May 21, 2010

Letting go...

Worry.  The one word every mother knows.  I don't think there is one day in a mother's life that she at one moment or other has gone without it. Thing Two has had me worried these last two months.  This month marked Thing Two's 16th month of life. She is 2 months shy of reaching the fabulous year and a half mark.  My worry?  Simple, she wasn't walking.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm sure it's not physical.  The girl get's around with the help of furniture, walls, hands but she simply hasn't been able to let go and venture on her own.

Thing One, first born, he had me worried too around this age.  All the other children in his Gymboree class were walking on or before their first birthdays.  I kept reading and wondering when the magic moment would happen and then a week after his 14th month, BAM! Yes he was walking.  So I figured Thing Two might be walking a little later, no problem.  So after month 15 passed I started to go over in my head all of the things that could possibly be why she wasn't walking. Was she scared? Was it physical?  Was it neuroligical? So my mind going a million miles a minute probably was the best thing to do.  For the next month I observed Thing Two closely, every step, every movements.  I tried to encourage her a time or two to let go. 

Thing Two had other ideas.  When I would try to let go of the chubby little hand I could feel the forceful Kung Fu grip on my finger. I even said "Let Go baby!" Okay Thing Two hold on a little longer to mommy.  Inside I was holding on tightly as well. Worry, worry, worry! I think when I worry I manifest it physically as well.  I have had stomach pains and headaches all month.  I am sure there were other factors, but my biggest worry is my children's health and welfare. 

Mami even began to tell me "Ten Fe" (have faith).  I could see the worry in her face as well.  Mami as always has put her faith in her saints and her Catholic beliefs.  So yes Thing Two was in her prayers every night, please let her "Let Go" and walk. Sunday evening rolled around and Thing Two was sitting on her little sofa and playing with her Dora doll.  She tossed her doll a distance and stood up.  No big deal, she does that always.  What came next was more exciting than a rollercoaster!  One, Two, Three, Four steps!  I must have scared her when I yelled Go! Go! Go! She stopped. 

Relief and joy was the overwhelming feeling I felt.  I called Mami over and said, your prayers were answered she "Let Go!".  Mami just smiled and said "It was for you, not for her".  One moment, one joy, and yes I learned to let go and stop worrying so much.  Everything in due time.  Lesson learned Mami, I will loosen my Kung Fu grip.

May 14, 2010

Love Notes

Today was a somber day.  I went to the funeral of my co-worker's husband. He was only 45 and she is a widow at 44.  The thing that got to me was that the daughter he left behind is 15, just 3 years older than I was when I lost Sarge. It was from the same disease as well . Cirrhosis of the liver, a very vicious ailment that takes lives.  I think that is why it hit me so hard.  I remembered Sarge and I was back to being that 12 year old that didn't understand why this had happened.  I could explain it in a concrete manner, but never as an emotional entity. 

I had some great moments with Sarge in the brief 12 years I had him.  Sarge was able to share a lot with me then, even as a child he never spoke to me as if I was a child.  He was my best friend in the whole world.  Not a lot of people can say that about a father.  I somehow have felt along the way that I was never really able to completely full fill that relationship with him as an adult.  I was a pretty bright child, but still the complexities that are of an adult certainly are a vast difference.  Mami would tell me stories of him that I never knew and sometimes I can connect with him as an adult that way.  I still have emptiness in that department.  What was Sarge really like?  I mean besides all the nice things that people say about him, I would like to have known his real thoughts, fears, anxieties.  Even the things that may not have been so nice about him, I wanted to know.  Mami has saved some things of his in the garage, so I went snooping one day.  I found a poem that he wrote about his fears of impending death and how that would affect me and Mami.  It was eye opening and I searched for more.

Finding these notes in his own writing always made me feel comforted, closer, connected to Sarge.  I thought so much of him when I was pregnant with Thing One and Thing Two.  I even thought of my own mortality and how much that would effect the Things.  What if it happened early and they were young?  Would they know me? Do I want them to know me?  What should I say to them?  How do I go about it? 

