Archive for the ‘Road to Oprah’ Category

Momma Love

Monday, January 17th, 2011

I am writing this for Auds’ beautiful daughter, Meg.

 

For some reason, I never expected to have children, despite Kathy King’s mumbo-jumbo “yarn” trick sophomore year that told me I’d be a mother to 16.
I didn’t think I’d be married, either. I will admit that for awhile there, I DID wonder if maybe that “mother to 16” prediction foresaw I’d be a cat spinster living in a hoarder poo house, waving a kitten tutu in the air while trilling “Come here Mr. Mittenpaws, mummy has something for you.”

 

But because I really and truly believed I’d be single for the rest of my life — not because I wanted to, and not because I needed to, but because I didn’t think I’d find someone who didn’t bug the living crap out of me on a daily basis — I never planned for the possibility of children. And then I met The Rock and everything changed in a blink.

 

Within a year, I knew I could marry him and not mind when he talked, breathed, or ate cereal loudly. Three years after that, I knew I wanted to have children with him. But still, I just couldn’t imagine it. Kids? Me? I was in no position to be a role model to anybody. And remembering to feed them would be equally as difficult. Strange, but when I went off the pill, I continued to think it would be a long while before I became pregnant. I regaled The Rock with horror stories of thirty-somethings who put their careers first, then tried to get pregnant to no avail because they had old eggs.

 

That didn’t work as planned either.

 

The same month I went off the pill is the same month we conceived Toots.

 

I couldn’t believe it.

 

There would be children in our lives! Not ballet cats, children.

 

The Rock and I weren’t all there was anymore. There would be another and she would be of us and from us and probably not a kitten.

 

The next few months, I did as moms-to-be do: picked out baby clothes, researched cribs, ate absurd amounts of chocolate. My belly grew and as it swelled, so did my spirit. I shared all my favorites with my baby bean: The Indigo Girls, big breakfasts, and Lifetime TV. We were a team. All three of us.

 

Then one day, I had an ultrasound at one of those newfangled 3D imaging places. The Rock and I gasped — quite literally — when we saw our little girl’s face. A girl! A face! She’s real! We’re having a baby! A baby! With a face!

 

OH MY GOD.

 

That was a turning point for me, for The Rock and I both. Up until then, our minds knew we were having a child, but somehow that idea didn’t take full root in our hearts.

 

I remembered just then how my mom would stare at us kids when we were growing up. A long, sometimes wistful look full of wonder and I didn’t know what else. Every single one of us four kids protested when we found ourselves on the receiving end of that stare. “Mom!” we’d protest. “Stop it! You’re freaking us out!” She’d look a little sad as she broke her gaze and now I know why.

 

We didn’t get it. And she knew we never would until we were parents of our own.

 

From that moment in the ultrasound room when I saw Toot’s face I haven’t stopped looking at her in the same way my mom used to all those years ago.

 

And the other thing? Next to the wonder? The kind of deep, searing, soul love you’ll never imagine until you feel it yourself.

 

That love is coming for you, Meg.

 

And it’s way better than the cat’s meow.

 

PROMPTuesday #134: Bawdy Holiday Prose, Part Trois

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Hi! It’s that special time of year! A happy month of merrymaking and holiday cheer. Of friends, family, and fruitcakes. Of gifts from the heart and trees from the forest. Of chestnuts and golden balls.

 

Which brings me to…

 

The third installment of Bawdy Holiday Prose.

 

As I wrote back in December 2008:

“For today’s PROMPTuesday, please compose a holiday limerick.

 

For background: As you may or may not know, and probably could care less to have knowledge of, is that a limerick is a five-line poem, often obscene in nature… In a recent Wikipedia search, I turned up this example:

 

The limerick packs laughs anatomical

In space that is quite economical,

But the good ones I’ve seen

So seldom are clean,

And the clean ones so seldom are comical.

