Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Uniform of Our People

Bekah stood in front of me. Her hair was pulled back in two ponytails and she was wearing minimal makeup. "Does this necklace work?" she asked me.

I gave her a once over. "Sure. It only adds to the look."

"What's that look?"

"It's the uniform of your people."

She seemed happy with the assessment and headed out the door to school.

"Mom, I am wearing sandals because I can." Luke was digging into the show orgy by our front door.

"Sandals? You own sandals?" I watched him shove his white sock clad feet into soccer slides, pop-in ear-buds and finish getting ready for school

"Mom? Does this match?" I turned from Luke to Noah who was holding two blue shirts: a t-shirt and a button down.


"Oh, good, I thought they looked nice together," he said as he slipped them on, and partially buttoned the outer shirt.

It occurred to me that all three were in uniform.

Kids try on a lot of different identities as they grow up, although it seems (based on my minimal research) they settle into the one that is most comfortable for them at some teenage point. This is their look, and the look of most of their closest friends.

Bekah likes to have a spark of individuality and tell people through her look that she is a Library Rat. Her favorite classes are centered around books, and she really likes marching band. Those are her people and she is her best, most comfortable self when she is around them.

Luke is a jock. He's also got a bit of Theater Kid in him, but he identifies primarily with his footballbaseballbasketball teammates. He doesn't mind attracting attention, and thrives when it finds him- but sports rule his life.

Noah wishes he could spend his entire summer on Martha's Vineyard, he wears ties to school frequently and likes to look sharp. He's only 8 so who he will be most comfortable as when he is in high school is anyone's guess. But now? Sharp Dressed Little Preppy Man.

That day they all were dressed in the uniforms of their people. After they had gone to school, I saw that my Googleplus friend Angela had shared this picture.
via Angela Mia Googleplus

She commented that her days of primping were replaced by hustling kids and all their gear to and fro- her own grooming going by the wayside.

And I related. Ho-boy did I get it. Minimalist is the uniform of my people. In that moment I was inspired to take a selfie. Here it is.

My eyes are crinkled and sport some bags; my skin is blotchy and all I did this morning was wash my hair- no product means Frizz-City. I'm even wearing the same t-shirt I had on in the previous post- it must have been clean and on the top of the stack.

But I'm smiling.

A real smile.

I am content; I am happy.

I've been out and about in town today looking like this, and I didn't care. I was just as confident as I was years ago when I had the luxury of spending time (and money) on my appearance. Actually, I know I am more confident now.

More content.


Sure, I would like the time to pamper and primp once in awhile and judge a good outfit day by more than simply putting on cute shoes. Maybe some day I will have a high maintenance day and when I do you bet your Aunt Fanny I will take a picture.  But for now, I know that this look- the oft seen shirt, the wrinkles and the blotches and what-style-is-that 'do? is the uniform of my people. And I am most comfortable in it.

To the casual observer I may look like the picture above and the more critical in that bunch might see flaws but I don't. I don't see things on my face as imperfections because I don't even see them.  They disappear when I look in the mirror. Maybe they are obscured by all the blessings that I do have in my life.

Blinded by blessings. Not a bad way to look in the mirror.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Right now- this very minute- I am hiding from the kids and man who made me a mom.

Moms- They're better than Dads

Horrible, right? Yeah, it is. I had this burning desire for solitude and a keyboard. I spent the morning with them and will...oops, one just found me.

Middle child, teenage boy...and just back from a run

Dang, teenage boys after a run smell like...umm, smells. It's easy to remember when his smell intoxicated me. That newborn, fresh from a bath smell? I still can get happy-dizzy thinking about it. I would take his tiny foot and pretend to eat it, or nibble his toes until he giggled. Now I tend to stay as far away from his feet as humanly possible...

First born, only daughter

...another one found me. This kid is the oldest and, unfortunately for her, the one who had to endure our steep parental learning curve. This child was the recipient of some of my worst parenting theories, but despite those errors in judgement she is also the one to set the bar for how all three kids are going to develop into adults. She is setting that bar high. I know she looks young, she is young, only 16, but she is morphing before my eyes into this creative adult who...

