Celebrating the Messiness of Motherhood
My past Mother’s Day blogs have focused on singular aspects of motherhood. I’ve dug into how my dysfunctional childhood shaped me as a parent, the challenges of motherhood, the simultaneous joy and grief we mamas experience as our children grow older, and of course, I’ve saluted America’s #1 Mom; Carol Brady. Writing allows me to explore the different facets of motherhood in separate silos, but that’s not the way it works in real life.
As a real-life mom, I can experience joy, distress, mortification, pride, agitation, disappointment, and rage all within five minutes (sometimes less if my children are pressing all the right buttons- they are super talented in that regard). The longer I parent, the more I understand that motherhood is just about the messiest challenge a person can undertake.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Just kidding! I forgot to add the inevitable cheesy ending- but no matter what motherhood brings, there is one emotion that threads everything together; love. I love my children more than life itself and wouldn’t change a thing!
Good grief Charlie Brown! If I had a dime for every meme/social media post/ Hallmark card/ Hang in There cat poster from the 80s that expressed this sentiment, I would be celebrating Mother’s Day on my own private island! Don’t get me wrong, I do love my kids. But, ‘I wouldn’t change a thing’? – that’s just preposterous! Can’t we just say we love our kids and leave it at that? Some may say that I’m a mean-spirited cynic who is casting a cloud of pessimism over Mother’s Day. It is to you imaginary readers that I blame for this next part. I could have left this Mother’s Day blog alone as a fun-loving snarky examination of motherhood. But you had to go and challenge my mommy integrity. I now have no choice but to derail this blog from funny and light-hearted to full-blown sentimental. Buckle your seat belts, this blog is about to veer off the road….
Having been in critical condition in the hospital for nearly six months after my daughter’s birth, I found myself back in the Intensive Care Unit. I had been battling devastating medical odds and desperately wanted to get home and raise my newborn and a three-year-old. Hours after having a trach tube reinserted (with no anesthesia btw- I don’t want to brag, but we moms are a bunch of tough mother f*****ers- just sayin’) due to aspirating, I decided it was time to let go……
“What is the point in working so hard, if I just keep ending up back in the ICU? Okay, so I am going to die here. I am going to die here in this hospital. I will never get out. I will never see the light of day again. Emily will never know me, and she will be haunted all her days with the role that her birth played in my death. Ari probably won’t even remember me. They’ll both grow up in a house with a disgruntled father who yells and screams and generally does not relate well to children. Emily will not have her mother by her side for all the special moments daughters are supposed to share with their mothers. I will miss my children’s pre-school graduations,
them going to kindergarten, I will miss their T-ball games and ballet recitals, I won’t be there at their bar and bat mitzvahs, I will miss teaching them to drive, seeing them graduate, driving them to college, and walking them down the aisle on their wedding days, I will miss having grandchildren… I will miss all the momentous occasions and all the mundane ones in between. My children will not know the tender touch of their mother, or have the emotional support that only mothers can supply. Ari will have had only three years with his mother, and Emily, poor Emily, she will have had twelve hours with me. I will be nothing more to Emily than a picture of a stranger. Dave will probably remarry, but that would mean a stepparent for Ari and Emily, and I know how that goes. Okay, God, I surrender! I am done, I am done, I am done. I have no fight left. My spirit has been hit with a wrecking ball. I am a hollow shell of my former self. Who can live like this, waiting to die at any moment, wondering every time I see my children if it will be my last moment with them? I am so done. This is it. If I am not going to make it out of here alive, then please just end this already. Put my family and me out of our misery.” (excerpt taken from Does This Hospital Gown Come with Sequins?)
Good thing I changed my mind a minute later….
“Come on, Lisa… Pull yourself together, rally. I CANNOT LEAVE MY KIDS! Damn it, I’m not leaving my kids. I will not leave my children. I simply will not do it… Dying is not an option, just take it out of the equation. There is no way I am leaving Ari and Emily. I have to be their mother.” (excerpt taken from Does This Hospital Gown Come with Sequins?)
I’m sorry I had to go off the tracks with such heavy content on Mother’s Day, but I swear I have a point. And here it is: being a Mom isn’t always joyous, or tragic, or frustrating, or funny, or warm and fuzzy, or maddening, or amazing, or horrendous, or boring, or thrilling, or……..you fill-in-the-blank. Being a Mom is all those things rolled into one hell of a messy existence that I am unbelievably grateful I didn’t miss.
And with that, my dear readers, I shall leave you with the final words from my book (yes, I know I’ve made several shameless plugs for my book in this blog- back off man- it’s Mother’s Day!)
“It all boils down to that great Dave Mathews Band quote, ‘the space between the tears we cry is the laughter that keeps us coming back for more. I vow to always come back for more.’
Disclaimer: I feel badly about thinking my husband would have been a disgruntled father if I had kicked the bucket. To be fair, I was half-dead at the time and majorly delusional. Please read this to see what a great Dad he is!