Journey to Joy and Tattoos
Mother's day was interesting this year. My infertility ups and downs keeps life interesting as of late. If anything, this journey Ben and I are on made this day much more present. Seeing folks post photos, as they should (scream it from the rooftops!), of their creations and those who created them, seeing mothers celebrated in all paths and forms, it made me envious. It was the good kind of envy, though; the kind which fuels gratitude. When Ben and I finally achieve parenthood, in whatever form it takes, appreciation will be not be lacking. We have a bottle of Blanton's waiting anxiously on a shelf for the moment in fact.
Of course, I do have a mother of my own. And, like many of us, she was on the forefront of my thoughts this past Mother's Day. She is a remarkably kind woman, full of steadfast support. She challenges me in a way no one else does. My mama, as I call her, is a consistent example on what it means to be a decent, loving and accepting person. Sitting at my computer writing, kernels of questions started popping into my head. We chatted for a bit and my mama agreed to answer a couple of questions without any further explanation other than "it's a little project." Like I said, steadfast support. This resulted in an exchange through words that was revealing, emotional and quite humorous. Enjoy!
J: You left on a voicemail that "being your mom is one of the greatest stories of my life." - if you could title the story of being my mom, what would the title be?
M: The voice mail actually said, "being your mom is one of my greatest joys" but here's a story title for you....."A Mom's Journey of Joy". By the way, this was by far the hardest question, and I am not the writer you are.
J: Name a moment you were proud of me.
M: Do I have to name just one proud moment? There are so many. I guess some of the most memorable ones were the ones where you put some other person ahead of yourself. I remember you running down a basketball court once, and an opposing player had fallen. Instead of racing towards the basket for the next play, you stopped and helped the girl to her feet. When Dad had an operation, and I had to do parent conferences, you took time from work in Philly, and came and gave us support. When teachers asked you to help someone else with their work, you helped with no question. You showed that positive and caring attitude towards your classmate. Those times I was so proud of your kind heart.
J: Name a moment you were disappointed in me.
M: I don't think I have ever been disappointed in you. There have been times, yes, I have been, let's say, "unhappy" with your choices or behavior. Let's talk about tattoos! The first tattoo I counted towards being an impulsive teenager. After that, when the tattoos numbered three (or maybe more, I don't want to know) I have shouted, "Please no more!", making my opinion loud and clear. I just have in my mind that you will be sorry some day when your skin changes and those tattoos change too. But, I still love you tattoos and all.
One other story about behavior....when you were about five I guess, you had a day of challenging mom. It really was so strange that day because it was so unlike you to battle me. You defied me all day, and talked back. Finally, that late afternoon, I put you in time out for the first (and last) time ever. I guess you got the message.
J: When you look at me, what aspects remind you of you?
M: I think your creativity reminds me of me. You love little projects with crafts or flowers. You like to make things pretty and unique...that's me. I think your value of working hard reminds me of me. We both take pride in any work that we do. We want to do a good job, and do the kind of job we would expect from another. Unfortunately, I think I influenced some of your anxiousness about things that happen in life. At times, we both worry a little too much. And, finally, your love of dancing is definitely from me.
J: When you look at me, what aspects of me remind you of your mother?
M: My mother was very loving. So are you. My mother loved her children with a passion and would do anything for them. She always put us first. I think you remind me of her in that way. When you love, you love with a passion and you put others first. It doesn't even have to be a person. You love your dog, Opal, with that same passion! Maybe loving another tattoo will be next, who knows. (I hope not.)
Going back to that creativity of yours and mine, we both got that from my mother. She could turn egg boxes into a makeshift city with animals, people, buildings, all with just glue and a scissors! She could create with very little and make it look awesome. As a child, it was magical for me. Finally, my mother loved to have fun. She was a bit quirky, but laughed a lot and was always game for a fun activity. You also enjoy having fun and trying new things.
J: What song reminds you of me?
M: The song that reminds me of you is" I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack. The lyrics are my wishes for you...to dance, to have adventures, to love and live life to the fullest. Also, you and I always enjoyed dancing together.
J: What is the best thing about being a mom?
M: The best thing about being a mom is you get a precious gift from God unlike any other. You get to experience a one of a kind connection and a love that fills your whole heart. When that little one comes, she is a part of you. You just want to protect her, hold her, and care for her. You know you will never let her go, and she will always be yours. What a privilege and blessing!
J: What the most challenging thing about being a mom?
M: The most challenging thing about being a mom is making the right decisions for your child. You are responsible for that child, and you want to do the right things to mold her into the best person she can be. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don't. That's when you pray and ask the Lord to "work all things together for good". I have done a lot of praying over the years. :)
J: What is a piece of advice you will give me when I become a mother?
M: My best piece of advice, and I think I have told you this before, is to be present with your child or children. Children want and need your attention and time. They don't need a lot of material things to be happy, they need you and your love. Even five minutes can mean so much. Eat Doritos and talk with your child during a power outage, go on a summer adventure with her like taking a public bus to the city, land shark your teenager in bed when she can't get up for school, or take lots of walks with her on a pink bicycle with training wheels. Time passes so quickly, make memories whenever you can.
J: When you look at these photos, what do you see?
M: Some of these are first thoughts when I saw the pics.
- Very professional! Looks like a picture from a magazine. It looks like you have found a niche, meaning your blog, that makes you happy and feeling free.
- So beautiful! My angel! A genuine spirit shines through.
- Can't believe you are my daughter....you look like a model. So grown up and confident looking. I think you have learned a lot about yourself through the blogging and photo shoots.
M: ***You need to know that I cried through much of this response. I guess this mom hasn't changed after all these years when talking about her baby. Love you!
I am not crying, you're crying. Mom's rock, huh? In the spirit of saluting mothers (and this can be anyone you deem worthy of the title) all year long, I encourage you seek out the answers to some or all of the above questions. I typed them out below for an easy copy and paste. Make them your own, start the dialogue. Written out love is powerful.
Thank you, Mama, all the love to you. I experience joy because you taught me how. And, I still only have three tattoos.
Photo of my mama by Lydia Jane
- If you could title the story of being my mom, what would the title be?
- Name a moment you were proud of me.
- Name a moment you were disappointed in me.
- When you look at me, what aspects remind you of you?
- When you look at me, what aspects of me remind you of your mother?
- What song reminds you of me?
- What is the best thing about being a mom?
- What the most challenging thing about being a mom?
- What is a piece of advice you will give me when I am a mother?