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Friday, May 11, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!


So, I hope you are all aware that Mother's Day is on Sunday. If not, then I'll wait right here while you race down to the store for a card and a BIG bottle of wine, because by God you owe her. Go on. I'll wait.

Okay, ready? (Maybe you should sit down. Wheezing like that can't be good for you.) Anyway, I thought I'd take a moment to celebrate moms! Now that I have children myself, I can properly appreciate just what my mom has done for me over the years.

She read to me, played with me, taught me how to cross the street- and that navy and brown do not match. She told me that the violin was not my strong point but that I was a very talented artist. My mom couldn't French braid to save her life, but she introduced me to the Met, Broadway, Paul Simon's music and goat cheese.

My mom told me that if I put forth enough effort, I could do anything. That was last week. She has pushed, pulled, lifted me up, deflated me and given me a boot in the ass when I needed it. She's always there for me to talk to, to kvetch to and knows when to sympathize, and when to tell me to pull up my big girl panties and get on with it.

Being a former teacher, my mother has never accepted excuses very well. It's probably why I'm harder on myself then anyone else could ever be- because she taught me that I should set the bar high and expect great things. And from those around me, and to lend a hand, and to lift others up along with you. What you put out into the world will come back to you.

I learned to belly laugh from my mother. Laughter is a commitment- go big or go home. When you hear me really laugh, know that it's a shared trait, that loud hoot of hilarity. It's just one of the many ties that connect me to her, in more ways than blood and bone. We share many of the same views, whether they be political, educational or on just what can induce that deep, belly-aching laughter. We look nothing alike and yet exactly alike. My wide, wide smile is hers, and so is the tendency to tilt my head to the side when someone takes a picture.

Here is Little Dude & the Prof,
my little men! :)
I learned how to be a mother from my mom. To be firm, to be patient, to speak to my children as though they are small adults and consider their intelligence and character as I would one of my peers. I try to instill good values in them and creativity and a love for using their imagination. I want to raise my kids the way my mom raised hers, to be an aware and caring citizen of the world. God knows, there are many days I don't measure up, but I still try.

On Sunday, I'll be going to my parents' house for dinner, with my own family. I'll give my mom a hug, and we'll sit and chat while our husbands fire up the grill and my boys play in the yard. Looking across the table will be sort of like looking into the future, and although as a teenager that idea gave me the willies, I can now say I'm infinitely grateful for it. My mom's my best friend, always has been and always will be.




Have any memories you would like to share about your mom, someone you know who is a mom, or your own experiences as a mom? Funny or serious- I'd like to hear them! Happy Mother's Day!



34 comments:

  1. I always hated being told "Because I said so", As a kid and younger teen I vowed I would never say that and would also give my kids a reason. Well, that didn't happened. I remember the first time I said it to my kids, I stopped cold and looked at them and then realized that sometimes that is the only answer because children aren't reasonable and sometimes it just has to be the final answer - lol. I had the best mom ever and I am more like her than I ever dreamed or wanted to be. But, that is okay. Looking at it through the eyes of an adult I wouldn't want to be like anyone else.

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    1. Ha! Jane, my husband swore up and down before having kids that he would never allow that phrase to pass his lips. I'm pretty sure he uses it more than I do! But, really, sometimes it's the only answer you can give. :)

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    2. I think every swears they won't say that before they have kids. Now that we've entered the "Why" phase, Bella hears it on a minute-to-minute basis. LOL!

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    3. My cousin gave me a fantastic phrase to use for all of the "Whys," Jerrica..."Because of science." We tried it on my nephew, and it works every time. He just looks at us all serious-like, and he says..."Oh." Then he moves on. It's great.

      On a side note, because of physics, because of chemistry, because of economics, because of mathematics...all of those answers and more work. Just pick the one that is most closely related. :)

      I think the thing they're looking for with "Why" is often just an answer, whether they understand it or not. So I give them an answer.

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    4. Catherine,

      Too funny! We did the same thing with our kids and it worked. :)

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  2. What a sweet post, Olivia! I am so thankful my mother taught me to cook. She's *still* an excellent cook--no one can touch her chili or roasted chicken. And she also taught me the importance of reading, of educating oneself, and trying new things. I won't be able to see her this weekend, but you can bet there will be a phone call!

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    1. I love that she taught you to cook, and hopefully, make those recipes so that YOUR kids will someday say "No one can touch my mom's roast chicken- it's the best!"

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  3. Olivia,

    What a beautiful tribute to your mom and motherhood! My kind heart comes from my mom. I remember taking groceries to older church members who couldn't leave the house, and our couch was open for a couple of teens who were having problems at home until things blew over. She took great care of her parents and aunt, too.

