Friday, May 8, 2009

A note for my daughters...

...on Mother's Day. (and I suspect that some other Mothers, flesh and blood or heart-Mothers, may relate to my sentiments)

mother: 1. A woman who conceives, gives birth to, or raises and nurtures a child.
"On" being "topic", versus the actual day... It's a lovely Friday morning. One of you is at school--one of you is asleep (of course!--who do you take after, I wonder?). I've thought of some things, over the past few months, that I have wanted to impart to you. Sometimes these thoughts occur when I am incredibly frustrated--sometimes they smack me in the noggin when I stumble across some drivel or another in a novel or a specific quote...

Some too, are when I check on you, just before I finally go to sleep. I always go to sleep last, you know....and I think I just have to check on both of you, bless you, touch your hair and get close enough to feel your warm breath before I can sleep myself. (By the by, I might break my leg at two in the morning since Chloe's on the top bunk now! The checking, blessing, etc. is mighty hard to do when you're 4'11" and terribly un-coordinated.)

Anywho--here's some thoughts from me, your Mom, and a few things I want us all to remember as the years go by.

1--I will make, and have made, mistakes. You will too. When that happens, we can embrace forgiveness or embrace resentment. Please remember, you always have that choice in your life, no matter the person or situation.

2--To Chloe: I will never forget the evening that your pink poodle hooded sweatshirt saved your life. I don't know if there's been a worse moment, grabbing the 1/2" of fabric just in time to jerk you back from heavy traffic. When I suddenly hug you as if I'll never, ever, let go--I'm probably thinking of this moment. It was actually worse than when Magdalen decided to be a robot and covered her head in duct tape (I know that you two far, you have "the worst moment"....and Mags finally has eyebrows again, for the moment.) I cannot imagine what I would do without my daughter who has "shown me the angels."

3--To Magdalen: I am so glad we both lived through your birth--I inadvertently received our medical records in the mail when you were about a year old?....I had no idea how "lucky" we were. And yes, even when Dad's been away for 16+ hours, when I'm bone-tired and you're incredibly naughty--and unrepentant--...when you glue things to things, find duct tape, make "soup", steal your sister's stuff (where is her pink ipod, missie?!), when you steal my stuff, steal dad's stuff...when you cut things into absolute ribbons that you should not (like curtains, or your hair--who will forget the "half-a-mullet", spring 2008?!). I'm still glad we made it--for you and me. You keep my body and my heart agile, and alive, in so many ways.

4--Be nice. And courteous. I'm not kidding here...the world would be a different place if we all woke up and thought--"Just for kicks...I think I'll be kind today."

5--This is a good one--and it's been passed along, from Gramma. When you're tempted to gossip...which can sometimes "creep into" a the words you're just longing to say through this "filter": Is it kind? (see #4) Is it true? (if it's not, then you're lying AND gossiping.) Is it necessary? (why do you have to say it? If the world can keep spinning without your saying "it", then you don't need to say "it".)

6--The world will not stop spinning... Okay, it probably could, I suppose (though I myself think it will just blow up someday). If the world does stop spinning, you probably won't realize it--or you won't for very long. So, you've no excuse to not heed #5. I have to heed #5 as well.

7--I honestly don't care about your grades in school. Or, rather, there's a lot of things that are a bit of a "higher priority". Mark Twain said: "I have never let schooling interfere with my education." I whole-heartedly embrace this notion of Mark's...I do care that you educate'll never, ever, regret learning. But no, you don't have to pay anyone or visit a classroom to learn. However, should I find myself paying for you to visit a specific classroom, you'd darn well better go! (Just ask Papa.)

8--Mark Twain is always right. I don't know why that is? It's almost creepy. Okay--it is creepy. But true. If you can't speak with me or your father directly, please consult Mr. Twain, with one exception--the legal age for drinking always trumps whatever Mr. Twain has to say on that topic. It's physiological, that age. (Yeah, yeah...I know you won't listen. But I had to say it. I'm your Mom.)

9--Learn one thing everyday. Sometimes, your "lesson" will be intentional--something you specifically wished to learn. But you know what the most powerful lessons are? The ones that keep you up at night. Those aren't worries or heartaches or regrets, my sweet girls--those are lessons. And they're usually free.

10--A "mother" in your life isn't always going to be just me, your Mom (and I'll try to choke down my jealousy). Please keep your eyes peeled for other "mothers"...these are your "heart-mothers". I have 2 Aunts (yes, I still have Judy), 1 crazy friend in Ohio, and 1 dear, sweet, friend from years ago, 2 sponsors, 4 teachers--all are excellent mothers, and have mothered me, in addition to own Mom. All have taught me useful "lessons", most have held me while I sobbed (even over the phone), all have rescued me from myself when necessary, and all have celebrated joy and blessing with me...and too, some have held on tight when I refused to rescue myself. That's a mom for you!

