Alone On Mother’s Day

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Our house was filled with family his past Mother’s Day, but a few years ago,  I woke to find myself alone on Mother’s Day. Here’s a recollection of that day.

It was Mother’s Day and I was alone. No son. No daughter. No husband. I was completely alone except for my BFF golden retriever, Jazz, and a bossy, gray-haired cat named Pumpkin.

I walked through the house. Upstairs. Downstairs. Up to the loft. No human being could I find. I stood in the loft, looking down into the empty kitchen and the den with its silent television and considered my situation. My son was in California visiting friends. My daughter had married and now lived on the other side of the state. My husband (God Bless Him) was in Texas spending Mother’s Day with his eighty-two-year-old mother who is bedridden with Parkinson’s.

Completely alone on Mother’s Day. Sounds sad, doesn’t it? A special day set aside to honor me the mom, and there wasn’t a kid in sight. “My day,” I whispered. “My day to do anything I want,” I repeated, my voice getting louder as a wave of euphoria washed over me. This Mother’s day would truly be mine to do with as I pleased. What would I do with a whole day to myself?

First things first, I decided. A pot of tea instead of coffee. The Sunday morning paper still intact. An English muffin, toasted with Mayhaw jelly (a Southern treat), and nobody asking,  “What happened to your diet, Mom?” Meet the Press instead of ESPN. A great start to what was shaping up to be a great day.

A gentle mountain rain began to fall just as I finished the last of the tea. Jazz looked at me with her big brown eyes and yawned. “Great idea, Jazzie!” A nap became the next item on my agenda.

By the time Jazz and I awoke from our nap, the sun was out. I grabbed a diet drink and the novel I’d been trying to finish reading for a month and moseyed out onto the deck. I sat down in the glider and Pumpkin curled up beside me. Jazz sat by the railing watching the four does and two fawns lunching in our back yard.

After finishing the book, I decided a walk along the ridge would be nice. I live in this incredibly beautiful valley in northwest Montana. Our log home is nestled right at the tree line, about a mile up the mountain and a good eight miles from town. The Blacktail Mountains rise in the west. Looking east is Bad Rock Pass and the snow covered peaks of Glacier National Park. Besides the deer, we get the occasional moose, elk, cougar, eagle, and black bear. This is my ten acres of paradise, and the reason I spent fifteen years working the graveyard shift in a Texas oil refinery.

After the walk, I spend a couple of hours writing. Dinner is a salad, a steak grilled on the George Foreman, and a tall glass of iced tea. Afterwards, my little group gathers on the deck again. From here, I watch the sun sliding behind blue-green mountains frosted with the last dollops of spring snow, their reflection captured in the still waters of Smith Lake.

When the phone rings at midnight, I know it’s my son calling for the third time to wish me Happy Mother’s Day and tell me how sorry he was that I had to spend the day alone. His sister had called twice that day with the same lament, as had my husband. I told them all not to feel bad about being gone on my special day. I assured them I’d had a very nice day. They didn’t believe me. How could it have been a nice day without them here to “pamper” me?

“I managed,” I said and let it go at that. Guilt can be a valuable weapon in a mom’s arsenal.

Would I want to spend every Mother’s Day alone? No, of course not. But to spend one whole day doing exactly what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it was bliss …. sheer bliss.

Thanks for stopping by,

debbieepp

Deborah and Jazz

Breaking TWIG

Breaking TWIG

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The Mother a Child Needs

By Ann Minnett

When my first child was born 41 years ago, I was not thinking about her growing up.

Ann and Ginnie 1974

Ann and Ginnie 1974

Sounds crazy, but I was so overwhelmed with my precious baby girl that I truly lived one day at a time. Focusing on the day, the moment, we sort of grew up together. She taught me how to be a mom, and when my son was born two years later, I was better at it.

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Crissy and Keaton 4-24-14

 

My second grandson was born on April 24th, and my son and daughter-in-law asked us to stay with them for a couple of weeks to help. I was honored to be included, to witness their expert parenting of the newborn and the two year-old during their transition to a family of four. Could I have been that tender, that confident as a young mom? I hope so.

