Showing posts with label Moms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Moms. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Mom All By Herself on Mother's Day

We all raise our children to be independent.  Well, most of us do, I hope.  We don't want our 35 year old moving into the basement with his Lazy Boy and his 65 inch TV just as we start our retirement, now, do we?

But raising our children to be independent has a dark side for us mothers out there.

I really loved my children and enjoyed their growing up years, but I also looked forward to knowing them as adults and being a part of their lives.  However, we never know how things will turn out and loves and career often take our children far away from us.

My mother had to deal with that.  I moved to California from Michigan the day after I graduated from college.

Off I went, just like that. It was 1970.  What can I say? In those days, everyone from Michigan wanted to move to California.  We wanted to be a part of "The Summer of Love" but didn't realize we had already missed it!

My mother's heart must have sunk when I announced I was moving 2000 miles away, but being the stoic Swedish woman that she was, she never said much about it except the occasional "if you weren't so far away."  I think when I left, my Dad gave me $10. It was a symbolic gesture. Somehow he knew I had it all figured out (he later shared with me that he thought I was so brave to make that move. I could tell he wished he had done it himself).  I was 22.  Don't all twenty-two year olds have it all figured out?

So I lived my life in California, married, had children and only ventured back to Michigan to see my parents occasionally and they would come out to see me when they could.  It was only when I had children that I realized what I was missing by living so far from my Mother and Dad.

My mother spent many Mother's Days without her children.

So now history repeats itself.  My son and daughter both live far away so this last Mother's Day, I found myself alone.  Hubby had to go on a business trip so I was really alone.  But before you point fingers at him, his absence on Mother's Day actually bothered me less than my childrens' absence.  I mean, I am not Hubby's mother (though sometimes it feels like I am)!

But we say we want our children to be independent and have their own lives so we have to walk the talk, and my children are living their own lives just as I wanted them to do.

So when Mother's Day rolls around it evokes all kinds of emotions.  It can be a happy day when your family is around you and paying homage to what a great mother you are.  But for some of us whose mothers have passed on, it can be a sad day.  For many who wanted to be mothers and were not able to be, also a sad day.  And for those of us who are mothers but whose children are not close by, it can also be a lonely day especially when our hubbies are gone too.

So what did I do all by myself on Mother's Day?

First, I refused to be sad.

I spent some time with my mother.

And then I spent some time with my children, because even though we are not physically together, I have them, and my mother, with me always through my happy memories. 




In the end, whether we are alone or with our families, we will always have those memories. 

I was alone on Mother's Day, but in the end Mother's Day is just a day, a day like every other day because every day I think of my children. 

But I am fortunate.  My children, despite their distance, seem to like me.  They keep in touch and we see each other several times a year.  So we continue to make memories. There is no guarantee that if we all lived in the same town that we would get along and see each other all of the time, so I am happy that we are as close as we can be.  And I am glad that they are happy and successful.  Because wasn't that the whole point?

We can't control what will happen to our children, what choices they will make.  We can only give them the wings to fly away and be independent and hope that those wings will hold them up.  And that one day those wings will bring them back (this is totally metaphorical. I don't literally want them moving back in)!

But I felt so strongly about those wings that I had them permanently imprinted on my arm so I would never forget my role (and I was in my 60's when I did it - but don't tell my mother)!

What does Mother's Day mean to me?

It's a great day to honor our mothers and for mothers to think about their children, but we don't really need a "day" to tell us to do that. We can do that any day and we should.  And while our loved ones are around, we should be sure we tell them what they mean to us so we don't have any regrets.  And then when we can't be together, we have our memories which are timeless and eternal.

So on my Mother's Day by myself, I spent time with those memories, reminiscing, remembering all of the fun and the stories and the funny things my kids used to say, and then being so glad I have such wonderful, successful adults. I knew I had done my job.  I had given them the wings to fly away. So instead of feeling sorry for myself, sad and all alone, I felt grateful for my little family.  I had all of those memories to keep me company.

And then I went out and, with a smile on my face, treated myself to a new outfit and a nice Mother's Day meal...all by myself...but not alone.

Thanks for Reading!

See you Friday

for my review of



The Week in Reviews

(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

 and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before

 I Die Project."

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

What My Mother Told Me: A Mother's Day Tribute From Her Baby Boomer Daughter


I have spent a lot of Mother's Days alone with Hubby, since I live far from my children.  Likewise, my mother spent many a Mother's Day by herself because her children did not live nearby.
Isn't it strange, the older we get, the better our parents seem?  Wasn't it Mark Twain who said "My father was an amazing man.  The older I got, the smarter he got."
The irony is that now that I am in the latter part of my life, I sure wish my parents were still here.

I can't make it up to my mother now for all of those Mother's Days she spent without her children, but I can spend some time thinking about her, which I do every day.

