On Motherhood

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What do you wish someone had told you before you had kids?

All the planning in the world cannot prepare you for becoming a mother. Even if you received too much advice from other moms while you were pregnant, you only realize this fact after you give birth—not a moment prior.

You will take pictures and videos—lots of them. From hearing the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of your baby’s heartbeat to grasping ultrasound pics in hand to your husband’s photo capture of you with a tear streamed face holding your precious baby in your arms for the first time to waving good-bye at the bus stop while your stomach lurches to your daughter going to her first middle school dance to talking about the birds and bees to waking up one day and your son is grown-up, you will capture every important moment with a snapshot and/or video clip—and then some.

Real parenting is not your friends’ Facebook shares. Facebook is not the real world. Seeing highlights of your friends’ posts, whether it’s viewing pictures of their little ones who are reading novels by the age of 3, potty trained by age 2 using the M&M’s method (it does work sometimes), or playing concertos at age 4, is not reality—even though the photos may be cute. Reality is:  little ones will become preteens, next teens, and then they will go off to live their own lives. Your heart may feel like breaking but you will be proud—so proud. Welcome to the real world.

You will always be a mother. This reality will never change no matter how large your son’s shoes are or how your daughter towers over you in heels or if your kids become chefs, police officers, teachers, or parents themselves or if they adorn their bodies with tattoos or piercings or if they grow their hair out and join rock bands—whatever. After the umbilical cord is cut, you are forever mom. If you are lucky, you will become grandmom at some point. Love will never be in short supply.

You won’t ever be the same—never ever. From the moment you find out that you are carrying a life inside you, the ground will careen under you, you may see stars, and you will free fall into a love that no life alert call could rescue you from. You wouldn’t want to be rescued. You fell hard and thank God every day for it.

You are a mother. Imperfect at best yet filled with love so consuming that its presence is like breathing. You wouldn’t have it any other way.

To my mom, I know now–and I appreciate everything you are to me. You are the best. To my beautiful children, you will always be mine. I adore you.

~Pamela

Monday Memories

Since my friend, Mary, over at Living with Food Allergies and Celiac Disease, started Monday Memory (which takes place the last Monday of the month), I thought it was the perfect day to reminisce (of course, it’s not the last Monday of the month but, hey, you should know me by now)

Nearly all my best, childhood memories include my family. Sun soaked, water logged days spent swimming in Non and Pop’s pool with my brother, mom, and dad, inhaling the Intercoastal with its pungent, sulphur smell that smacked my sinuses, stalking the brown water, dockside, hoping to see a silver eel streak by.

Memories that also involve the Atlantic Ocean which was just a short walk across A1A from their condo, the mysterious body of water that housed millions of varieties of life.  Whose beaches I lay upon under moonlight, motionless, transfixed, watching as the dark, shadowy sea turtles came ashore to dig nests and lay their eggs. The buoyant salty waves that lapped at my soul. Tides which pulled life’s negativity, ugliness, harshness out to sea till they became little specks on the horizon.  

Just some of the magical powers of memory–like a small town revival with its hallelujahs and deception entangled under one tent.   Fortunately for me (and something most kids take for granted), I only experienced the Messiahs during childhood–the joys and carefree days which blurred into years that formed me like wet sand in the hands of a master sculptor. 

My being, my core, my inner child is grainy, sun streaked, and dampened by salt spray. My remembrances which I keep dusted and lovingly displayed in my heart are happy and messy. They leave sandy footprints behind as they traipse through the years to find me where I am now. They slip into my dreams and cover me in beach sunflowers. They resurrect my beloved Nonnie and Pop-Pop whose wrinkled hands stroke my sun bleached hair, whose dark, Italian eyes speak love, whose lips utter “mange” and “I love you.”

My memories are my buried treasure, coin upon golden coin, hidden from the surface, yet, shallow enough to dive for whenever life becomes overwhelming or hateful or unforgiving. They are my secret to survival. They are. . .and I am.

 

 

 

The Flash

 “There is such a place as fairyland – but only children can find the way to it. And they do not know that it is fairyland until they have grown so old that they forget the way. One bitter day, when they seek it and cannot find it, they realize what they have lost; and that is the tragedy of life. On that day the gates of Eden are shut behind them and the age of gold is over. Henceforth they must dwell in the common light of common day. Only a few, who remain children at heart, can ever find that fair, lost path again; and blessed are they above mortals. They, and only they, can bring us tidings from that dear country where we once sojourned and from which we must evermore be exiles. The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and story-tellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland.”

