"Anyone that doesn't agree with leggings as pants can physically fight me.
And I'm going to win because I have a full range of motion due to the fact that I am wearing leggings as pants."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day, Grandma Sandy

This is a letter from the lady who thought I could handle this whole parenting thing. (And who I miss very much every single Mother's Day.)





Isn't this what mothers are for, to remind us of the best in ourselves, so that we are encouraged to carry that goodness out into the world and share it?

Thanks for everything you've given me, Mom. I miss you.

(This is me, our mom and Jenny in Kentucky. She liked to put us in matching outfits. She might actually have been a bigger dork than I am.)

Explanatory Notes-
-When I was born, I had meconium aspiration (yep, I breathed my own poo) and had to be in an incubator for awhile.
-Because I was in distress when I was born, they sort of forgot about my mom, who had some issues with the placenta and a tipped uterus and consequently had trouble walking for awhile.
-My parents were divorced.
-My dad and I have always had a... difficult relationship. And my mom was always explaining his side of things to me, trying to get us to work it out. Her comment about him is not a backhanded insult. She really meant it and hoped that we could have a good relationship.
-I do love my dad, we just don't exactly function on the same plane of existence.
-I found this note laying on my pillow after one weekend that my mom had come to visit. It wasn't for any special occasion; it wasn't even May. I was probably 21 at the time.
-I spent all morning looking for the original of this note that my mom wrote on pink paper. I could only find the scrapbooked version that I'd photocopied years and years ago.

Oh yah, Happy Mother's Day to all my fellow moms out there! Remember, it's up to us to make the world better, one kid at a time.



Linda W. said...

Wendy, you're always telling me to post instead of just lurking, so here goes.

Your post about Sandy's ring made me teary eyed, mostly because I remembered that I had given my wedding ring to Melody when she got married (I had inherited another one.), and then it had been stolen in a burglary and was never recovered when she lived in Augusta. So I thought how wonderful it was that you had your mom's ring and how special YOU are for valuing it like you do and having a ritual surrounding it's importance to you.

But this post, about the note from Sandy, made me sob. For one thing, I didn't get to see the teenage/adult version of you and Sandy - you were yet to go into 9th grade when we moved to Georgia, so you were only just leaving the the early adolescent girl stage and entering the difficult years!(But I heard through the grapevine that you were a handful, very stubborn, opinionated and strong-willed!) Secondly, I never really saw that "spiritual side" of Sandy, as that came shortly before we moved. I saw more of the Mother Earth Sandy (very much like the Mother Earth Wendy!). And I was reminded, also, that it was through Sandy that I myself learned how to mother. You were born only a few month's before Melody, but,I watched to see how she did things as a mother. It was after Melody was born that Sandy and I bonded as other than sister-in-laws, becoming first time mother's together. Thirdly, I was patting myself on the back for my role as mother to Melody, and the fact that I've told her almost every day of her almost 35 years how wondrous and special she is, what a blessed gift she has been to my life, and have even put letters with my stuff to be found after I'm gone.

Fourthly, and probably more accurately, this post reminded me in a very gutteral fashion what I missed out on by not having had a mother. (As a reminder, I lived in an orphanage until I was three months old, then was adopted into a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic adopted mother who cared more about the bottle and men than me and who I was taken away from in fourth grade; then I lived with the step-mother from hell who cared more about stomping my evil beginnings out of me than cherishing and teaching me. And then my biological mother had died by the time I found her). Every since I became a mother, I've wished that I had had the kind of mother/daughter relationship that I have with my own daughter, so in a sense I live vicariously through Melody's experience and see through her what it would have been like to have a mother like me!

Yes, it's true that no one has the perfect beginnings or the perfect relationship with those important people in our lives like mothers and fathers, and those mothers and fathers are rarely perfect! And I think that we do tend to try to rewrite our own scripts as adults to fulfill the needs that we had earlier in our lives.

I've had on my refrigerator for about 30 years a little thing that I cut out of a magazine. It says "The love of a family is so uplifting. The warmth of a family is so comforting. The support of a family is so reassuring. The attitude of a family towards each other molds one's attitude forever towards the world."

So, dear Wendy, this comment to your post is to say that I read your post with my heart, that I reacted with my heart, that you led my heart on a journey through my own life. It made my walk my own road and to see what roads I started my own daughter down. The tie to my fridge note is that you have shown that your mother's love, warmth, support, and attitude toward you (and Jenny) has molded your attitude toward the world, has created a wonderful woman and mother in you ... which you, in turn, will pass on to Joey. So Sandy's legacy will go on, and on, and on ....

