Mother’s Day Unedited

gardener Pictures, Images and PhotosOne of my favorite memories of my mother came when she was in the hospital…dying of cancer. We were rarely alone during her last days as many in our family would come and go. We never ever left her alone. So it was surprising to suddenly find myself alone in the room with her. And since I thought she was sleeping, it was also surprising to look up and find her staring at me.

I smiled at her, wondering what she was thinking.

But she just kept staring. What was going through her mind? Did she need something?
And then she said, “You know…of all my children…you are the one who looks most like me.”

I smiled again.

She continued to stare. Then……after a long pregnant pause she said, “Sorry.”

I burst out laughing.

Mom and I had never placed our self esteem in the I’m-so-beautiful bucket. We were always two very practical and hard working women. We dressed up only when required and would much rather be out in the garden or fishing by the lake.
We married well.
Raised children we loved.
And generally enjoyed life, even if our ride took us via the short-and-stumpy route. So the treasure in this comment wasn’t about our mutual lament at not having grown up beautiful. The treasure was the laughable frankness of my mom…something I’ve inherited…something I’ve clearly passed along to my son.

Once when he was about 8 I had lost a considerable amount of weight. My husband hadn’t really noticed. And I was giving him a bit of ribbing about it. Now to be fair to my husband, while he doesn’t notice my weight losses, he also doesn’t notice my weight gains. That obliviousness that can be so frustrating clearly can also be your friend. So my ribbing was only in jest. But my son, fearing that my feelings were truly hurt, came rallying to my defense.

“I’m so sorry Mom that Dad didn’t notice you’ve lost weight. ANY one could tell you’ve lost weight. I can’t believe he hasn’t noticed. You’re clearly thinner. You’re clothes fit better. And your arms are so flabby now.”
There it was again.
Naked words expressed before thought had the time to edit them.

This quality of our Sizzlers is one of the most delightful parts of being with them. Thoughts emerge from their mouths completely unabridged. You never have to wonder what they’re thinking. I’m sure there are some benefits to the quiet thoughtful child. But I wouldn’t trade my family’s funny missteps for all the tightly orchestrated and beautifully delivered speeches in the world.

On this Mother’s Day, you may well be given the sweetest of Mother’s Day wishes. Your child may share the affection for you in a way that is both beautiful and touching. However, I also know it’s possible that it may play a little differently. Especially if your child has inherited that impulsive speech thing my mom and I shared. It’s even possible, they won’t note the importance of this day at all.

So just in case, I wanted to let you know that I think you are a WONDERFUL mom.
I know simply by virtue of the fact that you’ve come to Sizzle Bop, that you are a mom always searching, always looking for yet another way to love this child.

I know that you have developed a secondary part of your brain that wasn’t there before you had children. Before you simply decided what you wanted to do. But now, every decision must go through that second “brain” to determine if it will be good for your children.

I know that some days your child makes you tired, brings out a level of frustration you didn’t know you had and that you say some things you wish you hadn’t.

I also know, that you love this child more than life itself, and would do anything to give them the tools to succeed.

And finally, I know that love covers a multitude of our mistakes. So love deeply. Write your life’s plans in pencil with the erasure ever at the ready. And laugh at every opportunity. And with kids like ours, there will opportunities aplenty.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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14 Responses to “Mother’s Day Unedited”

  1. Carole Monasmith Says:

    Thank you for taking the time to write this. It gave me alot of encouragement, a little laughter and a little tears. I am a homeschool Mom who is ADD herself trying to pull it all together and take care of some ADHD type children as well. Depression has crept up on me this past few months and its a hrad enemy to battle. I need to hear that I am not alone somedays. Funny thing about this post also was that I said the exact same thing to my daughter the other day about looking like me. She is actually getting married next month, of course I am in panic being totally NOT ready for this wedding. People just kept telling how how very much she looked like me recently and I told her , it was true, and that I sure was sorry about that. We both had a good laugh and it was a nice break in the tension. Well, as you can tell, my mind is all over even now, God bless you and yours and thank you again for sharing.~Another Carole, but mine has a e on the end just to make my life a little more complicated 🙂

    • carolbarnier Says:

      Carole, thanks for checking in. You are SO not alone. What always amazes me is whenever I share something that I think is so unusual as to be almost odd, almost invariably, someone tells me that the same thing has happened in their own world. Your conversation with your daughter is yet more evidence. My oh my, are we NOT alone. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Sherrie Says:

    This post was so wonderful, inspiring, insightful, and encouraging. It is one of the best posts I have read in a while.

