Run With Me, Not Away From Me …

I know and understand that we are not all meant to be the same. I get that we were born to be original versions of ourselves, that we all have our own paths in life, that we all have our own destinies to find, and our own plan that is already predetermined and laid out for us by our Creator. I believe that wholeheartedly. However, I when it comes to those that are closest to you, you would think that we would be somewhat closer or more similar, especially when it comes to your own children.

I have four children. Yep, that’s not a typo, I did say FOUR. 4! Three boys, and one girl, the youngest. All four similar to me, yet all different in their own right.

I would be lying if I didn’t say that I wished that they were MORE like me in some respects, yet I appreciate their individuality and their uniqueness. I can’t turn them into Mini Me’s, nor do I believe that I want them to be “just like me.” As they get older, it’s difficult to try and keep them on the the same path that I am on. Try as I might, I can only do and say so much to try and persuade them to stay on course with me.

I watch and listen to them formulate their own decisions. Some I let them make on their own, others I believe they are not quite old enough to decide for themselves yet. I can put my two cents in and gently guide them back on track, or if need be, I can assert my authority as their mother and let my upper hand rule for the time being. Sometimes they look at me as if I were crazy and didn’t know what I was talking about, but for the most part, for now, they don’t resist, they just roll their eyes or cop an attitude but do as told.

I can’t control what happens when they are not in my line of vision. I can’t control their thoughts or make them do anything. I understand peer pressure and the influences that their friends may have on them. I can, however, let them know about my experiences and my thoughts on the matter and hope and pray that they make wise choices and decisions.

I worry about their futures. I stress about the things that they are or may be exposed to. I worry about the kinds of friends they may have chosen for themselves. I harp on and constantly nag them about doing their homework and doing well in school, and about doing certain chores around the house. I wonder what kind of people they will grow up to be.

The truth is … I have no control over this. I can’t determine or see the future. I can’t wrap them up in bubble wrap to shield them from life’s unfairness and harsh realities. I can’t hold on to them so tightly that they would only recoil and land farther away from me when let go.

It makes me sad to know that time is flying past me so quickly. I find myself wondering when did it happen that had to start looking up so look into their eyes? So many times I find myself wishing that I could do more, would have done more, had been more patient, took more time off. Believe me … it breaks my heart to know that my time with them is so limited. On the outside I may appear so strong, yet on the inside it takes all that I have to hold myself together when it comes to them.

This is not exactly where I was going with this blog post. I was writing this because I was thinking, and I wanted to write that sometimes I wish that my children (or at least one) enjoyed running. Mind you, I am thankful for the times that my boys have ridden their bicycles or skateboards beside me as I ran. I just feel that I spend so much of my time on foot that if they were to actually run beside me, we could spend a few more precious moments together. Alas, NONE of my children find pleasure in running … only in running away from me as I heard my Nathan jokingly tell someone recently when asked if he ran. My children enjoy swimming, baseball, football, and jump roping. I have one that loves poker, another that enjoys skateboarding, and one that I have have dubbed my “GQ” boy. But … I am NOT complaining. I would not have them any other way. I enjoy them as they are – they are their own people. A different, better, more improved version of me and their father … I love them all dearly.

It is my desire that they find wisdom eventually in my nagging – do your homework, study hard, do your chores, be nice to people, save some money, etc. I hope that they eventually learn that what I do, what I have done, I do/have done for them. And I find comfort in knowing that if I *really* wanted them to … Really, really wanted them to … I could just ask them and they would run with me … and that one run would be enough to last me a long time.

– Posted using BlogPress from my RowPhone =]

As I Drive With My Mother

It never fails … no matter how “old” I may be, the minute that I am in the company of my mother, I revert back to the child that I once was – the ornery child, always with something to say but biting my tongue in an effort to lay low and remain out of trouble.

Yesterday was no exception.

Driving beside my mother always causes me to take a defensive position.  For one, there’s really no where to hide.  I’m stuck and I have to listen to her talk to me as if I am once again a child.  Not only that, but I also have to take driving directions from her even though I own my own cars and have been driving since I was 15 1/2 years old.

I love the conversations that we have, mostly one sided, with her doing the majority of the talking, me just nodding and acknowledging her with the occasional short answer knowing that if I say anything it will be the wrong thing anyway.

Me:  Sniffling.

My Mom:  Why are you sick?

Me:   I’m NOT sick, Mom.

