What is a mom?

The answer to the question depends on who you ask. The answer is created in the mind and woven in the heart and is based upon perception, experience, comparisons, actions and words. When we hear the word mom some want to bow down and worship and others begin to cry for the heartache the word envokes. 

What is a mom? It could be the person who birthed you or it could be the person who paid thousands of dollars, jumped through legal hoops, answered the social study questions correctly and attended parenting classes before bringing you home. It could also be the one who agreed to take you when you were abandoned and had no place to go. 

A mom is not defined by activities such as homemade cookies, homeschooler, biggest fan, protector, supporter, chef, chauffeur, admirer, worshiper, or spoiler.

So, what is a mom? She’s you, she’s me, she’s a coworker, she’s a friend, she’s your neighbor, a teacher, a bus driver, a clerk, an addict, a CEO, a homeless person, broken, healed, she’s any female and she’s imperfect. 

She shaped you and molded you in action or lack thereof. She’s a person not a goddess. She’s real not imagined. She has hurts and challenges. She has triumphs and victories. 

Well, what is a mom? She the person you choose to honor one day a year. 

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Lost and Found

There is nothing like digging through other peoples’ property. In case you had not noticed we all have our own distinct smell. Image a small space cramped full of coats, shoes, socks, shirts, shorts, lunch bags, and even some underwear. Yes, you read that right…underwear. Ugh!!! The smells emanating from all of that stuff makes my stomach turn. Yet, at least once a month I find myself in this room looking for a jacket, lunchbox or book. It’s not my stuff. Nope. It belongs to my third born. The one I lovingly refer to as Little Dude. 

He’s absent minded or completely distracted. Last year he lost three jackets, two lunch boxes and a couple of books. I recently learned he lost about $40-50 on a field trip. He took the money just in case he wanted to buy something nice. We were at a fast food restaurant not long ago and he left his wallet near the condiments. I walked up behind him and picked it up. 

What do I do? I get frustrated. I talk to him about being responsible. I try to get him to develop a routine. It hasn’t worked yet. Do kids grow out of losing stuff? In the mean time I continue to enter the lost and found to dig through all that stuff to locate his missing items. He has a jacket missing right now. Off to the little cramped room we go to search through the piles of odorous things in search of Little Dude’s jacket. 

March 5, 2014

It had been a regular day. I woke up early. Prepared breakfast for the kids. I got everybody off to school and I put in my time at work. I don’t remember anything exciting occurring. Like I said, it had been a regular day. 

I was preparing dinner. The Fan4 were completing homework. That’s when I heard the knock on the door. I looked out the window beside the door and saw a short unassuming man. I thought he was another salesman attempting to get me to change electric companies. I remember thinking it’s a little late in the evening for door to door sales. 

I spoke to him through the screen door. “How may I help you?” He told me I needed to sign for something. I asked, “what is it?” By this time the Fan4, who are always excited when someone knocks on the door, were behind me watching and listening. 

Let me take you back a few months to December 2013  kids and I were talking about some of the things we wanted to do for 2014. I want to play soccer, I want to attend a basketball camp. Can I go to a summer camp? I told them I wanted to take a trip to Virginia. Due to the cost, we would not have birthday parties in 2014. What can I say? We live on a budget. Everybody agreed on the trip. 

I opened the front door to sign the papers. The gentleman told me I had ten days to respond and needed to get an attorney as soon as possible. I had been served. My heart was racing and so was my mind. What! Who? I walked through the crowd of people, four kids does feel like a throng of people at times. As I stood in my kitchen I opened the packet and realized my ex was taking me to court. 

I don’t know what I did next or who I called first. 

I picked up my cell phone at some point and walked into my room closing the door behind me. I walked into my closet and closed that door as well. My closet is my inner sanctuary at times. It’s where I go to have private conversations and get a couple of minutes alone. It’s the only place I can go in the house without a Fan following. 

I remember the shock. I remember the heartbreak. I also remember being overwhelmed and afraid. I knew that a court battle could obliterate my finances. I also knew that depending on the outcome our lives would change forever. 

Ode to My Honeygirl

Tomorrow she turns 12. It doesn’t seem that long ago that the teenager and I were at reading time when I went into labor. I waited until it was over, got him buckled in the van, gave him some graham crackers and a drink then I called my doctor. Thirteen hours of labor later, she was born. It was around 1am.

I was tired and hungry, how did they expect a pregnant woman to survive so many hours on ice chips? I looked over at her held her for a moment to count all of her fingers and toes (why do we do that?) and give her a quick snuggle then handed her to her dad then asked the nurse to please give me something to eat. It’s the middle of the night in the hospital and the cafeteria was closed so I had to settle for graham crackers, peanut butter and grape juice but I digress.

