I feel like it wasn’t too terribly long ago that I looked into your beautiful baby blue eyes and saw this new life in you that made me a mom. A little nose like mine and strawberry fuzz that covered your crown. You were magnificent and I knew that I too was reborn that day. You made me a momma, and in your little face I had found my truest love to date.
I was only 19, barely on my own path and I was suddenly diving headfirst into a world that previously had involved the occasional messy diaper and few other minor inconveniences that my babysitting jobs entailed. I had no experience with your tiniest of frames at 17 1/2″ and 6lb 8oz you were much like a baby doll i had once drug around as a small child.
I was just a baby myself, much like you are now, my sweet little love. I was freshly plucked from my fast life as a teenager and tossed into this world of Motherhood. I was grateful beyond measure for a family that a seasoned pro ready to spoil her first grandchild and a poppa who thought you hung the moon. Foe the first time, I saw how hard it was to be the mom. It was an appreciation I hadn’t known prior to your arrival.
Here we are, a mere 18 years later and I’m standing the shoes your Nana once wore, without her here pushing me on. I watch as your still tiny frame tries to accommodate your own little girl. I never thought about being a Nona, Mimi, Nana, or a Mamaw past that “one day” assumption. Yet here we stand. Footsteps that I didn’t wish for you to follow. A path that’s hard to tread at your young age.
Everything will be harder. It will, however, be clearer. You’ve already decided certain aspects of this little person’s life that will impact their life for the future. A name, a nickname, where you’ll live and all things you want, hope, and dream she will be. However, who she is will be shaped and determined by the paths we as the family who surrounds her chooses to take. As you know, my little love, children are most often along for the journey chosen by those who raise her.
I hope with your own journey in mind that you know this much is true. I am here. I am still your momma even as you become a momma yourself. I can still kiss the boo boo’s, but I can’t take the falls. I can hold you as you scream, but no matter my desire I can’t shoulder the pain. I can guide you, show you and teach you the lessons I’ve learned but I can’t transfer the experience. I can be like the grandmother that was taken from you 14 years ago, but I will never be Nana you knew, nor the momma you are now.
Life has thrown us a lot of punches. We’ve taken the hits and learned to fight back. You and I grew up together, myself as much as you. I was forced to walk this road down Motherhood lane much on my own. I haven’t been the mother you deserved, nor always the one you needed me to be, but I’ve been the best I knew how to be. You, my little love, will too. Mommin’ aint easy, but I’ll be here for you, with you, and loving you through it as long as I live. You’ve got this, my sweet little love! You’re as tough as a mother. I can’t wait to see the amazing person you’ve created and watch you become the momma you never knew you were destined to be. I’m proud to be your momma. Soon, you’ll understand just what a mother’s love truly means.
Holding back tears I asked, “DOES she have SOCKS?!” This was my BIG worry tonight as we walked through Walmart at 9:00pm on a rainy, random Wednesday night. College. My daughter is leaving for college…tomorrow and I’m worried about socks!? She is 18, dreams of being a psychologist, and the world is at her feet. Me, I’m the mom worried about if she will have socks as she goes out to show this world what striving for success and strength looks like!
I looked to the man who is my calm in the storm, casually walking a few steps ahead, he nonchalantly answers “yes.” I questioned him again. After all, I knew nearly every day, no matter how many pairs I buy, my girls are going to come steal my socks. In that moment he looked at me and calmly said “yes, your baby has socks.” I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer.
Why was I crying in Walmart over socks? I’m sure I looked and sounded ridiculous. I was irritated. I was emotional. I was thinking about 18 years of time that came and went far too fast. I was happy and I was scared. So I was worried about socks. Silly, I was a wreck…but why socks?
It’s ironic, that a little over 18 years ago I was in labor. In fact, I vividly recall getting “new mom” anxiety at the hospital about socks for my new baby girl. I was asking the same question then as I was this very night. Of all things I was worried my baby wouldn’t have socks!
My mom rushed out to buy socks for my sweet baby and her tiny feet. In addition, she bought clothes to fit her tiny frame. My first was so little. My beautiful red haired, blue eyed, baby girl was full term, but weighed 6’8 and measured 17 1/2” long. So small. My first baby girl of my threefold, and my first true love.
Looking on as moms do, I saw my oldest daughter, with her two little sisters bickering. I laughed and tried to let them do their typical back and forth banter. I played the pull mom every direction and make sure she pays attention to each child. I tried to remain patient and calm as I listened to each tell me their “needs” or “wants”. My anxiety was growing, but not due to worry about her or even the other two of my threefold. I was forgetting something. Had to be.
As the night passed on I noticed my emotional state was becoming so high that I was becoming overly anxious. All the needs, wants and reminders flying around for all three girls. Then the little fights. As my anxiety increased so did my oldest daughter’s. I could see her feeling like she was getting “more” than her younger siblings. In addition, I could see her insecurity surrounding money start to make her flustered. As a result, I saw firsthand, that she was feeling all the anxiety I was trying to push down. Instead of her knowing why, I saw her viewing herself as the cause of every bit of my increasing anxiety.
