The REAL Letter to My Mom

new-mom-quotes

Mom,

Where do I begin?

What do I say?

Why am I even doing this?

Deep breath…..

I inch right to the edge of the emotional cliff as I begin to write you a letter, but I’m overwhelmed by the physical sensations that I have no control over.   My heart is pounding out of my chest, my hands are shaking and I have chills up and down my body as though a cold breeze just blew through the room.

Deep breath….

I want to be complete in our relationship, but how do I accomplish that when we have NO relationship.  The sad part is that I’m really ok with it the way it is!  There has been a sense of freedom not having to worry about every word I say (or don’t say) and every action I take (or don’t take), knowing that you frequently misinterpreted my intentions.  There is freedom in not having to please you, not having to do it your way, not having to explain myself to you.  There is FREEDOM!

Freedom

I’m no longer angry, for I believe you did the best you could.  But there is sadness, because your best wasn’t good enough.  It left me robbed of the opportunity to experience what a mother-daughter relationship should be or could be in its purest form.

I don’t say this to hurt you, but I want you to know that I’m OK in spite of our relationship.  Over the years I have established relationships with many women that helped to fill the void of not having you in my life.  Women that have supported me, laughed with me, shopped with me, talked about raising children with me, encouraged me, drank wine with me, cried with me, shared authentically with me…..and loved me unconditionally – like a mom should!

I am most grateful for the fact that my boys are OK in spite of our dysfunctional relationship!  Being your daughter, I learned all the ways I didn’t want to be and all the things I didn’t want to say with my children.  My proudest accomplishment in life is the depth of relationship I have with both Ben and Peter!  We have mutual respect, we talk when we disagree, we laugh together, we apologize when we hurt each other, and they know without question how special they are – exactly as they are, and how much they are loved!

I needed to dump all that baggage so I could clear the way to share what I really want to say.  I want you to know that there are happy memories too – life lessons, family traditions and joyful moments that I have been able to hold onto and incorporate in my adult life.

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1.  Your love of the beach was ingrained in me.   When I sit at the beach, mesmerized by the repetition of the waves crashing on the shore, I feel connected to you, knowing how much you love being at the ocean’s edge.

2.  I think of you when I see the color purple.  I still have the amethyst jewelry you gave me, although I can’t remember the last time I wore it?  I suddenly have the urge to dig through my jewelry box in search of it!

3.  I used to think you were so strange for eating apples with natural peanut butter – and now it is one of our favorite (almost daily) snacks!

4.  You made birthdays SO special!  You would wake me up at 12:01 am to be the very first person to wish me a happy birthday!  You taught me to fully celebrate the meaning of someone’s birthday and gave me the freedom to allow it to last longer than just 24 hours.

5.  You gave the longest hugs!  I didn’t really enjoy it as a child, but when I embrace Ben or Peter in a hug, I am never the one to initiate the ending of it!  I will stay there with my arms wrapped around them as long as they will allow me!

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6.  You made the most amazing chocolate mousse that I have ever tasted!  It was rich in taste, but oh so light in its texture!  I have never been able to duplicate it like you.  After I find the amethyst jewelry I think I’ll search for the chocolate mousse recipe – it’s time to try it again.

7.  Watching Howie Mandel portray his ‘Bobby’ character or put a latex glove on his head made us laugh so hard we would snort, which made us laugh even harder, which made us snort some more….until tears of joy rolled down our faces.

8.  At night when you tucked me in, you would stroke my head and softly sing me to sleep.  Your repertoire included ‘Little Girl Kneels’, ‘Five Pennies’ and ‘You Are My Sunshine’.  The day I became a mom I picked up where you left off – singing the same 3 songs to both Ben and Peter (my version is ‘Little Boy Kneels’).  I felt your love when you sang to me, and my heart still feels love for you when I sing to my boys.

Our relationship was flawed to a point that it couldn’t continue, but in the midst of that – you left a positive mark, you made a difference and I know you loved me.

with Joy & Gratitude,

Writing a Letter to My Mom

Parenting Quotes and Sayings

One thing I am certain of is that we ALL have a mother!

After that simple fact, the stories vary greatly!  You might have a magnificent relationship with your mom – she may even be your best friend.  Maybe you have an average, acceptable relationship with your mom – but you know or wish it could be more.  Or perhaps you have NO relationship with her, based on a variety of possible circumstances.

My friend Amy Volk  recently blogged about the loss of her mother and challenged her readers to write a letter to their mother.  She gracefully granted permission to feel whatever emotions arose and shared that the exercise of writing this letter was intended for each of us as individuals – and not for that person we call ‘Mom’.

The history and details of my relationship with my mother are too long and complex for one blog post – but the end result is that we have been estranged for 16 years (with just minimal email contact).  Prior to that, although we weren’t estranged, it was far from a normal or healthy relationship.  My story doesn’t have a good beginning followed by a bad ending.  So the lack of relationship with my mother these past 16 years doesn’t occur as a loss to me – but rather a freedom!  And yet, she’s still my mom!

I did my share of self-reflection and spent years attempting to fix or change the reality of our relationship, until I finally  came to a place where I believed I was complete.  I could accept the lack of relationship with my mother, knowing that I would most definitely, absolutely, positively do things DIFFERENTLY with my children!

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Then I read Amy’s blog post ‘Letters to My Mom’  and the tears slowly began to swell in my eyes until one drop at a time they gently spilled over and trickled down my cheeks.  As I continued to let her words sink in I was blanketed in a flurry of emotions that quite frankly startled me.   Maybe I wasn’t as complete as I had previously believed I was.  In that moment, I decided I would not only personally take Amy up on her challenge, but I would pay her message forward and make sure I too challenged everyone I could to take the opportunity, regardless of the circumstances and their story, to write a letter to their mom.

I will share my letter with you in my next post.

If you accept my challenge, I would be honored if you shared your ‘Mom’ letter with me (confidentially or publicly – your choice).

with Joy & Gratitude,

The Thrill of Something NEW!

University-Of-Vermont

The University of Vermont

It was 1983 and my dad was driving me to the University of Vermont to begin my freshman year as a college student.  Traveling from Connecticut, we had at least 6 hours in the car together, which meant plenty of time for him to share his fatherly wisdom before releasing me to begin my college experience.

Thirty years later I have one clear and distinct memory of the advice he offered me that day.  He said ‘try everything once’!  Of course I looked at him with a huge grin on my face and said ‘everything’?  He didn’t say a word, he just cracked a smile and gently nodded his head.

I’m not so sure I’d be brave enough to offer that same wisdom to my soon to be college freshman son.  But I can say I finally get it – I mean really, really get it!  My dad was passing onto me his life’s motto, his belief that life can only be fully experienced when we seek out that which is NEW to us.  Sometimes it is a simple and inconsequential new thing, while other times it requires taking a risk or facing a fear.

My dad is not one to do the same thing twice.  He is constantly in search of a NEW experience – a new restaurant, new vacation place, new music, new weekend activities.  He thrives on the thrill he gets from doing something NEW.  This probably made it all the more challenging for him to be my father,  since I am the complete opposite.

My comfort zone has typically been to seek out the familiar, the constant, the repetitive, the stable, the consistent, the expected.  Some habits are meant to be broken.  Although I didn’t intentionally set out to break this one, I have recently become addicted to the rush of trying new things.

I can distinguish the moment when my perception of trying new things really shifted.  It was January 2012 and I zip lined for the first time – walking away with an exhilaration I hadn’t felt in years.  This also opened up a whole conversation about FEAR that I will save for another post (probably multiple posts because its such a big concept).

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Zip lining unleashed my desire to really live and experience life to its fullest.  This meant being willing to give up my attachment to knowing and controlling the outcome.  It meant exposing myself to the unknown at a greater frequency than I preferred.  It meant giving up my expectations in exchange for embracing the unexpected.  But the result of repeatedly engaging in new experiences gives us the opportunity to learn and grow at an exponential rate!

Here is a brief list of a few NEW things I’ve tried in the recent past:  IMG_1328

  1. Crossfit
  2. Tuna Sashimi
  3. Stand Up paddle board
  4. Dancing in the grocery store aisle
  5. 30” box jump
  6. Chunky blond highlights
  7. Eating Paleo  IMG_1158
  8. Sky diving
  9. Deep purple toe nail polish
  10. Becoming a blogger

You can test the waters by dipping your toe in or you can say YES and jump, fully clothed into the deep dark waters!  Whichever way you choose is perfect – but CHOOSE!  Choose to try something new, something unexpected, something that will make you feel like you are living full out!

I can’t wait to hear what NEW things you try and how they make you feel!

with Joy & Gratitude,

Leap of Faith….

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There are so many different ways I could kick off my new blog – Discover Your Awesomeness!

I could create a sense of fanfare, almost like a virtual ribbon cutting – grand opening – doors flying open for the first time event!

I could go back to the very beginning and share my life history, but that would be called a book – not a blog.

I could start with the present, weaving in stories of my past and dreams of the future like a well planned and twisted movie.  But you probably wouldn’t fully understand the real story until it was over – and this story doesn’t have an ending!

I think the best way to launch this journey is to share with you my vision for Discover Your Awesomeness.

What I most want for you, each and every time you come visit me – is that YOU have the opportunity to discover just how freaking awesome YOU are!  Now if I’m lucky, there are many ‘You’s’ out there reading this!!  And YES – each one of you is awesome exactly as you are, even with your imperfections.  But until you discover and own your awesomeness, you can’t fully live out your purpose!

Imagine what this world would be like if each one of us owned our AWESOMENESS!  We could set aside our negative self talk and fears to fully discover our purpose.  It is our human obligation to fulfill our purpose, to use our individual gifts to make a difference in this world!  It’s so big (ALL of us living this way) I can’t fully grasp the magnitude of it – but the simple thought of it brings me JOY!

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You are probably wondering how the heck I’m going to accomplish this?  Guess what – so am I!  A huge leap of faith and a lot of trust.  I’m on this same journey to discovering and owning my awesomeness.  Writing and speaking – sharing my voice with you – is where this part of my journey begins.   I have this quirky way of looking at life, almost dissecting it at times in search of answers and understanding – which usually results in some interesting interpretations, a new found awareness and a lot of laughs (mostly at my own expense – but I’m happy to pay if forward!)

I jumped, or maybe I was pushed – but either way I’m building my wings each and every day and I hope you’ll come SOAR with me on this journey.

I want to leave you with a poem that I discovered just a few months ago.  It is NO coincidence that it continued to show up in my life (3 different times in two weeks) until I was able to let its message sink in.

Read it….

Read it more than once….

And let its message sink in!

Our Deepest Fear – by Marianne Williamson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

with Joy & Gratitude,