~L.M. Montgomery (The Story Girl)

Dear Readers,

L.M. Montgomery has been one of my favorite writers from the time I was a tween and I first read Emily Climbs.  I was enamored by her main protagonist, Emily, who loved writing, life, nature, and was filled with “gumption.”  She experienced “the flash” and from the moment I read about her experience in the text, I felt at home between those pages I eagerly devoured (metaphorically speaking of course :-) ).  Emily writes, “Words are such fascinating things. . . The very sound of some of them–’haunted’–’mystic’–for example, gives me the flash. (Oh, dear! But I have to italicize the flash. It isn’t ordinary–it’s the most extraordinary and wonderful thing in my whole life. When it comes I feel as if a door had swung open in a wall before me and given me a glimpse of–yes, of heaven).”  Lovely!  She summarized for years how I felt as a small child when stories would sneak up from behind and demand I write them by nightlight (risking my mom or dad catching me awake when I was already supposed to be fast asleep on a school night). 

I hope never to forget the feeling when I capture a moment so real, so intense, so full of passion or grief or joy.  When I am allowed glimpses into my past from my muses and these backward glances overwhelm me, I can once again BE that barefoot four-year old child riding a green bike with a suede banana seat or I can taste honeysuckle nectar on my tongue or I can inhale the neighbors’ perfumed orange blossoms that fill me with summer calm.  I am so grateful for emotions that may be expressed in words, words that are as real to me as this laptop I am typing on or the comfy bed I sleep in or the stir fry I will later make.  Today, I was granted this gift of just BEing and I am thankful.

xoxo,

Pamela

Suave, Four-Legged Children

I’m from a soflo city which, in recent years (about the last 20 or so) has become somewhat of a suave place to live.  Part of the suaveness includes numerous Starbucks (thank God) and a posh mall that, when I was a child, had a toy store and a Taco Viva (yes, for a seven-year old kid, it was thrilling). Now there is a plethora of stores I do not know the names of (excluding Juicy because that’s just sheer fun to pronounce). But I digress.

I am an allergy queen.  I will not bore you with the details but the only pets I am aware of that will not aggravate my asthma or allergies are reptiles (yep, turtles, snakes, lizards etc.). Fish are safe, too, but not an option.  Years of living with lone Betas that required their own little containers (because the pretty males would kill one another if put in the same tank), certain water, special fish food, who managed to persist way beyond the normal goldfish life span (one of them survived five years even after accidentally ending up in the disposal), no way, no how.  You get the drift.

Back to my original point.  People here like dogs.  A lot.  They love them actually.  Many people act like the dogs are their children.  Some of the dogs ARE children.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love dogs.  Have always loved dogs.  Will always love dogs.  I was fortunate enough to have two of the dear creatures growing up (they were a girl’s best friend).  But, they were DOGS.  They did not sit at the dinner table, have their own laptops, and sport designer clothing.  In my city, though, a phenomenon exists.  I’d call it a trend but it’s bigger than that.  More like a revolution.  A doggie revolution.  Not only do dogs have their own park, they now travel (many of them complete with doggie seat belts and sunglasses) to such places as the aforementioned posh mall.  And high-end restaurants.  And Whole Foods.  And Starbucks.  The owners of large dogs showcase their “children” by diamond studded leashes.  The “children” flaunt pink leather collars with engraved, sterling dog tags.

Look, a working dog helping someone to live a normal life (or as close to a normal life as possible), fabulous.  Police canines who fight crime, sniff out drugs, and help to protect my community, awesome.  Childhood pets like Buster, Max, and Molly, who are home chilling where they should be, wonderful.  I’m not referencing these fantastic animals.

I’m speaking about Fifi, Diego, and Persia whose doggie doo I step in when I come out of Starbucks.  Who I spot scouring The Mall perched in their comfy, cushiony STROLLERS!  Where else in the world, with the exception of Beverly Hills, can you walk through The Mall and see a pair of dachshunds side by side in their pink, double wide STROLLER?  I know, I know.  I grew up here.  I am a native and I swear it wasn’t like this twenty-five years ago.  I find myself irritated enough to consider showing up with an adopted “child” in a stroller, too.  Only my “child” would be roughly twelve feet long, have brown blotches up and down its back, and would curl up nicely in its STROLLER.  Of course, when it would get hungry, I’d be sure to drop into the nearest pet store to pick up a few rats or rabbits. At least my “child,” couldn’t send someone into anaphylactic shock.  A heart attack, maybe, but no Zyrtec necessary.  Please, people, leave your “children” home, safe and sound.  Those of us who are allergic, thank-you.

Butterweed

she stood a child amidst
waving grasses a cupped
butterweed flower in her
hands slowly she closed
her eyes letting the
azure mist of the skies
drench her soul gently
she began to pluck each
petal a flaxen butterfly
fluttering to the ground
descending in a graceful
dance he loves me he
loves me not he loves
me he loves me. . .
she paused eyes
closed

Pamela A. Rossow