She had to go to the NICU because she swallowed meconium during her slow trip down the canal. A short time later, I walked down to see her and hold her. I looked in her eyes and realized the five and a half months of being sick, laying on my couch in the dark and not being able to eat anything other than mashed potatoes with gravy and a biscuit were not worth the trauma (just kidding…maybe).

She has grown into a vivacious, quick-witted, artsy, loving, don’t get in my space unless invited, long story telling (detailed oriented?) intelligent, perceptive young lady. I constantly remind her that she is, by far, my favorite daughter. She’s everything I could ask for in a daughter plus a couple of other things that I never would have asked for but apparently need in order to balance our lives. She walks slow, taking in her surroundings, picking up flower and admiring rocks. She has always had a thing for rocks. Her eyes would light up and she would get excited and almost giddy if the rock was shiny. She has an extensive collection of rocks. She will pull one out periodically to admire its shape, color and luster.

When she was a baby, I would sing these words to her, “You are so beautiful to me. You’re everything I hoped for; you’re everything I need. You are so beautiful to (mommy)…” – Ray Charles

I am glad to have been chosen to be her mom.

Happy Birthday to you my dear sweet Honeygirl. I love you!

Hear ye hear ye 

it’s national poetry writing month. The goal is to write a poem a day. I’m not sure I can commit to that but I will write more than usual. 

I suddenly become aware of the silence

Ssshhhhh 

Listen

Now my mind is racing

My heart is pumping

What’s going on?

It’s too quiet

I walk cautiously through the house

Every step takes me closer to the unknown

As I peer around the corner, I see them

One is sitting on the counter

The other is sitting on the floor

They were finally successful

After many foiled attempts

They got into the cookie jar

— I will call this one, Toddlers—

National Poetry Writing Month

Excerpt from, A Real Life Drama

She was excited. He hadn’t asked her to go on a date in a while. Then, out of the blue, he asked her. Of course she said yes. It had been a long time since the two of them had spent time alone. They usually did everything as a family. He was big on family time. But he wanted to have dinner with her, alone. He was very casual in his approach. She tried not to show her surprise when he asked. He selected the restaurant. It didn’t matter that is was not her favorite place. He decided on the day. It didn’t matter that she would have had a long day at work. The only thing that mattered is they were spending time together. She was hoping they could talk and maybe laugh a little. They needed this time. It was important to her to build a solid relationship. After all, they were going to be in each other’s lives for a life time.

When they pulled up to the restaurant he got out of the car and opened her door. He was just that kind of guy. She never asked him too. He did it on his own. As they walked to the restaurant, she softly asked him, “is it okay if I hold your hand?” He’s not the affectionate type, at least not in public and rarely at home. He gave her the look. You know the one that says, “you are kidding me, right?” He asked her why he should hold her hand in public. She replied, because that’s what you do when you like someone and you’re on a date. He shoved his hands deep into his pockets and started walking a little faster. She picked up her speed and grabbed hold to his arm. He didn’t pull away. She considered this a small victory. She silently prayed, “let my seven-year old find a wife who can look past his rough exterior to see his tender heart.”

(A date with the Stud Muffin)

Like a Man Does it

On any given day I hear Stud Muffin (7) or Little Dude (8) say, “let me show you how a man does it!” They are usually saying this to each other since Honeygirl and I aren’t all that interested in how a man does something and the Teenager is usually somewhere being a teen. I do watch them when this is occurring because it’s funny and I’ve learned that a man will do lots of manly things if someone is watching and gives him praise.

The Teenager is the person in charge of bug and critter disposal. The younger boys scream like a girl if they see a gecko or even a beetle. Now mind you even the girl doesn’t scream like a girl when she sees a bug but that’s neither here nor there. One morning Stud and Dude were in the kitchen, the other two were still asleep, when I heard a scream. I ran to the kitchen to see Stud pointing at a bug. Little Dude said, “let me show you how a man does it.” He grabbed a paper towel, picked up the bug and put it in the trash. After which his chest was stuck out, his head was held high and he looked at his brother and said, “that’s how a man does it!” I smiled and walked back to my room. I hear that phrase at various time during the day. I always smile at them when they show how a man does something.

Yesterday, Stud Muffin was sitting at the table drinking a cup of hot apple cider. He said, “mom, look at me I’m being a maaaan.” I turned my head to look at him and asked if he wanted to show me his cider mustache, he replied no. I asked him if he had just done something. He replied, no, I’m just sitting here being a man. I nodded and smiled at him.

I don’t pretend to know what it takes to be a man but I have learned what it takes to encourage and speak life into a man. Sometimes it doesn’t require any action on my part. I  am honored to have the privilege to watch them transform from boys to men.