I got her nearly everything she has needed over these past couple of months. We only have a few last minute needs to tie up. Yet, she still felt like she was causing my anxiety. That wasn’t it. Not at all. I was proud and wanted nothing more than for her to feel confident as she began college. Yet, I felt like I was failing her as our anxiety climbed together.
What I didn’t tell my oldest is that I wasn’t anxious over buying what she needed, her sisters bickering, or even the growing list. I was missing something, but I couldn’t place what.
This feeling was unshakeable. Maybe I was just being a mom and scared. However, I’m not scared of her making the wrong choices, failing, or getting into trouble. I know her on a level that goes beyond a typical mother/daughter relationship. We talk about everything. Above all, even if I don’t want to hear the truth, she doesn’t lie to me in the way most teenagers do lie to their parents.
Finally it hit me, right in that Walmart aisle and with those socks sitting on sale. I didn’t forget to make sure her feet were covered in clean socks. She had her toothbrush and pj’s. This went beyond the superficial level of material needs. I was forgetting the person who once inhabited that tiny frame.
She was moving beyond her past. I no longer saw a scared girl with anxiety standing in the aisles going through the mental checklist she made a year ago of everything she needed. I saw the person who had worked hard to find her own voice again. I saw a woman who was funny, kind, and a genuinely good person standing worried about her abilities.
My daughter deserves all things good. I want this for her and every good thing in life. She has sacrificed more than many. Furthermore, my oldest daughter has been my coparent even if she didn’t ask for that responsibility. She endured the hardest circumstances in submissive silence to avoid making life harder for herself, her sisters and I when the abuse we all endured was aimed in her direction. She suffered and sacrificed her childhood, her teenage years, and her own blood, sweat and tears to help her younger sisters and I survive .
Her strength isn’t only in the survival it’s in the story she is writing in spite of the circumstances she was raised in. That strength is in her smile that is contagious. The confidence in her own abilities and the goals she has chased, regardless of the people along the way who tried to tell her every reason she would never reach them.
Her complete transparency, self awareness, genuine kindness, and inclusive nature all are part of the backbone of her identity. It’s takes bravery to walk through the fire, but it takes perseverance to walk through that fire and not allow your entire life to be consumed by the pain.
It’s takes courage to love with your entire heart and give of yourself to others, even though that love and gift has been taken advantage of since you were young. It takes commitment to make a plan and to speak it to others, but it’s the determination that carries you across the finish line. It takes fight to face your worst fears, but it takes ferocity to overcome those fears.
My daughter is just another girl to the world, but she is going to change the world of the people who have the honor to know her. My daughter is beautiful, smart, and talented. However, she is more than any pretty pictures or my bias words could convey. My oldest daughter is the smallest of my threefold. Nonetheless, at 4’11, the truth that she has learned is “dynamite comes in small packages…BOOM!” Get ready, because this girl of mine is about to blow up on your scene.
She is my daughter, my first love, and I’m so incredibly lucky she calls me mom. She definitely has more than just socks these days, she has a whole suit of armor that she forged in the fire of her past. That armor is her success story. The one she has written each day along the way and will continue to write until it reaches completion. I am just happy to be on the sidelines cheering her on and supporting her through this crazy train ride called life. To my threefold, to my first little love. You’ve got this! Together we’ve got each other, always. ☮️❤️😊~M
I’ve been struggling with boundaries. I forgot that I am a person that has needs too. I think as a mom and a woman that I try to make everyone else happy and ok. Guess what? It’s ok to say ‘No’ to protect your peace. However, I know how hard it is to say ‘No’. I am learning that the ability to deny requests is going to be required for my own personal well being.
What About Me?
As a mom I’m constantly tending to my little people. I’m making sure everyone else is ok. As a manager at work I want to make sure my employees are ok. The list goes on. Suddenly, everyone is taken care of and I find myself at the end of the day physically exhausted, mentally spent and emotionally drained. I’m not selfish, it’s not about me, and it never has been. When is it my turn? Saying that out loud makes me feel selfish for even putting myself as a priority. That’s ridiculous! I deserve to be on my own list!
Wake Up Call
How did I decide to make myself more important to me? Well, I haven’t fully committed to doing anything honestly, but something has to change. I had a wake up call. I’m killing myself slowly by giving my everything to everyone else. That’s not dramatic. Unfortunately, that’s just the truth.
The past seven days I had ten hours of sleep total, I worked 60+ hours, helped my ex husband get into drug rehab, tried to care for my threefold, fix all my work problems, made sure everyone else got a day off, and maintain a relationship with my partner. I hadn’t eaten enough to sustain myself. I was too busy to drink a bottle of water. I totally forgot I was a person who needed to stop and take care of myself.
