Oh, Mom…..

As the dust settles from our very emotional holiday season, and I find my home life has fallen back into its routine. Everyone seems to be getting along, happy to be back to our normal. My daughter and I are finding our way again and it all feels perfect.

See, here’s the thing, my own childhood was very unconventional. My mother worked full time at Universal Studios which was an hour commute both ways. Her 10 hour work days plus commute time didn’t leave much time for her kids. My brother and I had our dad, our maternal grandmother, and of course each other. At the time that was my normal. It wasn’t until I was older did I realize how much I missed having a relationship with my mother, and all the things a mother teaches her daughter.

20 weeks pregnant and I have the ultrasound that determines just about everything including the sex of the child. When the ultrasound technician asked me if I wanted to know the sex of my baby I said yes because I had already decided that I was having a boy.

Well no, no I wasn’t…. I was having a girl. I cried immediately because I thought….. How am I going to do this? My mother didn’t prepare me for life, and certainly not motherhood. My relationship with her was ass-backward, but that’s ok, I thought. I can do this. (Now let me interject by saying that God is good and very smart because the way our lives turned out, there is NO WAY I could have raised a boy alone). At the time, I didn’t realize I was about to be a single parent. But several months later, I was and then I thanked God once again for knowing more than me.

Raising my daughter was a piece of cake up until recently. I just loved her the best I could and took the advice of other moms who did know better. Everything I needed to know I somehow did. Most of the time, my instincts just carried me through. I did then, and still do love our relationship. It could have gone south so many times, but I was determined to be a better mom. To be present, loving, and be there when she needed me most.

As my daughter got older and we started to experience the joy of amusement parks I decided to take her to Universal Studios. I hadn’t been there in years since my mom retired to then be a stay home mom (I was already out of the house). I booked a hotel for us and we did my favorite type of commuting (the train/subway) which dropped us off right at the park and hotel. We had a great time (we always do), but I couldn’t help feeling resentful of this theme park for taking my mothers time and attention for all those years.

So I had an idea, bring Mom back to the place where she spent the majority of my childhood and maybe just maybe she will have a moment of regret, or sadness, or something. I guess I really wanted her to see what she chose over my brother and me. Ok, not the best intentions on my part but I felt the need for closure. Or maybe, it was some type of validation, at least an understanding of the impact this place had on my life.

So the three of us took the train, then the subway and the shuttle to the suite I booked for us at the Universal hotel. We had a beautiful room and it was on the fancy floor that had a clubhouse where we could get free food around the clock. I love hotels so that was enough for me, well almost.

We hung out at City Walk on Saturday and had plans to visit the park the next day. As the park opened Sunday morning and we went in I could see her face filled with wonder and excitement. I pouted, as she relived memories that only she knew, then proceeded to educate my daughter on how much the park had changed. Hmmmm, my plan wasn’t going as I thought…okay, well might as well make the most of it.

One of my favorite rides is the Mummy so off my mini me and I went with plans to catch up with my mom after. Surely she would take this time to reflect on her life there and maybe have some regret?

After riding the Mummy ride two times back to back my phone rings and it’s my Mom “come to the lower level museum, hurry” So we run over to find my mother taking pictures with tourists… I’m thinking what the hell, as she points to a collage of pictures on the wall. There, hung pictures of the first years of Universal Studios, and they were all of HER! The first of many of her positions was one of the very first tour guides, she was promoted quickly to doing private tours to the stars.

Once she found the pictures, she began to tell all the people around her that the girl in the picture was her and they, of course, wanted to take selfies with the lady on the wall. I sat there speechless and then just laughed. My mother was in all her glory cheesing for the camera and then asking that I send my brother the pics that caused all the excitement. Shit.

Lesson learned: don’t ever try to create an agenda that you hope will produce a specific reaction out of someone else. I know my intentions were not pure, I was looking for some type of validation from her, an apology, something. Instead, I was reminded that it is NOT all about me. My Mother did the best she could and she did have joy in her life, even though it wasn’t just being my mom. She was exactly where she was supposed to be. Funny thing is, so am I.

This does explain why I am so extra when it comes to my daughter. No doubt my childhood experience made a better mother, and now MY daughter is teaching me how to be a better daughter.

Currently, my Mom is not doing well. She has survived multiple myeloma and been in remission for 16 years although they predicted five. She served as my co-parent raising my daughter for the last 14 years and is truly an inspiration to me and so many others. But now her body is tired and she is battling heart and respiratory problems. Our time together might be years or months, but I can say that the resentment and anger I had once toward her is gone. I am grateful that, although I didn’t get the time and attention I wanted from her, my daughter did. And as adults, she is my biggest source of support.

So big picture, you don’t always get what you want…. but if you let him, God will give you exactly what you need.

With positivity and love to my top 3… I love you A.K.

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Yey!! We made it!

First day back to school after what seemed like the longest Winter Break in the history of Winter Breaks. It was the best of times and the worst of times. Mostly the worst, but we survived, my little family and I made it through the trials and tribulations, the sadness and disappointment. And we are still standing, stronger than before….

