Mom and the Simple Things

I haven’t written as much about my mom here as I had originally hoped. Probably mostly because when I write about my mom, I want to take a lot of time, effort and deliberation, so as to make my writing worthy of her. To do her justice; to make her proud. Maybe also because part of me still subconsciously blocks out her memory so as to avoid the pain. A defense mechanism. I’m kind of an expert on blocking out pain, actually.

But a woman as special as her deserves to be remembered. I took some time over the past few weeks to jot down things I remember about her. Just everyday, simple little tidbits. Character traits, mannerisms, habits of hers.

Mommy always wanted to take family pictures. It used to get on my dad’s nerves a lot (maybe he felt like we were drawing too much attention to ourselves). The constant asking friends (or strangers) to take our picture embarrassed me once in a while, too, but I normally just humored her. And now, each picture I have of the three of us together is infinitely precious to me. I appreciate them all. In fact, sometimes I wish she had pestered us to take even more. She is glowing in each of them, obviously thrilled to be (wherever, whenever) with my dad and I. She was very photogenic. Her sweet, childlike smile came completely naturally.

Mom loved chocolate (THAT’S where I got it! Mystery solved!). She could hardly ever pass this one particular ice cream shop near her house without buying a chocolate cone. She was always eager to share, though, especially with me. She would hand the whole thing over if I so much as half glanced at it. Sometimes, she would offer to buy me a second. She was like that with many things.

Mama always wanted me to eat. She was worried about me being so skinny (I just have a fast metabolism. It’s in my genes!). She would ask me about twelve times a day if I was hungry. She wasn’t really an adventurous cook, but she had a few staple dishes she liked to make: meatloaf, baked potatoes and corn, tuna sandwiches, deviled eggs, chicken soup, beef stew, beef stroganoff, Asian style fish and steak, chili, salads. And we always had rice in the rice cooker of course (no Asian – or half Asian – house is complete without it!)

Grandma loved her grandbabies. She spent a lot of time over at our place watching T during the first year or so. Taking walks, reading stories, singing songs, laughing, hugging, rocking him to sleep. When Y was born, Grandma was essentially bedridden, and she couldn’t get up and play with her. At least she got to smile at her, touch her cheeks, tell her she loved her, lay next to her, take a nap with her.

I still regret not spending just a few more days per week with Grandma. Maybe even every day. If I had known exactly when the end would be, I would have packed my bags and stayed by her side until then. I remember one night thinking about the future and what would be the best arrangement for her. I considered asking my husband if she could move in with us. We barely had time to give that a second thought. Too little, too late, as they say. Sometimes, I wonder if she felt like she was a burden to us. That maybe we would just breathe easier if we didn’t have to worry about her. I wonder if she felt that maybe the most considerate thing she could do was to let go. I tried to encourage her, support her, love her up as much as I could, but I could always have done more.

I believe in an afterlife. I always have. It just doesn’t make sense to me that people would go for so long learning, growing, loving, and bonding; building these beautiful relationships over time, just to have them ultimately disappear into nothingness; blown to smithereens for eternity. If God is our loving and intelligent Parent and Creator, which I believe that He is, he would never intend for things to just end.

So, this is my redemption. This is why I have hope. I’ll see my mother again. And when I do, I’ll tell her all the things I wish I had said, do all the things with her I wish I had done, and make a million new memories. Pure, powerful, blissful, fearless memories.

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Progress Report on My New Year’s Resolutions

You may recall my amusingly simple and therefore certainly achievable New Year’s Resolutions. I promised an update and here it is!

On the off chance that you guys don’t painstakingly keep every detail of each of my posts carefully logged away, I shall refresh your memory:

Resolution #1: Follow 20 minute Youtube Post Partum (How long can one get away with being “post partum”? My daughter is 19 months old…) Yoga video every Tuesday while 1 year old is napping

Resolution #2: Enforce meal time prayers with kiddos

Resolution #3: Enforce daily morning service with kiddos (pray and read 5 minutes of children’s Scripture)

Resolution #4: Continue blog posts throughout the rest of the year – once a week either Thursday or Friday.

For number 1, I give myself a grade of….75%? I didn’t always do it at the originally intended time, but more often than not, I made it up at another time. Not bad, but not great…. BUT I am joining the gym my sister in law goes to next week, so this is to replace my at home yoga sessions.

Resolution number 2 gets about a 70% success rate.

Resolution number 3….probably around 65/70%. We have more success with praying than with actual study. Sometimes because of uncooperative participants, but many times, also, because of a forgetful or pressed for time mom.

And resolution number 4, 100%!!!! WHOOO!!! (If you must be absolutely precise, maybe 99, cause I did do that one post a day late.)

As you can see, 2 and 3 need the most work. Everything is a whirlwind in the morning! T wants to eat doughnuts first thing and chase Y around like a maniac, and Y wants to pull every single item out of the refrigerator (not to eat, just to play with) and draw on the walls… ME, I just want my children to wake up, wash up, pray, eat a decent meal of at least one protein and one vegetable, and most importantly, NOT have any type of meltdown in the process. [Also, I really wish Y would resist the urge to drop food all over the floor under her highchair. When she eats, it’s generally about a 50/50 ratio of food that ends up in her mouth to food that ends up on the floor (an improvement! if you can believe that)].

Sigh. Keep calm and carry on, right?

Note to (Future) Self

Becoming a mom has been the single biggest emotional, physical, and spiritual change I have encountered thus far in my 26 years.

I never anticipated how I would feel, think, and live as a new mother. As my children get older and mommyhood becomes more familiar, and my children and I all grow and change, I expect I’ll start to forget just what it felt like in the beginning. So, here’s a little reminder to myself. Written through the eyes of a new mother, a chronicle, a confession, a plea, if you will, in the form of a letter. I hope that it will help me many years from now to put myself back in the shoes of the new mother (maybe most importantly my future daughter in law? I have a sneaky feeling I’m going to be one of those mothers that feels like no one could ever be good enough for her son…) and offer only understanding and support.

Dear onlooker/bystander/acquaintance/friend/dearest loved one,

I very recently became a mother. My life completely and absolutely changed over night. I am now responsible for a life other than my own. This is all so new and foreign to me. I’m flooded with doubt, worry, and fear, along with love, joy, and gratitude, not to mention pure exhaustion. I love this child more than life itself. I want so very much to be a good mother. I want to make the right choices and do what is best for my child. I am trying so hard.

Please don’t judge me. Share your thoughts and advice and what worked for you, but in the end, let me make my own decisions for myself and my child. Don’t make me feel like you know it all and I know nothing.

Please trust me. Don’t make me feel ignorant and incapable and magnify the uncertainties that I already have. Be gentle.

Give me a break. Allow me to relax. I am so tired. Hold my baby for a while (better yet, get him to sleep!), wash the dishes, make me breakfast. Offer a helping hand (mind you a non-critical, non-judgmental hand) every chance you get.

Reassure me. I need now more than ever kind, reassuring words, prayers, substantial help, and unconditional love. (Partner: Show me that you value me and that you appreciate me. Tell me I’m beautiful, I’m doing great, and you believe in me. Tell me you love me.)

Overall, whether you know me a little or you know me a lot, simply support me, help me, and love me. I am doing the best I can.

Still getting the hang of this,

New Mommy