11--I really, of course, wish I did not have to even think about #11....but. Mistakes are, most often, like dominoes. At the very least they seem to come in pairs. However, a lot of times, certain mistakes can be avoided. And I'll tell you how to avoid some "biggies". Use a condom. Call for a ride. While, of course, I don't want to imagine you having to take either precaution...well. The world's a different place for you than it ever was for me--and it was still quite a world when I was a teenager. And too--you don't have to call me for a ride...remember you've kept your eyes peeled for those other "mothers"? If Grandpa Chapman can "be cool" when the cops bring someone home--in quite a state and wreaking of booze--if Harold can manage that--can be kind and loving and concerned (and NOT die of a heart attack!), then surely I can too. Please keep in mind, even with the various modes of transportation and precautions, you will still be in serious trouble.

12--Should you ever find yourself at a "place" in your life where it seems you have no personal dignity left, not one shred or pretense--you need to pay attention to that. And act upon it. Sadly, I--nor anyone else--will be able to "tell you" when you've reached that place without dignity.... I mean, sure I could tell you, but you won't give me any merit whatsoever in this "department of dignity". You'll have to figure that one out for yourself. When you do, I am here.

13--Do you remember when we watched Coraline together? You two loved it...and of course, I did too. But I think it's the "scariest" movie I've ever seen. I can only hope that I know about all of the little "doors" in our home and in your lives (and some of them, I do)--I hope, that if you must enter them, you'll at least let me hold your hand and walk through with you? And don't always assume doors have keys. Some "doors" are funny that way, and they might even trick you a can lock a door behind you, sometimes, and have no idea you've done so. (Chloe, you will understand this especially as we spent about an hour+ on the front porch the other day....waiting for Dad and his keys....good "teaching moment", eh?)

14--I'm always right. Okay, heart is always right. So that's why you can't do a staggering variety of dangerous things, read the books that I do (Grandma doesn't like me reading them either!), watch whatever you want, browse the web, etc. etc. Yes, I know it stinks. Too bad. Too bad for you and your sweet little girl hearts and brains. i.e., you will not be able to read this blog entry (#11)--but someday you may, if you like.

15--My High School speech coach gave me a little quote book when I graduated? (one of those "other mothers"...) She'd "marked" advice specifically for of the highlighted advisements: Love someone who doesn't deserve it. This kind of goes back to #4...please, just "love". It's not something, "love" that is, that should remotely resemble a little scale with weights and numbers...ever. In example, there's not a number in this world that's big enough to describe how much I love you. See? I am always right.

16--It's funny...when you were babies, I could just about "fix" anything that was wrong...except you couldn't really "tell me", specifically what some of your troubles were.... As you grow older, as you are able to talk--heaven knows!--you're able to "tell Mom all about it"...and I can still fix a few things--quite a few, really. But the older you grow, the less I can fix, yet the more I can understand completely what you need. I don't know why that is...seems unfair. But I will try, I promise you that. And when I'm not nearby to "fix"? Well--I'll try to make sure I've equipped you with the tools you need to remedy what ills of this life that you can.

17--Be nice to your sister. Both of you. You do and will infuriate each other, compete, fight, love, and--finally--NEED each other.

18--This is all for now. You may read it when you're 22 (at least).

your mom

Since Chloe was born, I have kept an informal "mother's journal" of sorts...some of these thoughts are new, some are old...

I hope each of you has a loverly Mother's Day, one way or another, and try to let just a few of you "mothers" know how they're cherished...



Sherry said...

A most beautiful writing and one I FINALLY understand!!!!!
Tis a TRUE Honor to be thought of by you as "another mom"!!!!
BUT please,Crazy friend in Ohio????
HMMFF,have YOU ever tried to mother YOU??????

AND Remember YOU are a VERY GOOD MOM to those 2 Sweeties who test your patience to the nth degree almost on a daily basis.
Like Mother like Daughters LOL?????
I have been present for a lot of those things you wrote about and even though they were through the phone lines,I remember and could laugh like crazy,cause I already put my time in for things like that!!
LUV YA!!!!!!
Crazy Friend in Ohio also known as The Queen
(who always knows!!!)

Lana said...

Oh Meg, what a beautiful Mother's Day gift...I hope they do read it someday. The sentiments are wonderful and the pictures are just lovely!
I hope you had a beautiful Mother's Day filled with joy and laughter, and health and happiness.
My son called me from school, he attends Auburn University, and my daughter and I spent the entire day at an Art Market in Chattanooga, Tennessee...a wonderful day. Then when we got home, I went and spent the evening with my Mother. She is 84 years young and just beautiful. It was the perfect day for me.
I hope everyone had a perfect day too.
Lana Richey, Scottsboro, Alabama