Without going into too much detail I will share the highs (nobody cares about the lows really). My daughter turned 16 and I didn’t fall apart, well not totally anyway. That same beautiful child survived a car accident in which she was the passenger to a teenager driving like an ass. She and her boyfriend walked away somewhat unharmed (thank god for airbags). Great teaching moment there too by the way. (DO NOT GET IN THE CAR WITH A STUPID TEENAGER DRIVING).

I was forced to reduce my work schedule by more than half for two weeks and realized that I work way too hard and need to start looking toward my future life/ job and where I will be in the next few years…

I knew I wouldn’t stay where I am forever but now it’s only two years away and I’ve got to get a move on. It’s like when you say you’ll have children when you are ready. Guess what you are never really ready and there is nothing wrong with having a plan, in fact, I strongly suggest it.

2018 was hands down the hardest year of my life. Worse than my divorces (yes plural), even worse than my father passing away. That seems insane, but please understand that I was challenged with so many things all at once. and most of them were out of my control. My faith had taken a backseat as it usually does until I am in crisis. And for the first time, I faced these challenges alone.

We underestimate the power of support in our lives. I found myself trying to juggle and make everyone else ok which is, you know, my job in life. What made it hard this time is I had no one to catch me. No one in my corner lifting me up as I fell apart over and over.

I do have friends, great friends, but its different. I literally gave everything I had to make sure my family wasn’t falling apart…. to make sure nobody felt sad or left out or less than…..in the meantime I fell and I fell hard. I guess it makes sense I am only human. But here is the thing… I GOT UP. There were times when I didn’t want to but I did it anyway.

Now all the pain and tears and feelings of despair are behind me. My life is no longer on winter break and I can fall back into my routine. I love routine, it keeps me focused and driven and moving forward. Some people find it boring, I find security in the life I have chosen. Not that I don’t look forward to change. I love change, change is good, change helps you grow. Too much change at one time however can be overwhelming especially to someone like me. But I managed and here I am all the wiser.

At the beginning of each new year, I always remind people that the correct terminology is Happy New Year. Singular. One year. I can’t tell you how many people wish me Happy New Years… Oh please, I can’t take more than one at a time…. How about happy new DAY? That I can get excitied about.

I know this year will bring more changes and bumps in the road, I pray that I find love so that when those challenges hit me I don’t feel so alone and completely responsible. I will look at life with anticipation, love, and excitement instead of sadness and fear. I know we will all be okay because we already are, okay.

“I really need you, I really need your love right now, I’m fading fast, not gonna last… I’m really stupid, I’m burning up, I’m going down, I’ll win it back. don’t even ask. When I find myself in the middle, could you love me more, just a little? Over-complicate it but its simple… Would you love me more just a little? So tell me now, when every star falls from the sky and every last heart in the world breaks. Oh, hold me now, when every ship is going down I don’t fear nothing when I hear you say…. ITS GONNA BE OKAY” Robin Schultz

It really is…… A.K.




Imagine

Here I am writing on New Year’s day, pretty cliche huh. Bet you think I am going to reflect on the past year and set goals and intentions for this new year, Nah. I just wanted to be a part of something today. The blogging world, the writing world, the real world.

The past few months have been rough for me I will admit that but I am still here. Still standing. A little beat up, definitely bruised but I am here.

I didn’t give into the demons that haunted me, or the stress of things I had no control over. Although I thought about it, many times I thought about just giving up.

But then who the hell would entertain you??? Where would you get the crazy (yet true) stories from this down to earth (minus the lashes and hair), straight talking Single mom?

When I am at my lowest I always think of my daughter and even though she is now a teenager…16 to be exact, and no longer needs me like she used to. But there is no way I could leave this earth without standing by her for the pivotal moments that are in her future. Rather than being scared of her growing up I am looking forward to watching her grow and flourish. To see all the hard work and sacrifices I made come into fruition. And then, of course, there are the grandbabies. NOT NOW…. But I’m just saying.

So on this first day of 2019 I wish you all Peace and Hope, Love and Compassion. Joy and lots of Laughter…

“Imagine me, loving what I see when the mirror looks at me ’cause I Imagine me, In a place of no insecurities, and I’m finally happy ’cause I Imagine me.

Letting go of all of the ones who hurt me, ’cause they never did deserve me, Can you imagine me? Saying NO to those thoughts that try to control me, remembering all you told me, Lord could you imagine me? Over what my mama said, and healed from what my daddy did. I wanna live and not read that page again.

Imagine me, being free, trusting you totally, finally I can imagine me……

Being strong and not letting people break me down, you won’t get that joy this time around. Can you imagine me? In a world where nobody has to be afraid? Beacause of your love fears gone away. Can you imagine me?

Letting go of my past, and glad I have another chance, and my heart will dance because I don’t have to read that page again.

Imagine me, being free, trusting you totally, finally I can imagine me. I admit it was hard to see, you being in love with someone like me. But finally, I can Imagine me.” Kirk Franklin

Gods got you…. Imagine that….

Love love love A.K.