My Mom:  You are. What do you call it then?  Watch out for that car.

Me:  I’m NOT sick, Mom, and I see the car.

My Mom:  You should take antibiotics.  The light is red.

Me: I saw the red light, and I was already getting ready to stop. I don’t need antibiotics, Mom.

My Mom:  You do.

Me:   Mom, I know I don’t need them.  I’m a nurse.

My Mom:  I have some at home that you can take. It starts to sprinkle. Turn your wipers on.  The light is green, go.

Me:  I turn my wipers on and I have already started to go. Mom, you need to finish taking those when they give it to you.

My Mom:  Oh, I do, I just keep asking my doctor to refill it and I keep it until I need it.

Me:  I shake my head. Don’t do that, Mom.  You can’t just take antibiotics, they’re for specific illnesses.  One day you’ll really need them and they won’t work because you keep taking them.

My Mom:  What do you mean they won’t work?  Don’t you know that antibiotics kill infections, they will always work.  She sighs then changes the subject. You’re too skinny. I don’t think you’re eating enough and that’s one reason why you’re sick.

Me:  Mom, I’m not skinny, I am fit.  No, you’re too skinny.  Mom, I weigh xxx lbs.

My Mom:  What?  How can you be heavier than I am?  You are driving too fast.

Me:  I’m not driving fast enough. Mom, I’m muscular.

My Mom:  You need to eat.

Me:  Mom, I do eat.  I eat a lot.

My Mom:  I don’t think that you do.  I don’t think that you take care of yourself.

Me:  My eyebrows are raised at this point and I sigh deeply to myself.

My Mom:  You should stop exercising so much.  You’re already too skinny.

Me:  Mom, I’m not skinny.  I eat enough.  I am healthy because I eat good and because I workout.  I’m not sick.

My Mom:  I don’t think so, Rowena.  You’re already doing too much – working, taking care of your kids.  You don’t have time to workout.  Watch out for that car.  Brake!

Me:  There’s no reason for me to brake, I’m not going to hit anything. Mom …

At this point some update on Egypt or Libya comes on the radio …

My Mom:  Oh, my God.  Make sure you buy gas, pretty soon it will be over $4.00/gallon.  Be sure you stock up on food, too.

Me:  Mom, we’re not going to run out of gas or food.

My Mom:  How do you know?  Look at all the earthquake in New Zealand.  You never know what’s going to happen.

Me:  Mom, if we do, I’ll just ride my bicycle.

My Mom:  What about your kids?

Me:  Mom, they can ride their bikes too, and they’re not going to starve.

My Mom:  Don’t worry, I’ve been stock piling rice and other things.  You’re driving too close to that car.

Me:  I’m not driving too close to anyone. Mom, you shouldn’t buy so much food.  Just buy enough for yourself.  Food has an expiration date.

My Mom:  Pretty soon we will have another World War 3.

Me:  Mom, why are you worrying about that?

My Mom:  I have to worry about that.  You should worry about that also.

Me:  I’m not worried, Mom.

My Mom:  I should buy a new car. We are driving my Dad’s 2004 Mercedes that never gets driven.  She’s talking about her 1994 Nissan Maxima.

Me:  Mom, you don’t need a new car, just drive this one.

My Mom:  I can’t drive this one around.  Can you imagine if I drove this car to bingo?  Someone would think I had money and follow me out and rob me.  Joel (my brother) doesn’t think that I should drive it.

Me:  No one is going to rob you, Mom.  Just drive this one.  At this point I’m irritated that she doesn’t get that just because you own a Mercedes that you should just leave it in the garage.  Cars are meant to be driven!  It’s also pissing me off that my brother would believe that someone would harm our mother because of the kind of car she drives and tells her not to drive it. If you’re not going to drive it, Mom, then you should sell it and get a different car.

My Mom:  Now she’s irritated with ME! I can’t sell this car, it’s your Dad’s car!  Why would I sell it?  This is a luxury car, don’t you know that?  Your Dad loved this car, it was his dream to own it.  I can’t just drive it to bingo or to the grocery store.

Me:  I’m counting because I’m seething.  I can’t say what really I really want to say because that would be disrespectful, right?  I’m going to just keep my mouth shut!  Whatever.  She doesn’t get that “average” people own Mercedes nowadays, not just “rich” people.

At this point we are at our destination and I can’t wait to get out of the car.  It has only been a short drive, but it feels like the longest 20 minutes of my life.