Something else I could not have anticipated when my daughter was born: Motherhood is not stagnate. The mother my children needed as toddlers—the one who preceded them  through strange territory like a mine sweeper to clear away dangerous objects or gripped their chubby hands while crossing a street—is not the mother my adult kids need. No, my grown kids need a mom who can distinguish between what is and is not my business and can hold my tongue unless asked for my opinion.

Are there stages of motherhood? If so, each subsequent stage involves a step back to allow the child increased independence. Sounds easy, right? Ha! It’s damned difficult! The toddler joins a playgroup, and mom waits out of sight until he picks up a toy and makes a new friend; the teenager pulls out of the driveway solo for the first time, and mom paces, waiting for the phone call that she’s arrived (more likely, mom does a drive-by later); the young adult chooses a partner that mom doesn’t approve of but mom offers loving support through the hard times; and the ‘child’ raises his own children, and mom falls in love with her son all over again.

John, Miles & Keaton 2014

John, Miles & Keaton 2014

Hope you had a lovely Mother’s Day.

 

OUR MIRACULOUS HEARTS

By:  Author Nan McKenzie

February is Heart Month, a good time to get in touch with the feelings engendered within, since the weather can be so frightful in February.  I remember a very rainy day in February, driving north of Anaconda with my former husband and daughter and son.  “Stop!  Stop! I yelled, and RJ pulled the car over to the side of the road.  An impromptu river had sprung up beside the road, rushing along, finding its way over small hillocks and heavy tufts of laid-down winter grass. 

A small mother skunk was struggling out of the water, a tiny kit in her mouth.  She deposited the baby on a little hillock in the middle of the river and immediately turned back, swimming heavily against the current.  We could see three more babies, nearly in the rising water on a wet bank, baby skunksmewling, their wee heads bobbing up and down in the manner of newborns.  The mother skunk grabbed another baby and fell back into the river, swimming as best she could while trying to hold her little one out of danger.  After an agonizing several minutes, she was able to drop the second baby beside the first, and turned to paddle back.  Her movements were slowing, and her black head with its white stripe looked like it would sink into the water.  The rain was unrelenting, pounding down, adding to the misery. 

The third baby was grasped and hauled into the water, Mother being almost too tired and cold to climb out on the bank, but she gamely jumped in and paddled along, keeping the tiny one’s head up until she reached the other two.  Unfortunately, the water was coming up so quickly that the safe haven was quickly becoming dangerous, swift water pushing at the kits.  Nonetheless, she dropped the third baby and hardly moving now, pushed through the stream to finally reach her fourth baby, who was lying still and cold, almost unresponsive when she managed to struggle out of the water and grasp it in her mouth.  Again, she plunged into the water, both she and the baby going under and being swept away, but there she was, little head rising below the other three, baby still in her mouth, slowly climbing onto another iffy refuge.

We continued to watch as she threw herself into the water again to swim to the stranded three, and started all over to bring the little family together.  Tears were streaming out of my eyes, and I wanted to rush out and help her but the river was too full, too fast, and I was afraid.  Her poor heart must have been about to burst, but she finally managed to carry all three to a higher spot.  When we drove away, we all watched as she sat in the middle of the rising river with her babies around her.  I’ve often wondered about her fate, and how she and her babies finally did.  Now by golly, that’s heart. 

Our heart is a magical organ, capable of loving, giving, generosity, anger, hurt, evil and goodness.Jenna Kissing Mother (Small)  It is also capable of fining down to love a tiny flower, a teacup puppy, a newborn child, and yet it can expand to encompass a family, friends, co-workers, showering them with love, and expanding even further to love a neighborhood, a country, even all Americans.  Our miraculous heart can grow and grow until it sends its love to the entire world, as some of us may see in meditations. And it’s Heart that can make a mother do anything to save her babies.