Happy Mother's Day, Wendy! Love you! Aunt Linda.

Linda W. said...

One other thing about the power of motherhood. When I found my biological family, which included an aunt, four siblings, and extended family, I felt like odd man out when Melody and I went to visit them in Galveston. They all had spent their early years together. They all had known our mother. But one day as we were sitting around the kitchen table of an old grandmotherly type woman who was a close friend of the family, with them all walking down memory lane, I really felt left out. Until she said to me: "Every May 15th, on your birthday, Lillian would sit at this table and cry for the baby she had given away." Well, I was then in my mid 30s, and I went back to the bathroom and cried like a baby, cried for the mother I'd never known. As I was growing up, after I learned that I had been adopted, I invented a story around her, that she was wonderful and loving and if she'd known the road I would end of going down with my adopted parents she would never have given me away! On my birthday I would wonder if she remembered me and yearned for me as I yearned for her. And now I knew. She HAD remembered, she HAD yearned for me. She was an alcoholic slut, just like my adopted mother, but she had remembered me and missed me! That meant the world to me. And when I received a photo of her, one of only two that existed, I would, and still do, stare into her eyes for minutes at a time, looking for recognition ... which, of course, wasn't there, but I enjoyed imaging that it was! Mothers. Just the word conjures up all kinds of images for just about everyone. Not all good images. But images that we feel to the very core of our beings.

Jeez, Wendy. You really opened a floodgate with me!

Kathi D said...

What a lovely tribute. And Linda W., you made me cry too (not a bad thing).

Thank you.

Wendy said...

Linda, wow, when you de-lurk you really de-lurk!

Thank you for sharing so much of yourself here. I know your history and I can see how Mother's Day would be a bittersweet holiday for you- the craziness and loss in your past coupled with your joy at being a mother and grandmother (by the way, kiss those two boys for me). I, myself, have sat at many baby showers, watching the happiness in the soon-to-be grandmas and felt exceedingly lonely, wishing that my mom could have held her grandkids, just once. I feel I've traveled a long road. I've moved to a place in which that experience doesn't sting, to a place in which I know, really know in my heart, that everything that has happened in my life, the good and the bad (I think, especially the bad) has made me exactly the person I am. And although I would change certain events if I could, I can't, so I might as well appreciate the outcome, the fact that I'm comfortable in my own skin and am surrounded by those I love- whether we're all in the same state or not. :)

I am so glad that this was a meaningful post for you. You were actually one of the people I was thinking of when I wrote this, since I know you shared that initial 'mothering' time with my mom.

You reminded me how lucky I am to be part of this big, loving family of ours. To me, family is a much bigger concept than just people with similar DNA. I have many friends who I consider family, simply because when we're together it feels like home, comforting and reassuring, like you said.

Happy Mother's Day, Linda. I love you too!

Jeff said...

"But I heard through the grapevine that you were a handful, very stubborn, opinionated and strong-willed!"

Thank god she's not like that anymore! ;P

Angeleen said...

There is no mystery as to where you acquired your Beauty, Wendy.

Thank you so much for sharing such an intimate expression of Love.


Happy Mothers Day, Dear One.

Mysti said...

Oh good heavens! Where's my Kleenex? And Linda W. - words can not express how moving your comment is.... As a newbie to reading this blog , it is apparent how loved the wonderful author is. To think I live in the same town with such a lady. :)

CindyW said...

Wow. You are SO lucky to have a mom that wrote such a loving note to you. The power of letters, I will try to remember that.

Wendy said...

Mysti, I really hope that last sentence of yours was tongue in cheek. I am not this fabulous of a person. Don't get me wrong; I think I'm a good person. It's just that my mom saw me that way. Really, she saw all of us this way.

The thing that my mom believed was that in the core of every person is a perfect, radiant being. Many religions have names for it... Christ Consciousness, Buddha Nature, but all means the same thing. Every person is this way, no matter what. And if you squint just right, you can always find it.

I think it's important to look for that in your loved ones and to let them know when you see it. I guess that was the point of this post- not just to point out how fantastic I am. ;)

Wendy said...

Oh yah, I meant to mention that I think Jeff's comment shows just how well he knows me.

Though, it's totally inappropriate. :P