Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mommy Dearest

So ... I have issues with Mother's Day.

Call it latent angst from my shriveling eggs realizing that they'll never earn that magic ride to the castle and chance at immortality by passing on some amazing freakin' genes.

Call it a massive left-over guilt trip of having been a soccer mom step-mom only to have it ripped away then gradually losing touch with a now 21 year old young man whose diapers I once changed.  [Thank God and his common sense that he has found a job he enjoys and is making his own way in life (while wisely loving geek movies and books along the way).]

Call it that middle-aged recognition that my Mom is a real person with human weaknesses and that we might have very VERY different ideas about life, love, values, music, movies, hobbies, fun, morals, ... just about everything.

 ... like whether the 's' in Illinois is silent. 

                                                     [YES ... IT IS.]

... like whether davenport and couch mean the same thing; or toilet and stool; or dinner and supper or lunch.      


... like whether she should ever say the words "moist' or "ripe" ever EVER again. 


I digress.


Mother's Day rolls around each year and I'm faced with a combination of gratitude for those "mothers" in my life, including Mom, and jealousy over that important part of life of which I've only had a small taste.  I'm at "that age" now ... again with the shriveling vision ... the age at which that possibility is pretty much, well, gone

I'll never have my young Jasper or Kimber (oh, yeah ... I HAD names picked out).  I'll never have that small person who looks to me as "Mom" and seeks out my advice.  My step-son, my niece and nephews all have moms of their own.  I'm left with "Kimmie" or "Aunt Kimmie." 

Now, having an Aunt Berb and Pam of my own, I know very well that the "aunt" and "step-mom" role can at times be a role just as important as mom.  Sometimes, we have adults in our life who have played the "like a mom" role and will forever receive Mother's Day recognition whether they have given birth or not.  It's about sharing knowledge, listening, and love.  I DO get that.

On Mother's Day, though, it's never quite enough.

I wish it was; really, I do.  I wish I could write the inspiring - "I may not be a Mom but I'm an aunt and that's enough" - post where I spew thoughts of "it's enough to be a part of their lives" and "it takes a village ... as long as the hooker, drunk, and crime lord are already locked up" but ... the truth is that while I might understand the important role I can have in the lives of my loved younguns, it is impossible for me to believe that it is the same.  Important, but not the same.

                             Eh, I know. That's just me having a mother-hugging pity party

I get through this particular May Day each year by focusing on celebrating my Moms - My Mom, my step-mom, my aunt, my sisters, my sister-in-law, my friends, pretty much every female who loves and accepts me for who I am while advising me on life.

                      And/or spending a few days volunteering at the zoo.
       That, more than anything else, typically cures me of any desire to give birth. 

So, power to the mothers of the world.  Relish those young hugs, kisses, and cries of "Mommy!"  You are one of the most important people in a person's life - from birth to adulthood, you will help shape a personality.  You give confidence.  You give courage.  You give hope.  You give support, knowledge, and love. 

Happy Mother's Day this Sunday to the mothers in my life and yours.  Salute!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Grass Always LOOKS Greener ...

... on the other side.

The other side.  Insert whatever you don't have that you've wanted ... or thought you wanted. 

The big "E" for envy. 

I have a perfect example from my own life.  Once upon a time ... in a f***ed up life .... long, long ago, I was married.

I KNOW; it defies logic.  Me. Married.

Vows and all.  You know ... the whole "love, honor, cherish (you really don't think I'd "obey" anyone, did you) until death (or realization of a horrible mistake) do you part."  Yep.  For nine


years, I was a woman with a different last name.

[Sidenote: Don't ever change your last name unless you give birth.  It's a BITCH to change back (Paypal still calls me the wrong name) and, honestly, there's no need unless you want to share a name with your child.  In my REALLY bitter opinion. I digress.  So so much.]

Back then, I was married and living with my husband and step-son.  I worked full-time and, later, went to law school while being the soccer mom persona, transporting the young lad to, well, soccer, and football, and scouts, etc.  Making dinner for the youngster after school.

I KNOW; it defies logic.  Me.  Cooking DAILY.

