have already started to have.

We want it all.  Or think we do, especially when we’re younger .. just starting out in life and career.  We try to do it all.  Women, especially.  But it’s tough to have it all.  Something’s gotta give.  And women tend to be too hard then on themselves when that happens.  They feel they somehow failed.  Well, that I know is a gender neutral issue.  Everything’s got to be, look and feel perfect.

I fight this myself although I’ve gotten much better about it over the years through time and life experience.  But I see it so much now in close friends and colleagues, especially.

Life’s not perfect.  At all.  We do the best we can and hopefully learn to let the rest of the chips fall where they may.  We may want to save the world, or the whales, or .. oh, this list could go on and on and on but I don’t want to give anyone any more ideas or items to put on their to-do list… but it’s okay if you can’t.  Still we try.  And that’s okay too.

But, James, this is why some of us would appreciate an assistant.

……………

Now I’m not done with James just yet.

From ‘Help Wanted’ to ‘No soup for you’ .. I wrote yesterday about good customer service and how at a very young age, I learned working service jobs that the customer is (almost) always right.

What’s wonderful about a blog is that the writer gets to determine who the writing is for.  Kind of.  Perhaps its better said, who is your audience?  Do you know the customer you are going for?  And are you making sure they are the intended target in your work?  For some bloggers the target may just be for themselves.  A creative outlet.  Others hope for a much broader audience.  And money coming in through ads.  But what is “right” here in the blogosphere, often means what is ‘right’ by the writer.  (Try saying that 10 times fast) Not necessarily by the audience or readers .. or in other words, the customer.

I have been meaning to write a better ‘About me’ page for awhile now, to explain why I have taken this blog, this personal project on.  A project James feels is meaningless.  An opinion he is certainly entitled to.  But many others have encouraged me to continue to write.  I am so honored so many of you are stopping in to read, offer support, comments and just plain time of yours to connect.

Anyway, James’ note prompted me to finally get the ‘About me’ page done.

If you’re so inclined to further care about why I am blogging/journaling/channeling my inner writer that I don’t typically get to use for anything other than 30 second copy .. please check out the tab.

It’s cool if you don’t, too.

Who I would like to see it and who will get a copy of all this when it is done.. is my daughter.  Because this is for her.  She may not appreciate it now .. but I’m hoping somewhere down the line my daughter loves the memories I’m able to record, the parts of me she will someday want to know more about when I’m gone and be able to look back and sincerely track the big changes that may or may not lie ahead for us all this year.

If anyone else might appreciate some of my random thoughts or days along the way, I am blessed.  Sincerely, thank you for stopping in.

But like anyone with a remote .. or a mouse on their computer .. you get to vote with where you click and spend your time.

On your TV, you don’t like the program, change the channel.  Online, if you aren’t interested in a site, keep surfing.  Lucky for us all .. we live in a time and place where there is infinite content to choose from.  And each of us gets to decide where our time is spent most wisely.

Best to you all ..