Journal writing has always been a comfort for me so I figured these would be left for them to know me.  I have things I wrote right after Sarge passed, boy crushes, first kisses, depression, happiness, marriage, infertility problems, miscarriage, fights, boyfriends, divorce, broken hearts, anger.  Should I censor it?  I don't think so.  I want them to know I had flaws and I made mistakes.  I want them to know I was loving and crazy.  I want them to know that I was a human being and I loved them like no one else in this world and that I feared some days more than others for them.

I think it's important for me to let them know that they too will make mistakes and I will understand them, no matter what distance we have between them.  Whether that be miles or dimensions. 

For my two babies, Mommy wrote you a letter when she was pregnant with you to open on your 18th birthday.  If I am no longer with you, please make sure to read it and do the same with your children.  You will never know the day you will want to know all about your parents. 

Love Notes are forever. :)

May 7, 2010

Taming Mother Bear

Mother Bear, yes Mother Bear.  She is the instinctual part of a mother that lashes out to protect her cubs.  I think I have always had it, but never knew how much it would effect me and how much I would learn from having to protect my own cubs.
Over the weekend my cousin invited us over to celebrate her husband's birthday.  Most of her side of the family was there as well as her husband's parents and brother-in-law and nephew and niece.  The nephew, I will call "smarty pants", is a few months older than Thing One.  I thought "Great!, a playmate for Thing One".  I realize that at Two, Thing One is starting to socialize with other children but still doing parallel play which is fine.  He does pretty well with other children and really put no thought behind introducing him to Smarty Pants.

Smarty Pants proved to be a handful.  He stuck his tongue out at Thing One and Thing One just looked at him perplexed.  He looked at me and continued on playing with me in the pool, which was good because I knew he wasn't going to put much attention to this little boy who was obviously not ready to socialize with him.  What ensued next was what got me fired up inside.  Thing One was playing with a car that was left pool side. Smarty Pants came across from the other side and immediately yanked the car out of Thing One's hand and said "NO MINE!".  Thing One was a little upset at this point and looked at me with eyes like "Did you see that?!?!"  It took everything out of me not to say something, but I thought it might be possible that this toy was his, so I let it go and just explained to Thing One that Smarty Pants just wasn't quite done playing with that toy. 

Over the next few hours Smarty Pants managed to pull every toy away from Thing One's hand that he would pick up, even the one's that were not his.  I was annoyed and so was Thing One.  I had such a strong desire to just say "STOP IT SMARTY PANTS! YOU LITTLE BRAT!", but I stopped myself.  What I didn't tell you was that Smarty Pants lost his mother to breast cancer a few months ago.  I stopped and thought what would his Mom want for him?  What would she do? 

As a mother you want to protect your children, you want them to be safe.  You also want to teach your children that grace under fire is best and that they can empower themselves to be able to handle conflict independent from Mom.  I think that becoming a mom I have put myself many times in the shoes of other moms when I see them struggling with a child. I often empathize with the mom who is alone with a toddler who is throwing a screaming fit in the middle of the store.  I know what that is like now, the frustration, the fear, the OMG factor.  I can relate to all of that, it makes me a little bit more patient not just with Mother's and children,  but with people in general.  I put the WWTMD?  (What Would Their Mother Do?)theory in my head. 

What became of the scrap with Smarty Pants and Thing One?  Thing One kicked him at one point when he had had just about enough of Smarty Pants pulling things away from his hands.  I stopped Thing One and said "Don't hit" (in my head I ended it with "that gently").  I then told him to tell Smarty Pants that he wasn't done playing with the toy.  I empowered my son, great learning moment for him.  I then turned to Smarty Pants and said "He isn't done with this, but we can look for something else for you to play with".  I'm sure his Mom in heaven would have said the same thing. 

What can I say?  I tamed the Momma Bear into a sweet little bear with a soft spot. :)
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