And when I think of her, I can't help but be reminded of her whole repertoire of sayings that I certainly didn't appreciate at the time, but upon reflection, she knew what she was talking about.

"Stand up straight!"

She had probably just said that as I went off to the first day of school junior year.  Or I might have this expression because my Dad is taking my picture once again on the first day of school (we did this on every first day of school...thanks, Dad)

We lived about two blocks from the high school and she would yell "Stand up straight, Rosellen!" as I slouched off to school.  How humiliating.

"Smile, Rosellen."

Telling me to stand up straight was usually said in tandem with "Smile, Rosellen," which could also explain my expression in said picture. I hated her saying that to me, so that would then lead me to sigh and her to say, "Stop sighing." I hated her saying that too. At the time, I was certain I knew way more than she did, and if she would only recognize that fact, we would get along much better.

However, I have since learned that my Mother was right.  If you stand up straight and suck in your gut, you will look at least five pounds thinner, and I see now, of course, that I look much better when I smile.  The sighing part is still something I need to work on. 

But what is with that awful haircut in that picture? You can tell my Dad cut my bangs. 

"Don't borrow trouble."

This was her 1950's equivalent of "Don't worry, be happy."  Not a lot of talk about worries or feelings in my family.

But trying to stay positive is probably good advice.

"Only crazy people talk to themselves."

I think this was something she said when she was talking to herself.

"Don't worry about me.  You worry about yourself."

I can remember her saying this specifically as I dragged her up a particularly steep hill in San Francisco, where I lived right after graduating from college.  She would have been 62 at the time. 

"How are you doing, Mom? You OK back there?" I asked as I walked way ahead of her, leaving her in the dust, as I usually did, to which she replied, "You don't worry about me, you worry about yourself."

She prided herself in being able to keep up.  But she disliked it that I walked way ahead of her.  I don't really like it either when my kids do it.

However, I have since adopted her retort.

"Get your hair out of your face." 

It being the 60's and all, of course I had to have long hair.  She hated long hair, especially on brides and when wearing formal attire.  If I wanted that prom dress, I had to put the hair up.  If she had had her way, I would have been wearing my hair like this all of the time.

Do you know how many hours sitting in a salon, hair pins and ratting that went into getting my hair up like that?

"Watch him like a hawk!"

When I had my son, she said that all of the time.  I think it had something to do with her own mother telling her a child could drown in a bucket of water.  I never quite understood that story or her mother telling her such a thing, but in general my mother was a worrier.

Then it became "Watch her like a hawk!"

But again, good advice when you have little children running around.

And I did.  I was a Mama Hawk.

"You get what you pay for."

Both of my parents believed in this mantra.  They were middle class folks, but they always bought the best.  Whether it was a piece of furniture, a hat, clothes, they always went for quality. That's where my expensive taste comes from.  Sorry, Hubby.

I know, politically incorrect animal fur and bird feathers, but you get the idea.


"It's made of all good things...sugar, flour, butter..."

When I would ask my mother what was in something, she would outline the ingredients because she knew.  She made everything from scratch.  TV dinners were considered a real treat in my family because we ate frozen food so rarely.  TV dinners were new-fangled.

Sugar, flour, butter, those things were not politically incorrect in my mother's day, probably because those things were not so easy to get during the depression and the war.  And I would guess, they didn't contain as many strange ingredients as foods do today, though I must say, I used to eat an awful lot of maraschino cherries in that lovely (now banned) red dye.

"There is a reason rich people are rich.  They are tight with their money and save their pennies.  That's why they are rich."

Probably true.

But as I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs, there is a saying that those who are tight with money are often tight with their love. 

There was a lot of love in my family.

 "If you read, you will never be lonely."

My mother wasn't what I would call a sophisticated reader, but she was a reader.  Her reading habits leaned more toward  "Book of the Month Club" and the "Reader's Digest Condensed Books."

I remember my mother taking me to the great big library in our town for the story times, and I had a library card from a young age. 

 I'm the one in the middle in the white dress. 

(Remember when articles about children going to the library was newsworthy enough to make the newspaper?  Me neither).

The Hackley Public Library in Muskegon, Michigan is an imposing three story structure built in 1888 with funds from Charles Hackley, a lumber baron.  He gave so much money to the town that we celebrated Hackley Day where we only had to go to school for a half day to hear about how great he was.

The library was recently part of a "Most Beautiful Library" contest.

I spent many nights in that library and sitting under those stained glass windows.

My mother was a child of Swedish immigrants and the only one in her large family to finish high school.  She valued education highly and taking me to the library probably planted the seed that would give me and her granddaughter our most challenging and rewarding careers as librarians.

So, Mom, you might not have thought I heard what you told me all those years ago when I was growing up, but I did.

And I hear you still.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom, wherever you are,
and to all you Moms out there!

What are your memories
growing up with your Mom? 

See you Friday for

"Must-See Musical Biopics"

Thanks for reading!

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