 

Now I don’t care if your limerick is obscene, because mine probably won’t be; after all I was a virgin until the age of 22, and probably wouldn’t know obscene if it bit me in the ass, which it did.

 

But still, please imaginate your limerick and either post it in the comments or write it on your blog and leave your URL in the comments.”

 

Well that 2008 bawdy holiday prose as described above was a big hit with some hilarious submissions as you can read here. Here is one highlight from my very own The Rock:

 

‘Twas bitterly cold that xmas eve night

Rudolph’s red nose was particularly bright

Santa thought “I’ll bet that nose gets hot”

Maybe I’ll use it to warm up this spot

Down came his pants and out went the light

 

Not bad, right? So I did it again in 2009. And that time? It blew. I like to pretend there wasn’t a Bawdy Holiday Prose PROMPTuesday, Part Deux.

 

I am getting very sleepy. Veerrrryyyy sleepy. My arms are getting heavy. My fingertips are numb. So numb they were incapable of writing last year’s bawdy holiday prose prompt. It was all a figment of my overactive imagination. It didn’t exist. It didn’t exist. It didn’t ex…..

 

There. I have self-hypnotized myself into pretending 2009’s bawdiness never even lived on the page. Self-delusion is fun! You should try it sometime. I can teach you.

 

But meanwhile…

 

You got a bawdy holiday limerick?

 

Give it to me, baby.

 

Please post your submission in the comments OR post in your blog and leave a link to your blog in the comments.

 

First time to PROMPTuesday? Read a bit about it here. Want to see what’s been written in the past? Catch up on the PROMPTuesdays archive here.

 

Mediate, Part 1

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Next on my “Road to Oprah” list is “meditate.”

 

I’ve dabbled in this before, and I can say I felt some benefit.

But I didn’t stick to it.

Surprised?

(Have you read this website?)

 

So my plan is to start with 5 minutes of meditation a day. For the first week, I will do it in the morning, then try it at night to see which works better. Over the next 30 days, I’ll progress to 10 minutes a day.

 

As for my meditation method, I will begin by sitting in the “om” position and also saying the word “om,” because I like how it feels in my chest. It’s a healing word, don’t you think? There’s something positive about how it resonates.

 

I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

I’m going to determine my meditation success on three factors:

 

1 — Did it make me yell less?

2 — Did it make me worry less?

3 — Did it make me calmer in general?

 

We’ll see.

 

Learning to Forgive: The End?

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Learning to Forgive, Pts. 1-3 are here.

 

I really really don’t want to write this today.

But I will.

Because I must.

 

I had high hopes for this one. And I think it went OK, just not as well as I’d hoped. A part of me truly believed forgiveness would be easier. But we’re mainly talking about my mom here, and anyone in therapy will tell you, mom issues ain’t easy.

 

So what I did was to imagine her as she was when she most hurt me — exhausted, overwhelmed, tired, anxious, alone. And then I thought of myself in a similar situation. I’m not a superstar mom even without those elements above, so it must have been hard for her.

 

Plus: she was a good mom. Just not the mom I wanted her to be. And is she at fault for that?
I hold on to the idea that she knew better, knew better than to guilt me, judge me, criticize me, but…I’m loosening my grip on that idea.

 

She did the best she could with what she knew at the time, and with how she was “taught” to be by her own parents.

 

So I told myself those things and I reflected and I still hurt.

 

But I know my mom wasn’t perfect, as I’m not. I know it is the time for me to let go of the childish things of the past. To move on, to decide to move on.

 

I think it’s unrealistic to think that I will ever completely resolve my hurt, but I can let myself feel it, imagine my mom’s side, empathize and look at what really matters: she loved me, and I sincerely believe she did her best.

 

What else is there?

 

And so the decision was made.

 

I still feel a little tense. But I’m lightening up and I think this exercise was worth it.

 

The takeaway? I think you do just decide to forgive and then forge on in that direction. You don’t say “oh, it’s OK that you hurt me so bad,” you say, “you hurt me bad, but I’m moving on.” And depending on the circumstances, you decide to love that person anyway.

