(This post appeared originally on Montana Women Writers)
I lost my mother thirteen years ago, and my oldest daughter is about ready to graduate from high school. Mother’s Day has never felt more precious to me than it does this year.
Mothering is a complicated business. The day-to-day of it can range from mildly irritating to “I want to run screaming out of this house.” And those are some of the good days.
But the great days… ah, the great days. They will make your life.
My mother certainly gave me mine. My drive, my focus, my anxieties, my arranging flowers from the garden, all gifts from my mother. And, of course, she taught me how to be a mother in the same way I’ve taught my daughters, who have made their own internal list of what they will repeat and what they will do TOTALLY differently.
What is so particularly sweet about Mother’s Day this year, is the understanding that my full-time job, which I have done with all that I am, is about to be a part-time job at best. To be accurate, the hours have been diminishing for some time now. My girls, 18 and 15, have their own lives in addition to the one we share as a family. But while my hours as Mom have been cut, I’ve been bringing the same level of energy, heart, worry, and enthusiasm to the business of it.
The shift I’ve been gearing up for is the same one my mother had to make. What will our relationship look like when we get to define it ourselves? When the days of signing permission slips and sending lunch money are in the rear view mirror, what’s ahead on the highway?
For my lovely, funny, energetic Ava, there is an entire lifetime ahead with all the joy and complexity the world offers.
For me? I’m old enough to know that I don’t know. But my wish is to hold this Mother’s Day close to my heart and to know that every day after is just as precious.
Happy Mother’s Day
My Black Friday does not consist of standing in a freezing parking lot around a dumpster fire and waiting for a store to open so I can get a TV bigger than my house for $19.99.
I’m not immune to the stampede.
I did once stand outside a Best Buy for several hours in the pre-dawn cold to buy a camera. It was more fun than it sounds. I felt, in fact, like I’d taken down some wild game and brought it back to feed the family. Really, it was a sense of hunting victory.
But mostly what I like to do on Black Friday, is run around with my girls. Sometimes the girls include my sisters, nieces, and daughters. Mostly, though, it’s my daughters and their friends. Since most moms don’t volunteer the van for early morning shopping with kids, my daughters have plenty of friends who have never shopped the day after Thanksgiving before.
So, to make it festive, we have a couple of traditions:
1. My husband makes a Christmas mix CD that is waiting for us in the car the morning of the 29th.
This is no ordinary mix. He’s got the tastes of a 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 + year old. You never know what he’s going to throw in there. A classic will be quickly followed by something heard only on a college radio station. (I’ll give you the list in December).
2. Big expensive coffee drinks are allowed.
I’m pretty frugal. I’m also a less is more kind of gal when it comes to consumption (except office supplies). My girls are used to travel mugs with caffeine from home and the occasional purchased latte that can never exceed 12 ounces because “nobody needs more than 12 ounces of sugar.” Black Friday? 16 ounces, baby!
3. Nobody needs to buy anything.
If you have something you absolutely need or you can’t go on, the whole outing feels stressful. Wander with the crowds, enjoy the long lines. You can get in them or not. It’s all good.
4. Stop for breakfast.
Again, there are no limits on carbohydrates.
5. Nap. (See the note about all the carbohydrates).
6. Get back out there if you want to or call it a day and watch “White Christmas.”
Happy Holiday Shopping!
Today I’m giving thanks, not for my whole life, (which I am very, very grateful for) but for my life as a reader.
Yes, I am thankful to be a reader because:
1. I’ve gotten to travel the world without leaving home.
2. I’ve met and lived vicariously through a thousand interesting characters.
3. I’ve learned things about life from experiencing the life of stories.
4. In countless books, I’ve laughed and cried and been delightfully surprised bycharacters, plots, and the writing itself.
5. At times when I’ve needed escape (a little bit every day!) I’ve had a passport to somewhere else.
6. When I needed company, a book was right there beside me, waiting to be opened.
7. Books have fed my hamster wheel brain, and kept me learning and growing.
8. Some of my sweetest childhood memories involve sitting with a beloved grown-up and a book.
9. Learning to read was a stellar event, one I do not take for granted and wish for everyone.
10. I have found a home in books and made myself at home writing them.
Happily grateful and wishing you the very best season of giving thanks!
Filed away editing project until Dec. 1? Check
Cleared desk? Check
Cleaned keyboard with Qtip? Check. I know, that’s verging on procrasination. Verging?!
Fired up Scrivener (I’m a newbie) and knocked out 2,064 words?
CHECK, CHECK, CHECK!
And because I mentioned dressing up for Halloween yesterday… Here’s the couple costume with my brave husband:
Happy Halloween from “Ozzie” and Harriet
Kathy’s Top 10 for JULY…
In honor of the 4th of July, I think a few acts of independence can be as beautiful as fireworks. In fact, nearly all the definitions of independence make me feel like celebrating…
“Not affiliated with a larger controlling unit.” Yikes, I’ll take some freedom from a larger controlling unit.
“Not requiring or relying on something or somebody else.”
Now, I’m all for the wonderful connections in life, but sometimes it’s good to take things on solo too.
“Not easily influenced.” We talk endlessly about peer pressure and teens, but hello? Teens haven’t cornered the market on peer pressure/social pressure or airbrushed magazine pressure.
10 Ways to Declare Your Independence…
10. Learn to say No to whatever you want to say No to. You get to decide. Practice it in front of a mirror. You can smile when you do it, but you can’t apologize.
9. Get in your car. Turn on the A.C. and your favorite song. Don’t go anywhere.
8. You know that thing you love and never wear? Wear it.
7. You know that thing you love to do and never do it? Do it.
6. What’s the magic word you’re going to use to free up some time and energy? Yep, it’s No.
5. The task you normally delegate to others (it could be balancing the checkbook because you’re “not good at math” or painting because you’re “not creative.”) Give it a try!
4. The task you do that you need a break from (I could pick nearly every household chore…) hand that gem off to somebody else.
3. Pick an area of your home and make it 100% yours. It could be a chair you read in, a nightstand you keep a vase of flowers on, or a shelf with your favorite things arranged just for you. Claim it and enjoy it.
2. If the previous suggestions made you a little nervous, take a baby step first. You know the “put stamp here” on an envelope? Put it to the left of that.
1. Enjoy a fireworks display and remember all the beauty and magic you see across the sky comes from nothing but ordinary ingredients and a spark.
It’s Spring break time at my house. And while I imagine this in my head…
I am marooned here for a quiet week of sun and reading (not necessarily in that order.)
In fact, my Spring Break starts with a…
Luckily for me, the van is headed to Portland, home of Powell’s Bookstore! I may not have the tropical beach, but I will definitely have the books.
Now, it’s true I am an e-book author and love my Kindle a lot, but I also read old-school :) I’ll post some trip pictures on Facebook so hop on over and join the conversation! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kathy-Dunnehoff/100342156725545?ref=hl
Meanwhile, Happy e-Reading & paperback reading too!