    I'm trying to teach my kids about accepting personal responsibility for their actions, believing in themselves, how to shrug off mistakes, and how to laugh & love. I would like to teach them about keeping their bedrooms clean, but I think that's a lost cause. :)

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    1. My mom totally gave up on the clean bedroom thing when I hit my teen years, and even now, she rolls her eyes at the mess in our master bedroom, lol! I think it's fantastic that your mom taught to how to keep your heart open and giving. We can always use more people like that in the world...

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  4. Hi Olivia ! My mom never told me because I said so, she is very understanding . I am a total perfectionist I demand a perfectness in almost every aspect of my life. It is my mom that always lend me a hand , listen to me and patiently tells me to be more understanding to myself. From her I learned that fail and success are parts of our lives that we have to embrace and never fear to hold in our heart:). Happy mother's day to all of the mother here:), arethazhenATrocketmailDOTCOM

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    1. Happy Mother's Day to you too! And I think teaching our children not to fear failure is one of the best things you can do for them- you're mom had it right. It's how you handle the failure that counts. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep going!

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  5. Olivia ~ That's very sweet!

    Growing up, I had the "cool" mom. The one who actually took my friends and me to the grocery store to buy the toilet paper to get TPing with. (And some times she'd drive us to the house we wanted to decorate.) She would kill me if she knew I was going to tell this story - but here goes... One time she took us across town to a boy's house that my friend had a crush on - because back then you showed you had a crush on someone by trashing their front yard with toilet paper (it made sense back then.) Anyway, a cop shows up, shining his light on the yard, and I remember him saying "Some of you look a little older than others." I'll never forget things like that.

    Now that I'm a mom and I live so very far away from the rest of my family - I miss them and my mother especially. She does this thing now where a "day" isn't enough for her. The rest of us get birthdays. My mom demands "birth months". And this week she said to me - "I can't believe you didn't tell me Happy Mother's Day week." I refuse to do that though. She'll get a Happy Mother's Day ON Mother's Day. LOL

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    1. That's hilarious! Hmm...I had always WONDERED where you got the high maintenance gene from, now I know, haha!

      I love that your mom was your friend as well as a parent to you. I'm so grateful myself to have a friend in my mother.

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    2. LOL. I never thought of that as high maintenance, Olivia. ;) I just thought she was being ridiculous. "How can you say that to me? It's my birth month." Uh-huh.

      I like to think my own brand of high maintenance is my own. ;) Whenever I do go home - I let it be known that I'm in town for a week and I never see them and so everyone has to do what I want since I'm the visitor. They usually go along without complaint... because complaints will not be tolerated. ;)

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    3. Ha! Birthmonth and Mother's Week...I love it. :)

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  6. I love this post. I'm very close with my mom. It kills me we are 3 states away as I never dreamed I'd raise my own babies without her help. You don't realize the sacrifices they made until you're making them. Love all these baby pictures (if babies didn't turn into children, I'd have 40) and your boys, but I can't stop cackling with the cockroach comic. Teehee!

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    1. I know! I was having a tough time picking baby pictures because THEY WERE ALL SO CUTE! And yes, I get nostalgic for being preggers and having a baby in the house...then I remind myself of the sleepless nights, dirty diapers and thousands of bottles that must be fixed every day, and I'm good. Haha!

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  7. I can never get over how much the Prof looks like you, Olivia!

    I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day!

    My mom taught me many lessons, including how to tease without hurting feelings and how to do a lot with a little.

    Ava, I think your mom is onto something. I always want a Birthday Week. I could go for at least a Mother's Day Weekend... :-)

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    1. Your mom taught you well, Deb. I think you have a wonderful sense of humor- sly and funny, but NEVER mean! And making due when you don't have a lot to work with is a very, very valuable lesson to be passed on. I wish I was better at it!
      And you know what's funny? If you compare a picture of my mom at age 5, then one of me, then the Prof at the same age- IT'S THE SAME FACE! My mom teases him that if we stuck him in a dress, we'd be identical. He is not amused by this. HAHA!

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    2. Deb - I'll mark my calendar with my mother's month and your week. ;)

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  8. Love the post! What cute babies.

    Happy Mother's Day to my 92 yr old mom. She still lives in her own home and COOKS. I am so blessed to still have this wonderful woman. Thank you mom for being you.

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  9. Love the post! What cute babies.

    Happy Mother's Day to my 92 yr old mom. She still lives in her own home and COOKS. I am so blessed to still have this wonderful woman. Thank you mom for being you.

