Yesterday, as I looked at my butterfly covered sun-dress, I realized…
As we are blooming bright, beautiful, young and strong, remember that young and strong will fade, and the real beauty is you and it comes from the inside out through the petals we show the world.
When we leave this world, we must leave behind memories of our strength and our beauty for our children.
Today as you water your blooms and trim your branches, remember, what you do today is what your children will remember tomorrow.
When you are gone, they will have nothing but memories so make each memory a beautiful one and as to the ones that are filled with pain, because we all have those too, try to heal them before you go.
Love does not conquer all but it is a wonderful balm to put on wounds.
Nothing, nothing is stronger than a mother’s love however screwed up and twisted she may be at times…she loves you with every inch of her being.
Your mother’s love for you is the beauty, even the faded, dried-out twisted blooms have beauty beyond compare and the dried-out blooms have value if only to remind you of her beauty when she was in full bloom…
As you bloom today, prepare for what you leave behind. tomorrow. What have you planted in your garden?
What needs to stay and what needs to go?
Don’t hold on to what has already died.
Nurture the living blooms while you have time, because to each flower, there is a season and to everything but love, there is an end.
Jeanne Marie, 2015
Are you crazy? Not yet? Well, you can always try motherhood! It worked for me. Okay, so most women love babies. Women are attracted to babies due to a very basic, maternal instinct. Reason and logic are only slightly involved in this picture. The longing to have a baby is so strong in most women that those who can’t conceive are devastated. Babies are so precious, all soft and cuddly, and they’re even more adorable when they start to smile and coo.
Additionally, there’s no sweeter fragrance than the aroma a baby sends forth, fresh from his bath, swaddled in a Downy soft blanket. Combine that with the essence of Johnson’s baby powder and rare would be the woman whose hormones could resist the “maternal urge.” You visit your friend and her new baby one afternoon. When your husband comes through the door that evening you say, “Oh honey, I want to have a baby!”
Well, I’m here to set the story straight and reveal some well-kept secrets about motherhood. I’ll tell you secrets that will expose the reality behind the charming, family portraits from Wal-Mart, those costly, cheap pictures we love to hang on our living room walls. The things that women who are already caught never tell to the women who are still free. Misery loves company and we can’t bear to see the smug expression on your faces as you say, “My kids are going to be different.”
Let’s start with the pregnancy. One night, you and the man of your dreams make wild, passionate love and as a result you become pregnant. (Sometimes, this occurs even when you’re using three different types of birth control. What a miracle!)
Pregnancy. An awkward word, don’t you think? Rightly so, because in about eight months you will be as awkward as your worst nightmare. By the ninth month, you can’t sleep more than twenty minutes without waking up to go to the bathroom. You’ll forget what your feet looked like. Shaving your legs will be a fond memory. You’ll be praying for labor pains and once they start, you’ll be praying for the strength to get out of those stirrups and kill the man who did this to you. As you begin to scream swears in the labor room (swears your husband has never even heard before) little does he realize, you are saving the superlative curses. They will come out of your mouth, unbidden, in the delivery room.
You’ll think, thank God, as the nurse lays the baby on your stomach. The doctor lets your husband (if he hasn’t fainted or run away) cut the baby’s umbilical cord and you both count the ten, tiny fingers and toes. One nurse takes the baby off to be bathed and another nurse kneads and beats on your stomach. (I kid you not!) They wheel you back to your room and you fall asleep thinking, it’s over. (No, I’m afraid it’s just beginning.)
You’ll be so sick of maternity clothes (designed by men who have never carried forty extra pounds around their waist) that you’ll give them to the first pregnant woman you see. Even if it’s your husband’s old girlfriend. Your husband might gently ask, “Why don’t you keep them for the next time, sweetheart?” and that’s when he will learn about post-partum blues. I don’t think I’ll give all the secrets away; let’s save the “baby blues” for a surprise.
The baby is home. Your friends and your family have left. Your husband has gone back to work. At that moment, reality rears it’s ugly head. You are out of diapers (the baby has soiled twenty-four since yesterday), so you decide to get dressed and go to the store. “Whose jeans are these?” you ask. “Why can’t I get my jeans up over my hips?” You double check the closet to make sure these are your clothes. In tears, you pull on an old pair of stretch pants and one of your husband’s sweatshirts. Get used to them. It’s the uniform of motherhood, and will soon be as comfortable as an old friend.
The baby pooped his last diaper while you were rummaging in the closet, and as you pick him up, he regurgitates down the front of your sweatshirt. (That’s part of the uniform.) The fragrance that your friend’s baby radiated the day you held it, is lacking in your infant. She forgot to tell you that babies don’t stay clean. You sit down, crying, and you call your mother. She brings diapers and advice. “Save your tears for when he is a teenager,” she tells you. “This is easy, compared to that.” You don’t believe her. You think maybe she’s just being sarcastic. (However; years from now her words will haunt you, as your child goes to school, learns to drive and chooses his own friends.)