Granted, the menu included Hamburger Helper, Banquet Helper, pretty much anything with "helper" in the title, as well as that blessed, blessed, Kraft Mac n Cheese, but there is a certain amount of pride associated with your stepson occasionally preferring your "food" to the gourmet shit put together by your chef husband. 

[Give me a moment to reminisce a normal kid wanting Kraft rather than whatever the hell cheese put together by someone who thought they knew better. Bwuhahahaha.  Wow, I've got to stop digressing.]

I had a family.  I'd chosen someone to be mine forever and got a stepson in the bargain (I still claim him, BTW), and was living the married life.

I also had/have among my bestest buddies, a college friend who, at that time, was living the single life.  She was working full-time, renting an apartment, and, WOW, her home stayed clean when she cleaned it!  She did what she wanted, when she wanted.  She answered only to herself.  If she wanted a night in alone ... boom.  If she wanted to go out to eat with friends ... boom.  Done. 

Did I mentioned that her place stayed CLEAN when she cleaned it?? 

I missed solitude.  I missed the freedom.

I was envious.  The grass seemed rather greener on that side of the street. 

But, see, I knew my friend, and I knew that all she wanted in the world was love.  She wanted desperately to find the person with whom she was meant to be.  She wanted her prince.  Her lover.  Her husband.  Her family.  To her, she wanted what I had ... well, not exactly what I had, I do give her credit for recognizing a flawed union, but she wanted a marriage and family life.


Flash forward over a decade.  Let's take stock.


I.... wow.   I LITERALLY (and I'm using the term correctly) just realized that I have been divorced TEN years TODAY.  April 9, 2004 (which was Good Friday, I believe, in SO many ways), I went to Court in Allegan and put the necessary words on record, filed my divorce order, and went immediately to the Secretary of State to get a new license.  I also mailed in my necessary change of name documents.  Bam.

I was me again.  Except on Paypal.  Sonsabitches.

I'm single again.  I have my apartment exactly the way I want it.  It stays clean (or dirty) because of me.  There are no milk rings on the counter LITERALLY A FOOT AWAY FROM THE GARBAGE.  No beer caps in the silverware drawer ('cause that's where the opener is) and no men's socks, rock hard and nearly moving on their own volition (ala the mother's goo on Better Off Dead).  I'm free.  I do what I want when I want, watch what I want when I want, go where I want when I want.  Free.

And, occasionally really fucking lonely. 

My friend?  Oh, she's married.  She has twins - a perfect little girl and boy -  and is expecting her third.  She loves and admires ... respects ... her husband.  She's a total Mom with a capital "M" and is excellent at it.  But I'm willing to bet that - although she'd never want to give up her current life - there are times that she wishes for a bit of freedom, a go where when you want bit of time. 

We, in a very general sense, switched places.  Granted, I know she did the "M" word the right way and not my way, but she's now married and I'm single where I had been married and she had been single. 

And there are days now that the grass looks luscious on the other side.  I imagine a best friend, lover, husband ... the face always escapes me though ... and we're happy.  I'm again in a partnership but I'm happy.  Of course, I wouldn't be quite as free.  I'd be a partner in every way and needing to take another's schedule and likes into account.  But still ...

Wanting other things .... even a bit of envy of what others have ... can be healthy.  Only a bit.  That bit that keeps us working towards our goals, keeping a hope of greater things alive.  That's healthy.  The problem comes when that desire overshadows what we have. 

It's good to want things.  It's just not good to let that want blind us to all of the good things that we have in life already.  I don't have a husband.  I've never given birth (and a hearty "shut the hell up" to those who just thought "thank goodness" to that).  But I have the best family (in my humble opinion), best siblings, best friends, a kick-ass job working with smart, witty, white-hat-wearing people, the best bosses, flexible hours, a home just the way I want it (and changeable if I don't), and my freedom.

My grass is a fine Emerald City green, my friend.  I might think lawns on the other side of the fence look green at times but I know that my own yard is pretty spectacular.

Take a look around your own.  Note the things you have that you sometimes overlook because you're wishing for something else, something more. 

Take a total cliche moment and smell the roses.  It does a body (and soul) good.