The Breaking Point
My breaking point was a cabinet truck that I had to unload by hand. I worked hard and got through it, but it took the rest of my strength. However, I kept pushing through the week. Suddenly, my body was in ketosis and I was dehydrated. My muscles were locked up. My anxiety was sky high. Also, my legs were swollen like I was 9 months pregnant. Yet, I still wouldn’t stop. I had blisters on the bottoms of my feet and had completely depleted every nutrient in my body. My diet was caffeine, ibuprofen, and the chaos around me. Enough!
Sounding the Alarm
Hello!!!! SOS. HELP! Everyone saw it and asked “are you ok?” When my answer changed from yes to no, that’s when it changed. I’m an adult, a grown woman. No one can force me to take care of myself or stop until I decide. My choice. My fault. My consequences. However, it was clear I was not ok for a long time. I didn’t know how to stop doing what I’d been doing for months.
Something’s Gotta Give
I’m figuring out how to change my habits. It’s easier said than done. Saying no to anyone that you care about or want to help is difficult. It’s easier to rationalize the yes than the no. saying yes to myself feels selfish. I’m used to going until I crash. I crash, recover, and repeat my cycle. It’s not going to continue to work if I want to be able to keep going.
It’s Ok to Say ‘No’
Self care is something people say. This involves more than taking time for yourself. I am not going to book a massage and pedicure. There is no mom vacation without my kids that is on the horizon. Going to the store alone, or sitting and meditating to clear my brain is self care. Is it all there is? NO! It’s more than that, but it starts somewhere!
Self Care for me the past 24 hours has looked like a lot like stuff people should do, but for me it’s difficult. My goals to keep myself going this next week are minimal.
Eating at least 1 meal a day. If I eat with my kids at dinner then I’m accountable to eat.
Drinking water and having something to drink around me at all times.
Sleeping. I’ve slept 12 hours. Yes 12. And I will probably sleep more. However, deciding to be done and sleep and getting at least 4-6 hours per day is a goal.
Take my day off from work and try not to worry about work.
Spend time with my kids doing something other than appointments or errands.
Work at work only
Take some time for myself
Say no if it is something I can say no to.
Stop saving everyone and save myself.
Now, I sit and prop my feet up. I try to keep food down, because my body doesn’t feel like it is ready for this. I sleep and I allow my body to adjust to not going. I have guilt for doing these small little things, but my guilt is due to my own inability to slow down and be ok with not being ok. ☮️❤️😊~M
It’s Father’s Day again. Another year you missed being a part of. What’s your excuse? I’m sure it’s my fault, somehow and some way. It always is. I kept them from you, I poisoned them against you, and I asked for a life that means I have to play both parts. In your mind, that’s the picture you paint.
Again, it’s Father’s Day and this year you actually saw all three kids and took them to the park then the mall. I even bought a card for them to sign. It wasn’t much, but I figured they wouldn’t want to see you empty handed. I’m glad they got to spend the day with you. After all, they don’t get to spend much time with you even though they had hoped things would be better and not worse.
I was seething with anger last year, but this Father’s Day, I am just sad for them. I am sad for my threefold who have spent a year begging you to be the dad they hoped for and the one they deserve. Yet, that’s not the father they got.
Instead, they have you as an example of what happens when you flush everything down the toilet, when you lie, cheat, use and steal. They get their father as an example of what happens when you excuse your faults and blame others for your mistakes. It’s truly sad, but it’s a lesson I will hope that they will learn from. A hard one.
You have lost everything. What’s it going to take? I wonder. You’ve stopped trying. First, you lost me, which should’ve just been a stepping stone to figuring out where you wanted to go in life, but it wasn’t. Next the kids, they stopped calling and visiting. Next, your job. Then girlfriend #1, and then all visitation ceased. Later, you lost the one person who loved you and supported you unconditionally. I think that’s what broke you.
Losing your grandmother was the one thing that broke your heart the most. Ever since it’s been another lost job, and another. You lost our old apartment and then your car. Just when you thought it would get better you bought a motorcycle instead of helping with your kids. You lost more visitation and then you lost your mind supposedly.
It didn’t take long for girlfriend #2 to see the manipulation and abuse you had put on those around you. You sold everything worth anything and then lost that too. The motorcycle, the car, the rent free living situation. Now another job. Finally, you’ve hit what I can only assume as rock bottom. You are homeless. You live in your car. You make no money and are barely scraping by day to day.
This Father’s Day is one where the sadness hits a low. I don’t know anymore if you’ll be here next Father’s Day and to even have that thought is sad. It’s true though, I’m not sure how you’ve managed to lose everyone around you, but there are three girls still hoping that you will become the dad they wanted and the dad they deserve. I’m hoping you find some peace in your path. This Father’s Day is here to show you that children give second chances, and third, and hope even when there is little proof that it will change. ☮️❤️😊~M