I think you’ve got the general picture concerning babies. Let’s move on to my personal favorite. The terrible two’s. This usually strikes when the child is between one and two years old and lasts until he moves out. At the onset of this natural childhood disaster, he learns to talk and how to say “NO!” He may forget how to poop on the potty, how to pick up his toys or how to eat with a spoon, but he will never forget how to say, “NO!”
He will get into your record collection, he will get into your books and he will get into your child-proof cabinets. He will climb into the refrigerator at 6:00 a.m., but he will never climb willingly into a warm bath! He will climb into your bed when he is sick and vomit on you as you sleep. “Momma, I’m sick,” will be his excuse. ( Just because the child is six years old and knows where the bathroom is, don’t expect him to use it.)
Young couples fall in love and get married, usually thinking that having children will be the ultimate expression of their love. Survival of the human race is ensured by our urge to reproduce and by our raging hormones. However; if given a choice, how many women would actually go back and do it all again? Ann Landers took a survey on that subject and was shocked at the response. The majority of people who answered the survey voted no, they would decide not to have children, if they had it to do over.
Somewhere, there is a perfect mother who has raised healthy, well-adjusted children. She has balanced the demands of motherhood and a part-time job. She has never had any major problems with her teenagers. She has no guilt or regrets, and she is happy that she gave up her life for her children. When you find her, let me know, because I’d like to meet her.
Each child you bring into this world will brand you. My body bears the scars of my children’s births. I had three cesarean sections and my scars cover the area my bathing suit used to bare. (I’m not even going to discuss stretch marks.) I’ve been doomed to a one-piece suit for all eternity.
My heart and soul bear their own scars. Years of toddler temper tantrums, hyperactive children, teenage mutiny, rebellion, hard rock and rap music, they have all taken their toll. Clothes borrowed and never returned. Disappearing makeup. Teenage pregnancies that made me a premature grandmother. School meetings with various principals and teachers, meetings where I was made to feel like an incompetent mother. (As the years passed, I began to have my husband go to these meetings. They never yelled at him.) Motherhood strips you of your dignity, your rights and eventually your vocabulary.
Some women manage to save their brain and can take it out of storage after the last teenager moves out. With a little dusting, it can be restored to an adult brain. Warning: attempting this restoration with even one teenager still living at home can cause further damage! For example, when I asked my teenage son to turn down his stereo so I could do my college assignments, he told me, “You don’t need to go to school; you’re too old.”
What was he really saying? “I want my mother’s attention. I want her to cook me a big meal. I want her to clean my room and entertain me. Unless one of my friends comes by and then I’m out of here!”
He was also thinking, “You’re not a student; you’re my mother!” I was thinking, “You’re not too old to slap!”
Motherhood drains you, uses you up and leaves a huge hole in your heart when your children leave home. If your child gets pregnant or decides to abuse drugs, it will be considered your fault. Even if it isn’t your fault, you will eventually accept society’s diagnosis, because mothers are supposed to be perfect, in complete control. This theory does not allow for the fact that children have their own personality, outside influences and other people in their life.
When will your child become mature enough to thank you for all you’ve given him, given up for him? Usually, that doesn’t happen until he has children of his own. However; with daughters, you can be almost sure it will happen right after the birth of her first child. Maybe even during the delivery.
Sometimes, your husband leaves, long before the kids are grown. He has a choice. You do not. Your time, your energy and all of your resources will go into raising your children. Did I mention the mounds of laundry, the piles of dirty dishes and the mountains of meals you will cook? Well, that’s another story in itself.
There is a positive side to motherhood, but when your children are teenagers it’s hard to remember that fact. I enjoyed having babies and I loved staying home with them when they were small. As I watched my first grandson come into this world, I was overwhelmed with an incredible rush of love and excitement! It was breathtaking to see the miracle of his birth. My grandchildren are precious and by far the best gift motherhood has given me.
As I read Parents magazine the other day, I noticed that most of the articles concerned problems that arise when raising children and how to solve them. The title of this article really caught my eye: “Survival Guide for New Moms.”
So, even Parent’s magazine concedes, it’s a question of survival!
When you’re thinking about that beautiful baby you’d like to have, remember this advice–babies are easy to have, labor included, compared to the strenuous task of raising them. Your career will be motherhood, trust me. Everything else in your life will come second. I’m sure many women would disagree with my views on motherhood. But don’t even let them approach me, unless they have already raised at least one child.
Do I love my children? Yes, enormously. Would I choose to become a mother if I had a chance to start over? I’m not sure. I can’t picture my life without them in it, but my children needed so much more and I had so much less than what they needed.
