Without Judgment Clarity Exists

There is eternal power and influence in motherhood.

-Julie B. Beck

Seeing the first image of our baby inside of our womb, the excitement of feeling the first kick inside our swollen bellies, the forever waited sound of the first breathe and cry at birth—all produces a plethora of emotions and fairytale like dreams.

Instant tears of joy and feelings of entitlement for our baby boy or baby girl—They will have our best and they will be the best at whatever they set out to do in life. We will always be there for them.

What is missing from the arrival of our bundle of joy is, a book of wisdom. Although you can find just about any book on any topic of how to do anything online and in stores, no single approach to parenting is a guarantee.

Every child and every mother is unique. We become mothers with an abundance of love and only our bag of history, experiences, and knowledge—the good and the bad.

Just as our moms raised us the best they could, we follow pursuit and plan to do the same, but better (or so we think).

It has taken me many years to step away from the idealism of how my mom should have raised me versus how I was raised.

Burying the judging gavel, allows me to see with clarity.

I see myself in her, which took over 25 years to happen.

I am an extension of my mother and I represent book two of Lena.

That little seed of kindness inside of her has blossomed within me and for that I am grateful.

That mighty strength of hers, which moves the heavens and the earth, has not fully matured within in me; I yearn for it, but patiently wait, as the growth is ongoing.

We are fiery women. Like an out of control woods fire, Mom’s flame skips around readily. I have the flame too, but work hard to suppress it. Occasionally the beast escapes. When the fire kindles, I am Lena’s lookalike.

Mother’s love for fashion and style (when she was younger) was evident in her old pics– Hmm… I got that from her too!  Lol!

She loves to win…so do I. 🙂

While I may not like or agree with everything about the process of how I have become the woman I am today,

I very much like who I am and give homage, praise and thanks to my mother for creating me.

To all the moms, mother’s-to-be, fill in moms, Nanas, mom-moms and everything else, Happy Mother’s Day and thank you for all that you do!!! 🙂

Motherhood quotes that make me smile: 🙂 

“A mother is a mother from the moment her baby is first placed in her arms until eternity. It didn’t matter if her child were three, thirteen, or thirty.”
Sarah Strohmeyer, Kindred Spirits

“…moms, even good ones, sometimes lose it a little so as not to lose it all.”
Susan Squire

“A mother who would stop at nothing for her child is dangerous woman when crossed.”
Solange nicole

“I cannot admit this out loud. In the first place, we are expected to be supermoms these days, instead of admitting that we have flaws. It is tempting to believe that all mothers wake up feeling fresh every morning, never raise their voices, only cook with organic food, and are equally at ease with the CEO and the PTA.”
Jodi Picoult, House Rules

“Half the time your kids end up hating you for at least 5 of their teenage years[.] And don’t ever expect anything so mundane as a thank you”
Donna Ball, At Home on Ladybug Farm 

Bridging the gap: one step at a time

In high school, my addiction to running started and continued to intensify as I grew older.  Thirty some years later, I haven’t shaken the addiction, but I’ve found that the emotional high that I get from running helps in other areas of my life. Running relieves stress in a positive way. Running instantly clears my mind and always helps me to find solutions to many quandaries and other things on mind. Thankfully, running keeps me fit.

When my daughter was as young as ten or maybe younger, she gingerly rode her bike alongside me as I ran.  How far?  Five miles.   You might think that’s far, but she completed the ride with ease.  Like me, her body grew conditioned to the ride.  The ride served two purposes:  1. Instead of sitting in front of the T.V., she was outside exercising taking in lots of fresh air.  2.  Most importantly, we enjoyed quality time together.  Due to work and school, quality time was a rarity, so the five-mile ride/run gave us that time.

As she grew older, she took on swimming and decided that running wasn’t her thing.  I was cool with that because I’m not big on pushing my kids into an activity where they show no interest.  Hubby and I always let our children decide which activities they wish to take part in.  Our nine-year old wants to box now, so… we’re looking for a boxing class.  Is that my first choice, NO!    But, that’s what he wants to do so, we’ll roll with it.  Where did he get boxing from?  I have no idea.

Although my daughter is older (22), we still experience peaks and valleys in our relationship.  That’s normal and typical. I’m convinced that moms and daughters have this chip special chip in our DNA.  Lol!  The chips aren’t always in sync.  When they are in sync, everything is dreamy and fabulous. But when those chips malfunction, all hell breaks loose!  Lately the chip has been in the malfunction mode, but I have faith that the chips will soon re-sync.

For the first time, at least that I can remember, we actually ran together.  We both planned an outdoor run, but were initially unaware of the others plan.  When I realized that her plan was to run outside, I invited her to run with me.

