moms are people too
it is funny how we see our mothers as, well, mothers. that is how i have seen my mother for my entire life and that is how my children see me. they do not see me as Stephanie, Stef or Phanie-Pack. i am the person that loves them through every rotten shitty thing they do. i am the person that will pick them up whenever and however they fall. i am the person that will never give up on them. the person they KNOW they can count on. the one person that they know will love them unconditionally for the entirety of my life, who will see the best in them and wish them nothing but all the love, happiness and health in the world.
i think it is important for us to realize that our moms are people. prone to folly, still living and learning as they go. we see her faults and her shortcomings, her weaknesses and her bad habits. we forget she is a person just like us, just like our friends, just like our co-workers. we forget she had a life before us with long make-up routines and 50 outfits on her bed to try on before nights on the town. she had wild friends who loved to party. one can't help but wonder who exactly WERE these women that so graciously and selflessly raised us to the best of their ability?
those who partake in Throw Back Thursdays often post photos of our early years with our parents or even just old school photos of our parents themselves (no filter necessary!). we see these young versions of our moms captured in a photo but know not or very little of who they were. to us, they were the ones that took care of us day in and day out. making us meals, giving us shit, telling us to clean our rooms and remember our manners. but who was the woman inside the mom? did she laugh at dirty jokes or walk away appalled? what song was HER song to dance to and what was her favourite drink? who was she and what things did she enjoy doing for herself before she began doing everything for my siblings and i?
today, she is still my mom, but i am trying to see her as a person. my mom used to tell us that she wasn't a robot, that she was human and that that there's was only so much she could take. those were during my teenage years when everything she said was Muppet adult language. in some ways, the role of a teenager's mom is kind of like that of a robot! i could do whatever i wanted because of course my mom would still be there. she would always be there. no matter what horrible things i did or said. no matter how many times i abused the trust she had in me, as if she had any at all during those teen years... i was stuck with her. and she with me. taken for granted over and over.
i think about the things i said. and i think about how much i do for my kids NOW and how much i love them. how am i going to deal??!!! how did SHE deal??!! what do you do when your kid "hates" you and is wildly out of control and pumped on hormones? i was lucky. i was lucky that no matter how much i pushed and shoved, my mom never backed down. hurting and tired and frustrated and angry and probably wanting to kill me so that i wouldn't get pregnant with kevin, she held on and continued to take care of me. sometimes in silence. and i get it. i can't bring myself to talk to the kids some days and spilled milk and poop on the floor is a blessing compared to what i did to my mom.
having children is a truly rude awakening. the first week of having that newborn is a very rude awakening. that one week is enough to send every new parent grovelling at their own parents' feet with apologies and thank yous. forget the other 25+ years of bullshit, that first week of not sleeping, cracked nipples, aching crotch and zeppelin feet and never knowing why that baby is crying is more than enough. the enlightening shame that was sprinkled over me was something i'll never forget. at that moment, you finally realize the reason for everything your parents ever did and said. you immediately wish you could take back every bad thing you remember throughout your entire life. and if you are like me, everyday, you pray like hell that karma will show an iota of mercy on you or that by some miracle you might be better equipped for the battles ahead. pffft, not likely...
nobody tells you how hard it is to be a mom. other than your mom. but she's your mom... you don't get to be yourself. they don't tell you that you lose who you are and that amidst trying to keep it all together, you don't have time to really figure out who you have become. you are too busy keeping up with raising your little one(s) through every tiny phase/stage of life, too busy trying to be the pillar of love and hope for your offspring. it's a tall order and you are constantly being judged by everyone: family, friends, acquaintances, strangers and the parents of your children's classmates. and that is why i am constantly expressing my gratitude for my many mom friends sweating in the same heat.
i don't know how my mom did it. i don't know how she survived, how she came out of the lions' den alive and in one piece and still able to love us as unconditionally as ever.
after Hanna's party, we had my brother, my mom and my Lola over for a last minute dinner together. nothing super crazy but i know it was what she wanted as a strong believer in family. we had planned for saturday brunch but she was busy having her washroom updated and requested a raincheck! she had worked the entire Mother's Day and though i know it is a pain to drive out to our place, i'm sure having a hot meal made by someone else was a nice treat, not to mention showing off her grandkids to her mom! my Lola was laughing her brains out as usual. her crazy laugh is villainous but strangely comforting as it's the same laugh i have heard all my life! it was so great to see them both enjoying themselves in grandma/great-grandma mode.
as usual my mom brought slippers (for her and my Lola...) because she is super OCD about cleanliness. and no visit would be complete without a bag brimming with food: a dozen seaweed packs for the kids, a bulk bag of Philippine brand dried mangoes that i love but will never spend the $12 for, a bag of avocados, a single pink rose and a gift certificate to White Spot. i could pick out one of my mom's gift bags from 100 miles away. i love it.
this woman has some pretty gigantic shoes to fill. i get tears in my eyes and need to take a deep breath whenever i wonder just how i am going to be able to fill them. it's been a rough few days with the kids. and i haven't been my best... it's hard to go to sleep some nights knowing you're going to be thrown right back into the same ring where you failed miserably all day long. a poor night's sleep is hardly enough recovery time to get back in and do it all over again.
sometimes i wonder how they still manage to love me and see me as a shining star on my worst days. but i guess i have seen my mom at her worst, and those are the moments now that i love her the most for. for being human.