Mr. Hugs-A-lot

..and hello, Little Guy. My snuggler. He promises to never stop snuggling me, but I won't hold him to it. If he doles out a hug once in awhile during his teenage years, I'll be content. I know he loves me.

I have completely lost my train of thought.

It's gone.

I sat down at my desk to write something sweet and deeply felt about Mother's Day. I had a glimmer of an idea (Love On All The Moms)based on 24-hours of thought about my post yesterday. I thought I had the rest of a post, or that the rest would magically fall from my fingertips as it sometimes does.

But it's gone.

And that is what motherhood is all about. Every kind of motherhood- whatever your definition. You have this idea of how it's going to work out, then actual humans get involved and mess up the plans.

But, when you look back, the way that it did happen is far better than you ever could have imagined.

Happy Mother's Day!!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Even when we have been there, we don't know the answers

I've seen the tweets, facebook and G+ posts. I see them every year. A quick google brought up a bunch of blogs about it. The hot topic? Being sensitive to women with infertility issues on Mother's Day.

Every time that I read a post I have the same question but have been to chicken to ask it of anyone that I know.


How are we mothers supposed to react?  How do we simultaneously celebrate this huge thing in our lives- for better or worse- while respecting those feelings? What, exactly, are we supposed to do?

I had fertility issues for years (didn't have my first kid until I was 33) and I remember Mother's Day stinging that open wound. Going to church for a service that celebrated motherhood made me sad. Why couldn't I be celebrated for that? It's what I wanted. Why wasn't it happening? How could ALL those women have kids and I couldn't?  I longed to wear a cheesy corsage and get a handful of flowers plucked from my own garden. It finally happened, obviously, but it took a long time and pain to get there. Likewise, it's taken a great deal of time and pain to raise kids and they are not done- not by a long shot. We are in the trenches.

One of my best friends never was able to have children. My heart broke for her because, honestly, she would be one kick-ass mom, and her husband? Super Dad. It just wasn't in the plans for them no matter what they did; no matter how hard those of us who love them prayed and wished and hoped. I always tried to be considerate of her feelings but went way overboard one year and this is what she told me:

She loved me. She loved my kids. She loved my life FOR me, and loved being a part of it but it hurt her when I kept quiet about things that were important to me because I was trying to spare her feelings. I should be able to vent to her about what I was going through just like she could vent to me about anything in her life. If I started keeping stuff from her, it would lessen our friendship and she didn't want that.

(This is why she is one of my best friends.)

But let me ask you, woman who is posting about your feelings on your blog, while I am posting about mine over here: What do you hope people (I'm assuming like me) do to make today and tomorrow more comfortable for you? Because, I'm going to be honest here, for a lot of Moms this is a very big deal. We have gone through pain and loss and hard work to get here, and we wouldn't change a moment of it because it's not only what we wanted but more than we could ever have imagined. Some days it also sucks a big one. Sometimes that Suck a Big One Day falls on Mother's Day.

Mother's Day is different for all of us. Some love having a special breakfast and handmade cards. Others plan activities with their kids and have a fun and frolickey day. Some escape for time that they don't usually take for themselves. Some just want Dad to do what Mom always does: take charge and plan something, anything. Some set super high expectations and are let down; some set no expectations and are still let down. Some don't do anything. My own mother is of the, "Every day should be Mother's Day" school of thought and pooh-pooh'd any celebration.

Me? I'm of the Grab The Gusto When It's Presented and will do whatever I can get away with. If they want to celebrate me, I'm certainly not going to stop them.

Tomorrow a lot of us moms will be tweeting and posting pictures and commentary about Mother's Day. We aren't bragging (well, really MOST of us aren't) and we aren't (ok, maybe we are) whining when it's a Suck The Big One Day. But, simply put, we are sharing our day with people who we think would be interested.

And I suspect you are not the interested sort.

And that's cool.

But you keep asking us to be considerate of your feelings. and a lot of us shared those feelings at one point but we still don't know so I'll ask.

What, exactly, are we supposed to do to help you on this one day?

This one day that is set aside to celebrate motherhood.