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    1. Wow! Pat, your mom is amazing. Good for her! Happy Mother's Day to you both! :)

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  10. Great blog, Olivia. But first off, brown and navy go with anything and everything. They're both neutrals, and therefore match everything, including each other.

    Okay, now that that's out of the way...memories about my mom? Well, there are a few she would be mortified if I shared in a public forum. So I guess I'll have to be a little more selective. She was the sort of mom that everyone at school knew just as Mom, because she never met a kid she wouldn't adopt as her own if given the chance. All the kids loved her...and all of the adults eventually respected her. She managed to get an entire school bus arranged to take one little boy from his Kindergarten school that, for that year only, was for some reason separated from the rest of the elementary school, to the main school every single day for a year, so he could then walk home with his brothers and sisters. Not only were her kids involved in everything, but she was too--as a Camp Fire leader, Cub Scout troop leader, Girl Scout troop leader, Band Mom, NHS sponsor, and the list went on and on and on. Mom was always there.

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    1. I totally forgot that I was going to say the same thing about brown and navy! They totally work!!

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    2. Maybe it was black and navy then? Ha! I guess it didn't sink in the way she hoped it would if I can't remember... ;D

      That's great, Catherine, that your mom was so present in everything you did. I bet you have some fantastic, fun memories of your times together!

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    3. Black, like brown and navy (and tan and gray), is also a neutral. Now, it's good to add some pop in with your neutrals, but that doesn't mean you can't mix and match your neutrals. :)

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  11. Great post, Olivia. It's so nice that you have such a wonderful relationship with your mom!

    My mom and I have had a tumultuous relationship, to put it lightly. We've rarely seen eye-to-eye on much of anything. We don't share the same religious or political beliefs, and a nasty divorce had us estranged for more than 2 years.

    We reconciled a long time ago, though, and now that I'm a mom, I have a lot more respect for her than I used to. We may not have always agreed, but I think that's what's made me such a strong and convicted person. She challenged me and pushed me, even if I didn't want or need either of those things. I think it's also made me a good mother, though I have my moments where I think I might throw myself out the window. lol.

    In spite of all the mother/daughter turmoil we had, I do remember a lot of laughter growing up. She tells great stories and does some of the most hilarious impressions of her high school teachers from the '50s :)

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    1. I think mother/daughter relationships can be very, very hard. I know I gave my mom A LOT of grief as a teen. My dad used to wonder out loud why we screamed instead of speaking! I'm glad you two have settled into a better relationship, though. :)

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  12. Oh, what a sweet and wonderful post! Happy Mother's Day, Olivia! I love the nicknames you've chosen for your kids! You know he really does look like he's a little professor. Adorable kids!

    My mother and I were estranged for a few years when I was a teenager (due to my own foolishness) and now we're best friends. I couldn't have made it this far without her. She's beautiful, brilliant, compassionate and a wonderful mother. I strive every day to be like her. I'll be lucky to be even a tenth as good a mother as she is.

    I hope to pass on the two things she taught to my own kids and I think I've done that. One is to never give up and keep putting one foot in front of the other. You'll get where you want to go if you just keep moving in that direction. And the second thing she taught me is that it's the little things in life that are so important. Those few moments where you're sitting on the porch with one of your loved ones as the stars twinkle on at night or you're laughing yourself silly after a pillow fight with your kids, those are the moments that count the most.

    My kids have been such a blessing to me and I am eternally grateful that I get the chance to be their mother. My oldest has graduated high school and will be going to college next year but he never fails to call me every chance he gets to tell me he loves me. My kids are my best friends.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful Mother's day!

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    1. Suzie, I bet you get your indomitable spirit from your mom! She is probably just as proud of you, for over coming and triumphing over things that would have stopped a lesser woman in her tracks. Happy Mother's Day to you too!

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  13. Remembering the things my mother taught me has become more important of late as she's getting forgetful. Some things are easy: how to make the dessert she's famous for (I fail at it but I've seen her make it a thousand times), and where the phone number list is (it's been in the same place for twenty two years). I've become protective and that is completely like her. :o) Have a great mother's day tomorrow

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    1. Oops. Forgot the time zone thingy. Have a great mother's day on Sunday

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  14. Hey Olivia- I have a hard time with mothers day. Everyone seems to have great stories about there mother when they were younger. However, growing up my relationship with mother has been rocky to say the least. It's still rocky, but it has gotten better. I have a hard with my mother, because she left the house when I need her the most. Those teenage years are really rough. Fortunately, I had friends moms that helped me during that time. I'm grateful for them. I have to say that mom is a good grandma to my kids.

    However, I would like to leave all you lady's a happy mothers day. Even if have furry or real children or a friends kid that loves you like family Happy Mother's Day. :D

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