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Posts Tagged ‘peace’

Let me just make a recommendation right off the bat, if you adore your mother, if you love mother’s day, this may not be the blog for you…or it might. Personally, every year I struggle with mother’s day, can’t even bring myself to capitalize it. It is by far my least favorite holiday/celebratory day of the whole year. I prefer Groundhogs Day, Presidents Day, Humiliation Day (Jan. 3rd), National Bubba Day (June 2nd), Yellow Pig Day (July 17th) and Marooned Without a Compass Day (November 6th), all to mother’s day.

I no longer struggle (much) with this day, I mainly just quietly ignore and wait for it to pass. And just so you know, I am a mother of two adorable grown daughters, who do not know I do not like mother’s day to the extent I dislike it, because what they do know is I LOVE being their mother.

See, I have learned over the years, many years, that there is a huge difference between being a mother and a parent, a father and a parent. My ‘mother’ is still living, so I do not speak of this unknowingly or lightly. As you may be aware from previous posts, my father is still living also and in an Alzheimer’s facility.

When I was blogging in my head earlier today I knew I had to write about it. I do that, blog in my head. A past acquaintance referred to it as ‘mind %#$@ing’. He didn’t get it, and it was before blogging.

My mother/parent, gave it what she had. She simply was not equipped to be a mother to me, but was able to parent me, and for that I am grateful. She met all of my basic needs wonderfully, faultlessly. But she wasn’t able to mother me. This was not unique to my mother, it was the relationship she had with her mother, her mother had with her mother, and I don’t know beyond that but probably went back more generations. It took therapy to get to a point of first recognizing it, accepting it, forgiving it and letting go of it…except on mother’s day. This was complicated early on by the fact that growing up my father had very high expectations of myself and my siblings on just how mother’s day would go, and it required excellent behavior and big displays of love and affection from us. I couldn’t muster either so I remember mother’s day as always being a struggle.

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Then I became a mother, a young mother, and my husband was determined to override my mother’s day wiring by spoiling me, having the girls spoil me and doing his damnedest to make me feel loved and appreciated. And it helped for a while, but always those feelings of “will this day never end?!” hung on. You see, when you know you didn’t get to have a mother and you watch everywhere around you and see what it is like to have a mother, even in your own home as you are mothering, you have a hard time embracing the celebration of it. My mother made it very clear very young that she did not want me, confirmed this to me when I was a young adult and saw no problem with it. Again, she parented well, and provided for me. But there have been so many, many times in my life that I have struggled with how to react to something because it was never modeled for me. It was not only up to me to figure out, she resented my ability to figure it out. My mother was emotionally abusive from the time she found out she was pregnant, details don’t matter here. I learned to mother myself, and from that learned to mother my children. My children were my saving grace as I was able to feel the love of a mother by being a mother. I was also able to feel the pain of what I missed by what they received. I feel mainly just pity for her at this point, long gone are the days of anger or need.

At some point many of us, for various reasons have to make a decision between leaving our past and choosing our future. Sometimes that choice is forced on us, sometimes it is a long slow process and if you are lucky, it never happens, you are able to mesh the two. For me, it became clearer and clearer that to own my life and live forward, I could not stay engaged with her. It was the final step in truly letting go and accepting that ours was a relationship not made of choice, not wanted and not necessary. I learned that I needed peace in my life more than I needed a ‘mother’ and that ship had sailed. I felt free for the first time when I came to that realization and realized it didn’t even matter to her.

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My greatest reward for mother’s day is watching my daughters enjoy it with their children, knowing that cycle has been broken. Watching them joke about it and detecting no stress or anxiety about it, makes it all worth it.

In 1994 President Bill Clinton signed into law the resolution unanimously adopted by the U. S. Congress establishing the fourth Sunday of every July as Parents Day. This I can get behind, because sometimes that is all that is possible. Sometimes a parent just isn’t equipped to be a father or mother, but they do their best to be a parent, to meet those basic needs.

And it isn’t about all the hugging and kissing or sitting up late at night talking through things. It’s just about being there. What makes my father, my father, is not any of that, he traveled much of the time I was growing up, he left the parenting to my mother. He was the disciplinarian. But he was also the teacher of principles, the one who though was wrongfully hard on us, was equally hard on us. I think each one of us felt we had a special relationship with him. He wanted so badly for us to be independent, strong, happy women, and it was his mission in life to accomplish that. That is what made him a father, not because he did it all right, because he did not.

Parenting is not for the weak of heart, mothering is not for everybody. And sometimes the two just don’t go together, and that is what keeps therapists employed! I hope that if you struggle with mother’ss day, that you are able to find peace in the ability to mother yourself, and know, it was never about you not deserving a mother.

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If you have read my earlier posts you are aware that I am one of the millions who painfully watch the slow erosion of a parent with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s much like seeing someone on a raft at sea whose mooring breaks loose and they drift out to sea and you are powerless to stop it. You agonizingly just have to watch till they are out of sight.

I’m a daughter who adores her father. I have written some about the ‘golden nuggets’ I use to get, little momentary flashes of wisdom. They have been long gone…or so I thought.