Bundled up for a run - January 2012

The air was cool, about 36 degrees and there was a moderate breeze blowing.  We adjusted our iTunes play lists and I set my MapMyRun application on my phone.  Geez!  Years ago, I’d have no clue about how technology would impact my daily jogging routine.

As we set out, step-by-step for our run, we unknowingly left our differences behind.  We shared a common goal of enjoying the afternoon sun, opening our lungs to the crisp fresh winter air, and finishing the run with a set distance in mind.

Having a lengthy relationship with running, my body is typically ready to kick into gear.  The endorphins set in and I want to eagerly glide with the wind.  Only a conditioned runner can tell you about the days when you feel like you could literally run for hours.  Remember earlier that I said that running is an addiction!  Hehe!   However, my daughter being a novice runner worked to find her rhythm and successfully ploughed forward.

Periodically I checked to make sure that she was with me and was proud of her for not giving up.  I know that she wanted to, but she pushed herself.  Out there on the street, I forgot all about our recent challenges, differences of opinions, and the like.

It wasn’t until later that I realized something.

While running, I did not allow the gap between us to become too big!  Bingo!  Monitor our relationship the same way and minimize the gap as much as possible.

Of course, the day-to-day activity in monitoring and bridging the gap is often more challenging, but in reality, I need to apply the same principles that I do when I run 13 miles–  Take one step at a time. Translation:  One day at a time, one hour at a time, and one minute at a time.  I’m committed.

Lessons in Motherhood

There is no doubt in my mind that the dynamics of a mother-daughter relationship has many layers and  at some point in time, it all comes full circle. My relationship with my mother is complicated, and has been since my early teens.  Is it the same for all mother-daughters?  I hope not, but I do realize that both mothers’ and daughters” go through phases that can bring about conflict. Is it the same for father-sons relationships?  I don’t know.

Anyway, with regards to my mother, the subject of “Respect” is an issue.  The question/challenge/issue is, that there’s a very fine line when it comes to respecting your mother, while politely- encouraging— then demanding that your mother respects your adult child, who by the way, is quite respectful to grand mom.   Whoa!  That’s a mouthful, but it is some serious stuff and I know, that I cannot be the only daughter on this planet dealing with this nonsense.

About a week ago, I found myself engaged in serious discussion.  Ha! Ha!  I’m laughing because the “discussion” is the politically correct term.  The truth of the matter is that, the argument was a scene that was ideal for one of the many current outrageous reality TV shows. I know that some people might ask, why am I airing my dirty laundry out there for all to know.  And my answer is quite simple:  People need to know that they are not alone in the challenges that they face in life.  I truly believe that when you’re going through a difficult time, it helps (at least for me) to know, that you’re not the only one having gone through it.  I have learned so much from others and hope that someone out there can learn from my experiences.   My personal opinion is that all too often, issues are kept a secret (especially) in some families- and some secrets do more harm than good.  Note that I said some.

All right, back on track now.  So right in front of hubby, our young son, and me and without cause, my mom rudely insulted and disrespected my daughter.  When I attempted to respectfully correct her, she shifted into high gear and vehemently defended herself.  At one point, I felt like I was having an outer body experience.  I felt myself looking at the situation as though I was viewing it from a cloud or somewhere high above.  At that moment, I realized that I needed to take a stance, make my position clear and just deal with the consequences.  I dug deep inside and told my mother all that has been on my mind.  We visited some places that we hadn’t visited in a long time, but with a much different perspective.  She tried to walk away, but I wouldn’t let her; because she needed to know how her sharp words impact and hurt others.  My daughter tried to respectfully defend herself to her grand mother, but I told her that this was my battle, not hers.  The dialogue continued but I don’t think my mother really heard or understood anything I said, which is how it’s always been.  In the end, we (mother and I) agreed that alternative living arrangements should be made.  We’re working on that now and it really was inevitable.

Meanwhile, as I look through the glass that’s half full and reflect on my relationship with my mother, I realize that I’ve learned some important lessons from her.  I’ve learned:

1.    That my mother is the kind of person who needs her own space.  She cannot live with others.  It doesn’t make her good, bad, or evil, it’s just a fact
2.    To credit my mother for giving me the thick skin that I’ve grown over the years
3.    To thank my mother for teaching me how to be a genuinely nice person
4.    To always tell my children that I love them and to hug them several times each day
5.    To allow my children a look inside my heart and soul so they may understand the person that I’ve become
6.    To forgive and to never hold grudges
7.    To apologize when I’m wrong
8.    To see the good in people
9.    To get to know my daughter; go to the beauty salon, movies, nail salon, etc… with her
10.  Don’t be a part of racism and prejudice; instead treat people the same way that I want to treated

Have my mother and I gone full circle yet?  I don’t know for certain, but I don’t think so.  My heart tells me that there’s more to this story, but only time will tell.