Listen … The relationship that I have with my mom has not been an easy one and I get a lot of flack from others who don’t understand how difficult it has been for me because they have not walked in my shoes.  It has only been recently that my mother and I have reconnected.  I have come to accept that our relationship has not been perfect, nor will it ever be.  As an adult with children, I know now that she raised me as best as she knew how.  Much of what happened to me as a child is still difficult to swallow, but I believe that I have forgiven her for whatever shortcomings, faults, differences that I believe that she has had.  The best thing about being an adult, for me, is that I am free to keep to myself, stay in my own home, choose when to call her, and that I don’t have to see her or talk to her everyday.  I can say, “No” and not feel a lick of guilt.

I understand that commandment that says, “Thou shall honor thy father and mother.”  I get it, and I do for the most part.  I believe, though, that within that commandment, there is an understanding that parents should love and respect their children also.  I don’t believe that parents should be dictators as my mother was.  I believe that they should raise their children to be the best that they can be. asking their opinions, and actually talking to them instead of just telling them what to do.  I understand that parenting is by no means an easy job, but being a child and growing up is not easy either.  There’s so much to learn, and one learns best when their leader is open and guides.

I was always one who really, seriously wished that I had different parent  It’s not worth it to rehash my past, but I believe that the memories of my childhood are filled more with unhappy memories and I struggle to remember any happy ones.  It’s sad that I have such difficulty doing so.  I have asked my brothers what they recollect and what their memories and perceptions of things that have happened are, and their versions so very different from mine, so I keep my mouth shut and my memories to myself.  Funny how siblings can grow up in the same household with the same parents, etc., and our perceptions and memories differ vastly.

This much I know is true:  I am an adult that reverts back to that part of my childhood when in the presence of my mother, which means that I have a tendency to shut down and just let her do and say what she does and says to me.   I also know that it is because of my experiences, I am the person that I am today – this includes how I respond to my children and how I mother them.  I know that I am a much different mother to my children because of my mother.  The relationship that I have with my own children is FAR different that the relationship that I could ever hope to have with my own mother.

I know that no one escapes their childhood without a few scrapes and bruises.  No childhood is perfect.  We all have issues in some way, shape or form and that’s what makes us all unique. But life goes on, and eventually we must all learn to be our own person outside of our parents homes.  We need to understand that we are NOT our parents, we are our own selves.  We need to let go of whatever has happened, and move forward, knowing that we were exposed to certain things to help make us who we are today.  We also need to understand that our parents, for the most part, did the best that they could with what they knew.  The best revenge for that unhappy inner-child of ours is to acknowledge him/her, and let them know that they are now safe, and that life is good, and that you and the children that you have are all okay.  Then go get some ice cream for the both of you!

Bedside Confessionals

He said to me, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry that I have been a bad person.”

I answered that he hadn’t been, that it was okay because he was so sick and that I understood.

He repeated, “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.  I have not been a good person.  I don’t wanna go like this.”

It took me a minute to determine what he was getting at as I continued to assure him that I understood.  I asked him questions to make sure all of his faculties were intact: Do you know where you are? What’s the date today? Who’s the President of the US? He answered all of the questions correctly, and continued to apologize for being so awful.

“I have never been a good person,” he states. “I tried hard, but it just never felt as if I did enough, or if what I did made a difference. And now here I am, and I don’t think I’m gonna make it.”

It’s amazing how the feeling that you’re dying can cause one to confess.  You don’t care to whom you confess to, just that you get it out before you go.  Although most patients that I have encountered have not passed after confessing, I am sad to say that I have had a few that have.  

I can’t say what exactly goes through one’s mind when they are in such a state that they feel as if they are going to die, or when they feel as if they just know that they are going to die.  I know many who say that they will take certain secrets to their grave, never letting anyone know, but there are few that feel an urgent need to confess and tell someone, anyone who will listen to their deepest, darkest secrets as if keeping them inside will prevent them from getting to the Promised Land.  As a nurse, I have been (un)fortunate to have heard a few. 

From who they loved, or did not love enough.  What they did, to what they should not have done.  What they wish they had said, or didn’t say.  Or just a wish to have their hand held because they are alone and don’t want to go while they are alone.  It makes me wonder … what will you confess when you believe it’s your turn to meet your maker?  Better yet … what will I confess when I believe that it’s my turn … ???

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone