I just want to STOP time!

Just 3 weeks.  That’s all I have left…

That thought doesn’t turn me into a sobbing mess, as you’d probably expect.  NO – it just makes my heart race, my palms sweat and my head spin.  I feel like I’m having a panic attack.  Like there is an impending doom that I can’t escape.  Like a huge black cloud hanging over my head and no matter which way I turn, it follows me.

I try to get lost in the busyness of preparing for my first born’s departure for college.  I try to get lost in living in the here and now, the present moment.  I try to get lost!  But no matter what I do, the 24 hours in each day seems to be speeding up.  The faster they go, the more constricted my throat feels, like I can’t breath and I’m going to vomit all at the same time.

There is so much in my life that I CAN control, influence, or manage…..

But when it comes to the ticking of time, I am at its mercy.

This is it.  Just 3 weeks until D-day (drop off day).  I’ve tried to prepare myself for this day.  But how can one prepare themselves for a total and complete life change unlike anything they’ve ever experienced.  I often wonder if the “thinking about it” part is worse than just doing it, and getting it over with?

I don’t need my children to define who I am.  And yet…..for 18 years I have been Ben’s mom.  His cheerleader, voice of reason and life teacher all in one.  I’ve been his Mommy, Mom, and Ma.  I’ve been there when he needed me, when he wanted me and when he wished I lived in a different house (or state).  In 3 weeks I will wake up and while my title will not have changed, my role will.  I don’t know how to parent from a distance.  I don’t know how to do this and I’m terrified that I will fail miserably!

A dear friend gave me a piece of advice a few weeks ago.  I didn’t like what she said.  But I trust her and I will follow it because deep in my heart I know it is right.  She told me once I leave Ben in his new home, I should not email, text, facebook, call or write him…..not until he reaches out first.

But what if he’s alone and afraid and doesn’t want to appear weak.  Worse yet, what if everything is great, he’s meeting awesome people, he’s involved and loving his new life…..and he forgets about me.  What if he doesn’t communicate with me for a few days or weeks……or ever again.  What if the role I thought I played in his life wasn’t all that I believed it was.  What if we’ve been living 2 different realities.

Some people are afraid of snakes, heights, or the dark.  Me?  I’m afraid of not having an awesome relationship with my children.  That realization is almost shocking enough to make me gasp.  But then I have flashbacks of my relationship (or lack thereof) with my mom, and I suddenly understand…..it’s not shocking at all.

I KNOW it will all be ok!  I KNOW this is exactly what is supposed to be happening, for him and for me!  I KNOW there is awesomeness on the other side of this transition.

I KNOW….no matter how much my head knows, my heart still hurts.

Twenty-one more days and this angel that changed my life the moment I held him in my arms will be starting the next chapter of his life.

For now, I’m finding comfort in my memories….

INQUISITIVE

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HANDSOME

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KIND

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FREE SPIRIT

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ATHLETIC

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HAPPIEST IN THE MOUNTAINS

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With joy, gratitude & love

The REAL Letter to My Mom

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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,