Motherhood has taught me numerous valuable lessons. We learn how to raise our children by rock, hard experience and by the time we’ve developed the necessary skills, our children are grown-up and they have children of their own.
On the plus side, the experience does prepare us for grand-parenting.
I have fourteen grandkids and three great-grandbabies. Their ages span from twenty-five-years old to four-months.
Happy Birthday, Jodie Lynne
Today is my younger daughter’s fortieth birthday. Since we couldn’t be together, we created a substitute plan. We would celebrate over the phone.
When she called me, we only talked about things that made us happy. We talked about her silky-haired Chihuahua that I am raising, Maggie Mae, we talked about other dogs that we have loved through the years and we spoke of our happy dreams, instead of our nightmares.
We talked about peanut butter and marshmallow fluff being her favorite birthday cake (today) and how grateful she was to have snacks in her locker so that she didn’t have to go to the cafeteria to eat on her birthday.
For me, as on this date every year; I am thinking about the morning that she came into my life. She made a grand entrance, all 5-pounds 6-ounces of her. Her daddy had ordered me to have a boy and he meant it, so when they told me I had a beautiful little girl, I started to cry.
It had been a rough birth, a planned C-section, but the spinal that didn’t work before they made the incision was not part of the plan, so I was a bit overwhelmed and the moment she was out, I was over-drugged to compensate for their mistake. Then, they brought her to me and the moment I saw her little face shaped like a pink heart, I fell in love with her. She was so tiny and so cute that she looked like a dolly, not like a real baby.
Everyone’s life is complicated, hindsight is an incredible tool to beat yourself with and you can do some real damage. I often find ways to blame myself for every unwise choice this beautiful woman has made, but I’m not going to do that today.
Today, I am going to celebrate her life, her birthday and the fact that when she is sober, she is full of Grace and Light. I will celebrate the day twenty years ago when she taught me to open myself to the spirit of our Universe, the Sun, the Moon, the Earth, the Stars, the Wind and the Rain. The day she taught me to stand barefoot outside and to raise my arms up to the sky so I that I could ground myself in the beauty and the strength of God’s love through the elements He created. I still try to remember to do this every morning and what my daughter taught me that day changed my life.
Today, I will celebrate the precious gift that her aliveness gives me, no matter where she has to rest her head on her birthday.
As my daughter falls asleep tonight, in the gritty gloom of Eddie Warrior’s Correctional Center in Oklahoma, I will fall asleep in sun-drenched Florida. But we will be together in spirit. I will hold her tight in my heart, I will keep her ever constant in my prayers and if I am blessed, tonight she will stop in for a visit as I dream.
Happy Birthday, Jodie Lynne
Special thanks to Michelle Marie for the awesome family picture above.
one rose strong against the wind
you think you stand alone
but you are surrounded
by other generations
in every stage of bloom.
they stand with you till
their luscious petals drop
to the ground along the way
together in the garden
alone on your stem
your thorns attempt
to keep the pickers away
life prunes and trims
until you feel
as if you are gone
but that isn’t so
every leaf grown
from your limbs
reaches for the sky
they keep your blooms alive
so bloom for them my rose
and thus your sweetness
continues to live on and on
and you will never die.
It all started with a can of pink paint. I was sitting on my porch when my husband came home from running errands and he proudly handed me a can of hot pink paint.
He had a big smile on his face as I whooped and hollered and took the can of paint from him.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” I said. “Is this for my porch?”
“I got it to do the front door,” he answered.
“You said you wanted a hot pink front door, but if you want it for your porch, you can have it. I wasn’t sure how dark to get anyway and it might be a bit light for the door.”
“Oh yes,” I said, “much too light for the door, perfect for the porch.”
“Well it’s your porch and you always said you wanted it pink, with a yellow ceiling, so why not?”
And that is exactly how a can of pink paint started a three-day work of love project.
He went back to the store and bought me a perfect sunshine yellow for the ceiling and a darker hot pink for the front door. We painted the porch together and it was exciting to watch a daydream turn into reality. We don’t usually work well together, but our 32nd anniversary was the same weekend we painted the porch, so maybe that’s the reason we spent three happy days together, painting, tearing out a thirty-year old rug, laying a new floor and having fun.
By the fourth day, we were giving each other a bit too much advice, but we finished the porch without a fight and that makes the porch even more special to me.
The morning after we finished he went out and came back with a surprise, an antique plant stand, the perfect last touch. Now, no matter how dreary or rainy the day gets, my porch is glowing with happy, sunshine, flowers and good memories. I also got the PINK front door!
Last week, my husband and I painted our porch. We did the ceiling in sunshine yellow, some bright pink on the trim and we weren’t sure what to do with the panels on the bottom.
