Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Tribute To My Mom This Mother's Day

My mom
photo by tlpoague
These last few months have been busy constructing a schedule where I can write, do other creative projects, and spend time with my grandchildren. Unfortunately, it has left little time to read, comment, and write upon my other websites as I would like. I feel myself being sucked down into a black hole where I have begun to see myself as a failure.

I felt I was letting my readers down by not being able to commit myself to being online interacting with them. I felt I was letting my daughter down by not being available when she needed me. I felt I was letting my husband down by not spending one on one time with him. This led me down the rabbit hole of letting myself down for not completing projects or writing. I didn't want to think about family drama or other issues associated with it.

So, I called the one person whom I knew would understand what it was like to spread oneself so thin.

I called my mom.

"Mom, I need some inspiration." I told her. "I am feeling like I am trying to cram to much into too little time to fully enjoy what I am doing. Now I have writer's block again...along with a string of migraines."
My mom and me
photo by tlpoague

She chuckled.

"Why are you laughing?" I asked.

"Oh, honey, I remember those days." She replied.

I was feeling deflated and defeated. Now my mother was laughing at me. Well, not at me so much as at the situation.

"I am sure your readers will understand if you can't commit to writing everyday. Just write as time allows you to. As long as you do your best, the rest will fall into place. Don't force or rush it." She coaxed. "Remember when I would get into these slumps when we were writing for HubPages? You were full of advice how to freshen up a piece or help me go in the direction I wanted. I had no clue what I was doing, but you were always a phone call away to help. When was the last time you went back to read your earlier pieces?"
Hmm, I hadn't a clue. These days I am usually thinking about it but not acting on it. Maybe it was time to find the time.

This conversation made me recall a couple of her stories from HubPages, "I Swore I Wouldn't Sound Like My Mom", "Grandmothers Are Great Teachers".
My great-grandmother and part of the crew
photo by tlpoague
Oh, how these words have come back to haunt us many a time.

I can still see in my mind's eye, my eight-six year old great-grandmother on her knees, under the kitchen table, chasing my sister, Pie, with a fly swatter for putting her toes on the table. (Elbows and feet on the table were a big taboo in those days.) My mother would just stand there with a permanent grin that included visions of herself, doing those same actions just days before. I, too, have lost count how many time I have punished my own children with the intentions of not sounding like my mother, only to realize later how sound her advice was.

"I just can't seem to get motivated to cook, clean, or finish my craft projects. I want to do it, but...I feel a streak of laziness coming on, and my son will be here tomorrow." I amazed myself with how whinny I sounded.

"So..." Mom asked, "What's stopping you?"

"Umm...dunno...lazy...unmotivated?" I pondered.

"Excuses, that is all they are...excuses. Why aren't you playing your favorite music? Why don't you make a list you want to accomplish? Why are you whining? What happened to focusing on being positive?"

Now I remembered why I couldn't stand my children whining. I learned it from my mother. Good grief...what was I doing?

So, I tried to drum up something positive. I could feel the last few wires in my brain starting to smoke as I cranked over the engine.

"I have one for you." I told Mom as I focused on an idea, "you know how sometimes you don't see yourself as being talented until someone points it out?"

"Ya," I could hear her snacking on something, while she replied in a dreamy voice. I was beginning to lose her.

"The other day, while visiting with Little Man and his wife, I tried to show off my skills and whip up a meal from scratch."

"Oh," was the bored response.

"Yup, I could have broke the record with the worst apple crisp in the history of my baking." I began to brag.

Suddenly, as if the current changed, I could feel my mother's interest perk up. This was news to her. Rarely do I screw up something so simple.

"What happened?" She asked. Her curiosity sparked.

"Well, ya know how hard it is to cook at a hostess's place when they lack the ingredients and tools needed?" (I happened to be cooking at my son's place he had recently moved in to. He hadn't stocked up the place yet.)


Excited, I took a deep breath and launched into my story.

"I decided I wanted to make chicken noodle soup, with homemade noodles, mashed potatoes, and an apple crisp. I lacked a rolling pin, so, I made due with patting it out with my hands. Then I nearly took off a few fingers trying to cut the onions, carrots, and celery with a cheap knife. I had to use a tiny, flexible, paring knife to peel potatoes while chatting with Little Man's wife.  She was busy helping peal the apples for the crisp. That reminded me of Grandma M always scolding us for not peeling our produce paper thin. This caused both of us to laugh because we looked like we were taking chunks out of our peelings. After our task was done, Mrs. Man stepped back to watch me work in the kitchen. She was telling me that it amazed her how I could whip around so fast, multitasking, and still being able to hold a conversation. I must have had her pretty fooled, because I felt like I was a bit crazy and forgetful. She told me about how Little Man tried teaching her how to drive a stick shift. She mentioned that she had a hard time getting past second gear. I couldn't blame her, it took me forever to learn. Of course, I didn't mention this, I was too busy not burning anything and attempting to remember how to make the apple crisp. Then I remembered the kiddo had a cookbook I gave him. So I whipped it out, while Mrs. Man finished her story, and realized I needed a few more ingredients. So, off we headed to the store."

I paused for a moment for a breath.

I couldn't hear anything at the other end.

"Hello?" I asked.

"Ya, I'm here." Mom replied, "So, then what happened?"

"We jumped in the car and picked up our stories where we left off, till about a block away, when she interrupted me. She asked if I was driving a stick. Not thinking about it I said...ya, why? She gave me a look that there anything you can't do?
Gosh, I just assumed everyone knew the things we do. It didn't register that for some people they may not know how to bake, cook a certain item, crochet, or do many other homemaking skills.
This was about the time I realized how much we had in common. She was interested in learning how to do the things I was taught as a youngster. She couldn't believe that even Little Man knew how to do the basics of crocheting.
I mean, these are things that are common in our family. I grew excited at the prospect of teaching her, and others, what I have been taught. I love that I was given the ability to learn so much from my grandmothers and you. I feel really blessed that God has given us so many talents. Oh, ya, as for the apple crisp, I forgot to add the sugar, a dot of butter, and flour to it just like Grandma did"

It was in those precious moments that I realized, without saying much, my mother had given me a gift.

The motivation I was looking for.
My mom and my daughter
photo by tlpoague

I took a few moments to look beyond myself to my daughter and how far she has come. She is leading the next generation down a similar path as the ones the women before us have taken.

I just want to say thank you, Mom, for all your support. P.S., you'll need to check your posts on HubPages now. No more excuses...*smiles*

I'll look forward to seeing y'all again tomorrow for Moody Monday!

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