  3. Lori Boling Says:

    Carol, wonderful post. Don’t you just just love children’s honesty? Never ask them a question if you don’t really want the truth.
    You are a beautiful person, inside and out. Don’t ever think otherwise. Happy Mother’s Day and God Bless.

    • carolbarnier Says:

      Thanks Lori. I DO love their honestly. Not only is it usually true, but comes with laughter (my highest form of currency). And thanks for the “beautiful person” comment. But I’m still asking for a new nose in heaven. 🙂

  4. Rebekah Says:

    Carol,

    Heartfelt- especially because my mom also died of cancer 12 years ago (when I was 24).
    So true- because my Sizzler literally, just last night said that he didn’t make me a card because he would wait till my birthday (then I reminded him that my birthday was in January- oops!)

    As always, thanks- especially on Mother’s Day!

    • carolbarnier Says:

      I’m sorry you lost your mom so young. This is my third Mother’s Day without a mom. Tell me it gets easier. Thank goodness our kids give us so many things that keep us smiling.

  5. Kathy Kuhl Says:

    Thanks for a great blog.
    We need the same humor for our Sizzler friends. A friend enthused over my new hairstyle this spring. “You look so much younger!” she exclaimed.
    “Thank you,” I replied.
    “With those bangs, you look nine or ten,” she continued.

    Yes, she liked it.
    And I didn’t laugh until I got away.

  6. Bree Says:

    What a wonderful, encouraging (& funny!) post-thank you 🙂 The honesty of children is a precious gift! A happy Mother’s Day to you!

  7. Jennifer Says:

    Thank you Carol not only for this wonderful blog, but for just being the great person you are. You are one of those people that even though I’ve never met, I just know you are beautiful inside and out. I know your Mom is smiling down on you from heaven and so very proud of you. I am also a sizzler, I’m the one that told you about, the birds, you know, my son and I are talking, perhaps about school, how was your day, any homework, you are doing great, oh wow, look at that bird? Well, he is now 17 and on Mothers Day, all the family was over, including his girlfriend. He has oh so much to learn about women. My husband had told Kim, Zach’s gf that she didn’t give him a hug when she came in, he was going to have to kick her behind…well, my lovely sizzler looked at his girlfriend and said, wow, that would be a lot of behind to kick..yes, that did not go over well. So, I tried to explain to her about Zach and his comments, I told the story of a summer a few years ago when I walked out in my swimsuit to get in the pool and his deadpan comment was Mom, you look like a potato, with legs….Somehow, I don’t think the girlfriend will ever find his comments as funny as I do!

    • carolbarnier Says:

      Oh my goodness! That IS funny. I hope the girlfriend can cross over to seeing the humor. Till then, she should carry cue cards prompting him as to what he SHOULD say when she arrives. (I use them with my husband. 🙂

  8. Margaret J. Milotte Says:

    You made me cry! I absolutely adore you. You make me laugh AND make me feel like I am NOT insane (although that can be debatable by a select few in my immediate family…lol) Your stories are inspiring and full of the ZING that makes life okay to be lived when things are ugly. I was blessed to meet you at a TEACH convention in CT 3 years ago. You are wonderfully down to earth and gave me ideas that I am STILL using (used today in fact)…still haven’t gotten the necklace with a pad on it…need the pad wrapped around my neck to even remember that I need to make myself the necklace…anyway…you are a blessing to me (and indirectly my family) Happy Be-Lated (story of my life but I am okay with that now…) Mother’s Day.

  9. mirage1440 Says:

    For all the moms out there, thank you. This is beautiful. I too lost my mother at an early age due to cancer. Every time a family member tells me that I remind them of her, it makes me proud. I hope somewhere, she is proud too.

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