Yesterday I decided I would go visit my father, because I can still. It was a very non-busy unstructured kind of day, so thought I would treat myself to a visit and not wait till Sunday, the day I typically spend with him.

So I stopped and got the traditional Frosty on the way and had to apologize for being a nickel short and promised to bring an extra nickel on Sunday. When I got there my dad was sitting in a chair that he frequently is in now a days, he doesn’t walk/wander as much as he use to but seems to want to sit more. I leaned in to give him a kiss and he nuzzled me and said “I just love you so much babe” and stared at me so intently. I don’t care who he thought I was, I took it.

I felt a certain mission today, all week I’ve been thinking I need to tell him again how much I appreciate, really appreciate, all he has done for me, all he taught me and tried so diligently and determinedly to teach me when I know I was not a cooperative student of his lessons. I knew he wouldn’t understand but I felt so compelled to tell him. So, I did and was surprised at how hard it was to voice that without crying. It was odd, because he looked so seriously at me and said something that made no sense, but it felt like he got part of what I said.

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Then as he was talking a short time later about some business thing in words I couldn’t decipher, out of the clear blue sky he says “and it’s important to be nice, not arrogant, that gets you no where”, and then he was gone again. And I thought ‘another lesson still, another golden nugget! Always teaching.

He said my name a couple of times but I don’t know in what context, it was just thrown into a group of non words. But several times he told me he loved me, so it was just hard to leave but I was so glad I went. A couple of weeks ago, when I was there he all of a sudden said “where are all my grandchildren?”, and then he was talking about something else.

Life is about the moments, and never is that so clear and true than it is with visits with a person with Alzheimer’s.
~Peace~

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You know those moments that sneak up from behind and at first you feel their chill, like a cool breeze out of no where, and then spooked, you see a flash of something you know no one else saw? Those moments that yank you from present to past and back to present so fast that you aren’t sure what happened, but it leaves you feeling momentarily confused…maybe it’s a song, maybe it’s a smell, maybe someone who in a blink looked like someone else….or maybe it’s the world whispering to you. When that happens, it can be so startling for a moment it makes me gasp, then I have to stop, like playing freeze tag, before I can go on.
Such a moment happened today, and it felt like I was momentarily removed and replaced in my life. I was walking through a store, looking at clothes that I found completely uninteresting and kinda humming to a song playing in the background when I saw the oddest little picture that reminded me so much of one from 25 years ago on a Caribbean island my first husband and I had visited and the enormously fun day it was a part of, and then all of a sudden the lyrics overhead were “I wait patiently for the day you leave my head”…it brought a gasp, a moment of confusion, and then I smiled. I accepted long ago that will never happen. That he will never leave my head, that moments will always exist where he is there with me. I know all the memories, stories, plans and inside jokes will forever be a part of me, and I am at peace with that. I know I can pack them all away neatly and place them on the top closet shelf out of the way, but every now and then they will get bumped and come tumbling down. The difference, between him and me, and now and then, is that when they inevitably fall down I find something amusing among them as I put them back away. No longer do I become angry, frustrated or overwhelmed by the mess. Now I know I simply and calmly place them back on that top shelf labeled “past”. I am comfortable with the part of me they belong to and how they have shaped me.

When you left
you left much behind
for so long
I didn’t have the strength
or care, to clean it all out
now I do.

There is no room in the attic for anger
it must go
The sadness clutters my soul
so I keep it put away
The loneliness for so long was not to my taste
but now, it has become comfortable
so even though I’m not sure what to do with it,
I keep it
just to sit with sometimes

I have decorated now with things that are more ‘me’
forgiveness fits perfect in my home
makes it warm to be in
But what I have gained and enjoy most
is Peace
I have it in every room, always with me

Still, sometimes, there seems to be something missing
and I know it is you
But I continue to go on with my decorating
Knowing one day
I will look around and notice
the void is gone.

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I have some knowledge of the 12 Steps and understand that a key tenant is letting go of resentment. I’m of the belief this is more of an ongoing quest than an actual goal that can be realized. Maybe that is just a reflection of my own inadequacies. But oh the wash of peace when we do conquer an instance resentment. I think by the very nature of being human we have that woven into us. Resentment is so kin to simple wanting, and the nature of wanting to survival. But it is the negative forces we each battle that cross this over into destructiveness of personal psych and relationship. A weak link in security from a macro level to a micro level. So, Peace is the conquerer of resentment just as resentment is the destruction of Peace.
Practice Peace.
~Peace~

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Reducing the Splats

Today I ran up against a wall in my quest for personal peace, fortunately I bounced off and landed on my feet. This has not always been the case. There have been times it has been more of a splat on the wall landing in a heap vs bouncing. I think that is the lesson isn’t it, not how not to ever hit the wall but rather how to handle the impact. Maybe that’s part of what peace really is. It is inevitable that things will rock us off balance sometimes, but it is like learning to walk and gaining strength in our balance…and reducing the ‘splats’!
~Peace~

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