 

I always loved my mom, but now maybe I understand her a bit more too.

 

And mom? Remember the week before you passed away and you took my hand and said, “I’m sorry.”? And do you remember how I said it was OK?

 

This time I mean it.

 

Learning to Forgive Update #3

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

This is part 3 from my Road to Oprah series. (I was inspired by my dream last night).

 

This is part 1. And part 2.

 

I’ve been avoiding this.

 

There’s way more to work through than I originally thought. Because I started with my mom. And that’s the hardest person to forgive. Why couldn’t I have gone slow? Maybe picked Cookie Magazine? They really got my goat by sending me that subscription I didn’t order.

 

But I would have worked through it.

 

No. I begin this exercise with my mom.

 

And me.

 

There is no “uhhh” or “um” word to convey the pause I’m feeling now. I’ve got major blocks here.

 

So, let me tell you what I have accomplished.

 

I sat down and really thought about the things my mom did that hurt me so. There was the not loving me thing. And the hating me deal. And the wishing I were my sister instead stuff.

 

OK, there I go again. See, I really really believed my mom thought I was a bad person. She happened to be very judgmental and I was the judgee. Many times, I deserved it. Other times, not so much. But still, still, I’m holding onto the thought that you just don’t let a child believe that you’re going to take your love away because she didn’t act the way you wanted.

 

My mom thought I was spoiled and selfish and bratty and all kinds of things under that umbrella. So she’d normally react to me with silence or a disproving look or complete and total emotional unavailability.

 

Holy crap, I feel like crying right now. How can that be? I must be forever stuck in that time.

 

I will forge on.

 

So I thought about those hurtful things and I put myself in her shoes.

 

She mothered 4 children, often alone, as my dad travelled several weeks each month. As I cannot handle 2 children most days, this is a definite check in her “pro” column. That must have been exhausting for her.

 

And, I was a handful. I over-emoted, over-dramatized and all that jazz in bids for her constant attention. In short, I was a real pain in the ass. I’m sure I was. And as I got older, I grew self-absorbed and all that teenage gunk.

 

I painfully remember at the age of 16, demanding that my parents buy me a high school class ring, because all my friends were getting one. We were sitting at the kitchen table as my mom told me we just didn’t have the money. And I was petulant, see-sawing my foot back and forth, back and forth, in my trademark fidgety, I’ve been wronged move.

 

I’m doing it now.

 

So I begged and I cried and I yelled and I pouted, and my dad gave me what I wanted. And my mom was pissed. And she took it out on me by not talking to me for a long time.

 

My dad usually gave in to me, because he was just like me, and understood me and felt sorry for me and wanted to give his little girl what she wanted.

 

And that must have sucked for my mom. I know I’d be angry at my husband if he didn’t support my decisions or back me up and gave the kids whatever they wanted when they wanted it.

 

Fifteen years later, after my mom had passed away, my dad told me that when they bought me the class ring, they’d only had $32 in their bank account.

 

So, yeah.

 

My mom must’ve felt powerless and disrespected. And she probably wished I would try to understand instead of just wanting what I wanted.

 

She most likely felt tired all the time. She worried about my dad a lot, too, when he was on the road, (with good reason), so that probably took a lot of mental energy.

 

As a mother myself, I know that I react less than positively to my children’s demands on my time and energy when I’m in a negative space.

 

This is getting easier.

 

I’d also like to say on my mom’s behalf that she never really learned to love.

 

My dad tells the story of my mom bursting into tears on the flight to their honeymoon when he asked her if her mom loved her.

 

I remember my grandparents and they were stern Germans, not prone to affection or lovingness.

 

I also remember my aunt telling me that she never talks to her brothers and sisters about anything personal, because they just weren’t raised that way.

 

So, I’m understanding my mom a bit more.

 

Maybe my mom didn’t NOT love me. Maybe she didn’t know how.
And was too tired to try sometimes.