After painting the first day, I took a shower and tried to relax. When it was dusk outside, I went out on the porch just to see the colors again. First thing I noticed was the yellow ceiling carried its glow to a wall outside.
Looking at all the changes that we had already made, I got in the mood to paint just a bit more. I stood there, trying to decide what color would go best on the bottom panels, but I drew a blank. I said, “Oh God, I don’t know what color to pick.” (I was serious.)
The light out there was low and I didn’t want to go in for a flashlight to shine on all the paint cans, so I opened a can of what I thought was a pale pinkish gray lavender that I had gotten on sale. Somebody had ordered it up and then had come to their senses, that’s my guess, and it had just been waiting for me to come along.
I opened it and began to paint the bottom panels. I couldn’t really judge the color that I was using without a stronger light, so I just hoped for the best and after painting a few panels, I went to bed, thinking if it looked awful I could always paint it again.
When I got up and went out on the porch, I said to my husband, “Wow that lavender actually matches the paint we used to trim the house. It looks pink.”
He took a look and he said, “Yeah it does, because it is the same color as the trim on the house. I got another gallon to touch up outside.” We started to laugh.
The color was perfect because it brought the porch in line with the trim outside and it blended well with the sunshine yellow and the hot pink.
I never would have picked that color for my inside porch, but when I blindly reached for a can, prayed and hoped for the best, it turned out perfect. Maybe that’s how things happen when we give it to God and we let go.
Maybe painting in the dark is the only way to choose the right color. I don’t know but it worked for me.
I have to believe that He helps me with the little things, the minute by minute decisions I make each day or I couldn’t believe He helps me with the huge things.
Even so, it was a wonderful surprise to see that my hand had been led to open the soft pink paint because that shade brought the room together with the outside of the house.
Sometimes, you just have to paint in the dark and hope for the best.
Jeanne Marie, 2014
It seems to me that when I have time to write, my mind doesn’t cooperate and I don’t have a thing to write about anyway. Yet; when I’m busy, I have so much to write about and I don’t have the time.
I’ve been thinking about it because I have been extremely busy this past year, flying all around the country at least once a month and sometimes more often.
I’ve met three great grand-babies in two states, attended my nephew’s funeral, driven my daughter (who lives in Oklahoma) to court three times and then one more trip to deliver her to serve her sentence, reconciled with a sister and a daughter I have been separated from for about ten years, made several long over-due visits to family and my adventures have included numerous miracles.
I also had a miraculous operation on my right shoulder three years ago and I haven’t written about that experience yet. My son survived a horrendous car accident three years ago and nope, I haven’t written about that either. I have so much to be grateful for and yet, I haven’t honored these life altering events in my usual style, writing.
I do carry a journal everywhere I go, especially when I travel and I write quite a bit in long hand, but getting it into the computer and into my blog is the challenge for me.
So, to be kind to myself, I just whisper, “Good writer, at least you wrote some of your experiences down on paper. Somebody will read your journals, someday.”
While that soothes the raging writer in me, a woman driven to write and share since she was eight-years-old, it doesn’t solve my dilemma.
The over whelming task of organizing the thousands of articles, poems and stories that I have written by hand over the last eight years (not even counting the boxes of typed writing in my spare bedroom, AKA, the Writing Room) is my toughest challenge.
I debate with myself about hiding all the notebooks in the house (hundreds) in an attempt to force myself to write on the computer, thus cutting out the transfer task.
I would do it, but I think that I just don’t want to write on the computer anymore.
Strange, because I wrote constantly on my computer from 1990 to 2007. My computer felt like an extension of my hands and it became the writing tool that I used exclusively.
However, my enthusiasm for technology died down somewhere along the way.
I have rediscovered the rush that flows through my veins when my pen races across the lined pages of a new notebook. Perhaps my pleasure is triggered by the smell of the paper or simply by the old familiar style of writing.
As the pages fill, including editorial notes clear to the borders, my pulse pounds in a rhythm that the computer never arouses.
I need to write because words swirl around in my brain until I write them down and not because I chose to be a writer, but because I am a writer.
I started this article to tell my friends how much I have missed writing and connecting with them through their posts on WordPress. Did I mention that I have a very short attention span? On the plus side, I wrote this note on my computer!
We have put our home in Florida on the market and we are looking for a home in New Hampshire. My 14th grand child is due the first week in December. I don’t think I will be slowing down soon!
Imagine a forest where the colors run free
you might see a pink and blue hibiscus
and you can rest under a lavender tree.
Purple lace drapes the branches above
as you stroll through the violets and lilacs
happy forever, dancing in a forest to love.
Imagine a forest where the colors run free
where the rain drips pink marshmallows
and Swiss Hot Chocolate always is free.
A little house you could call your own
with thousands of books waiting to be read
and never, ever, the sound of a ringing cell phone.
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