Now, in a way, this is both true and false. It’s clearly false because my mother was not (is not), in fact, a bad mother. Okay, so our Christmas presents looked like they came from the bargain bin at the dollar store, and our clothes were often blindingly poor fashion choices. But you know what? We had no idea. We got a plastic kazoo under the tree – we were thrilled. Hand-me-downs were new to us. We were happy, because Mom stretched an impossibly thin budget well enough that we were oblivious to what we were missing. That is not a bad mother.
But of course, there is some element of truth in Mom’s statement as well, because Her Bad Mother is also not at all a bad mother. Oh, she worries that she is, as I’m sure my mother did at times. But there is no truth at all to her nom de blog.
I’ve often felt, over the past few months, like a bit of a poser in my area of the blogosphere. A wannabe. An interloper. An outsider, unwelcome, yet forcing my way in. The fact is that I read mommy blogs. I read them, I comment on them, I link to them. But the fact is that I am not a mommy blogger. I’m not a mommy. So what could I possibly have to contribute to the mommy blogging community?
But I do have thoughts and perspectives to share. For one thing, I’ve been a nanny, so I can share childcare stories just as well as others. I can talk about poopy diapers, and picky eating, and tantrums, and beautiful baby laughter. But I think I often forget an important point, which is that these mommy bloggers are mommies to someone – sons and daughters. And maybe I’m not a mommy yet, but I am a daughter.
While spending much needed time with Mom that weekend, I began to look at her more closely, to appreciate her more fully. And as I began to really understand how wonderful a woman she is, I began to realize how impossible it would be to keep that wonder to myself.
These are my mother’s eyes. They are hazel – like mine, but she has more gold flecks than I do. They are bright and expressive; they are quiet and wise. They have watched me grow for over 24 years, peering closely to anticipate my needs, to observe me, to know me. When she cries, they turn red and her mascara clumps together and it just about breaks my heart. When she laughs, they crinkle in the corners and they sparkle like the sun on the ocean and it just about breaks my heart.
This is my mother’s ear. This ear (and the other one, too!) has listened to so many stories – my trials, my triumphs, my pride, my fear. It has heard all of me, in all my forms. It has endured my sobbing, from infant wails to 20-something breakdowns. It has enjoyed my laughter – the giggles, the cackles, the outbursts of guffaws in horribly inappropriate moments. It has warmed at the sound of my singing, of sending her a blessing from a concert stage, of belting out showtunes in the car with Seeser. This ear has listened to me for years, but more importantly, this ear has heard me.
These are my mother’s feet (and her ankles, which she despises, but I love them). These are the feet that paced with me up and down the hall, in and out of the living room, in circles round the bedroom, when I was hurt, or scared, or sick with croup. These are the feet that searched for me every evening after I had crawled to a new hiding place to fall asleep. These are the feet that danced in the kitchen using the counter as a West Coast partner, teaching me to love to dance. These are the feet that walked ahead of me, to show me the way; that walked beside me in a show of support; that walked behind me, in case I should stumble and need a salvation. These are the feet that left those footprints on my heart.
This is my mother’s smile. Her teeth are slightly crooked, despite braces, and she has lines around her mouth from many years of laughter, but this smile is perfect. My mother’s smile is real, sincere, genuine, and it makes me want to smile back. I have seen this smile look upon me with pride, with excitement, with warmth, and always with love. It’s a beautiful smile.
HBM once talked about the deep and inextricable tie between mothers and their children – the inescapable physical bond that connects them forever. I have no doubts that I cannot yet fully comprehend that bond as it feels for a mother, but I feel it as a daughter. I know when I am hurting, my mother hurts too, even from hundreds of miles away. I know when I hear her voice, I worry less, even if nothing has actually changed and she has said nothing but, “Oh, my poor baby…” And I know when she holds my hand and strokes my hair, I feel stronger, like she is giving me some of her own energy to sustain me. I don’t understand these things, but I know them. I know her. She is my beautiful, wonderful, amazing, and precious mother. She is mine, and I am hers – for always.
Day 14 of LaBloShoeMo: The Green Flip-Flops
I bought these last Christmas during Day-After-Christmas shopping with Mom and Seeser. I saw the shoes at American Eagle and loved them, and then came up with this great idea. If I could find a purse to match it, then they would be a great splash of color in outfits made up entirely of neutrals (jeans, blacks, whites, and grays, for example). And wouldn’t you know it? Macy’s had a purse that was the exact same shade of green, and it was even on sale. I was totally sold. The bad news? The little sparkly gems on the straps of these shoes poke through and scratch the tops of my feet – it hurts like you wouldn’t believe. I don’t wear these anywhere I might have to do a lot of walking. But seriously, the color matching? Astounding.