 

I’ll come back to this.

Because my next step is to DECIDE to forgive. And that’s gonna be a doozy.

 

More here.

 

Learning To Forgive, Update #2

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

AGENDA ITEM #1: FINALLY FORGIVE OLD SLIGHTS

The set-up:
I think I’ve moved on. But when the person’s name comes up or I’m reminded of how I’ve been hurt by anyone, in any way, at anytime, my anger flashes.
What’s that Oprah says? Not forgiving someone is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. I don’t think I’ve admitted to myself how my inability to forgive has affected my psyche, my health, my emotional stability. SO. I am going to consciously forgive.

 

Here are my steps:

  • Remember the slight. Really detail it in my mind and feel what I felt then.
  • Put myself in the other person’s shoes and look at the situation through their eyes.
  • Make a decision to forgive. It doesn’t just happen. I must decide to move on.
  • Say a prayer that I can let go.

 

Some forgiveness will be tough, I’ll have to admit. I have a long-standing hurt from a relationship with my mom. And even though she passed away and on her deathbed, I told her all was forgotten, it wasn’t really. Not because I didn’t want to forgive. But when I think of my childhood dynamic with my mom, I think like a child. I’m forever stuck in that time, and I react as a child would. This isn’t just a slight, either. This is a long-running relationship issue, where I truly believed my mother did not love me. I am angry that I was misunderstood and I wish she would have treated me as a child, instead of as an annoying woman.

 

I best remember this feeling with my mom starting when I was in the first grade and I asked her if she loved me “one more” than my dad. Instead of saying what I wanted her too — “yes,” or even “I love you differently,” she stubbornly held on to a “no.” I didn’t understand the nuances of the “no,” and so the dynamic began — my trying to pull affirmation from my mom, and her pushing back and not giving me what I needed (or wanted). Oh. The anger is still there. This is going to be a tough one folks. I’ll report back.

Being A Better Person: Learning to Forgive Update #1

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

This is part 1.

 

AGENDA ITEM #1: FORGIVE (UPDATE)

 

Well, this first agenda item is going OK.

 

I spent a lot of my Road to Oprah time working primarily on forgiveness for my mom. I think that one’s the jim dandy and if I can forgive that, then the rest will come easy.

 

For years, I’ve reacted with anger or silence when prompted to talk about the dynamic I had with my mom. It’s caused me much pain. I never really understood why I’ve been so mad about this even this many years later…but I think I realized it shaped me and gave a pattern to my interpersonal dynamics that I’ve grown to detest. For instance, I married my mom and I live the same dynamic even now. God works in mysterious ways. He really wants me to figure this out, so he put it right there in my face. Now, every day I struggle with not falling into the same pattern with my husband that I did with my mom.

 

My husband, like my mom, is a Rock. This brings good tidings. But it also brings stoicism, a certain emotionlessness (at least compared to my kite flying in the wind emotion), and an unflappability I find disconcerting, as I’m very flappable.

 

I read this as lack of caring, of unlove, of not worshipping the ground I walk on.

 

So, I set out to get as much affirmation from The Rock as possible, just as I did with my mom. And, when he doesn’t respond as I would have him do, I get angry. Really, really angry. And hurt.

 

I simply do not understand calm lovingness. I relate best to crazy, unpredictable, full frontal love. Not that I need that anymore, thanks to my stalker (that’s in a later broadcast). The fact that people can love me quietly is a lesson I’m learning.

 

Anyway, this was about forgiveness, wasn’t it?

 

Well, I think what I’ve discovered is that who I really need to forgive is myself. I did a lot of horrible things while trying to pull love out of my mom. Things like locking myself in my room and loudly shaking my contact lens saline pill bottle so she’d think I was going to OD on pills. Things like bad mouthing her to anyone who would listen. Truly soul-stripping, ugly things.

 

It’s not my mom I need to forgive. It’s me.

 

I need a minute…

 

Part 3.