Moms

Want vs. Need

I attempted to explain this difference to my daughter this afternoon. She stood in the doorway of the dining room whining for I don’t even remember what. She cried, “I neeeeeeed it!”

You don’t need it. You just want it.

Desire can be a tricky little bitch.

You see… when you really, really want something so bad it physically makes you feel ill…

and that thing never comes…

Tonight I just so happened to get on WordPress via PC instead of my mobile app. I usually draft up ideas on the go, so blogging from my phone is just easier and more convenient. Anyway, I noticed a notification that I hadn’t seen because I was on the app. It noted that I had an unapproved comment, so I clicked to see what it was.

I have written about my mom reading and occasionally commenting on my blog. Well this comment was from her from way back in the spring of 2022, but I hadn’t seen it until tonight.

I got mixed emotions reading her words, but in the end it all lead to one sad realization.

A realization I come to very often.

I want a Mom.

An actual Mom. As in, one who kisses boo-boos (both physical and emotional). One who I could call up on the phone when I need advice on parenting, or to ask how to make homemade cookies, or for no particular reason at all. Oh, how I would call this Mom up. I would tell her I loved her and I would make Mom & Daughter adult planned mini-vacations for the two of us.

Seems silly saying it out loud.

I’ve invented entire scenarios with my make-believe mother. The one not engulfed in a seemingly endless battle with addiction. One who would admit their faults and love me the way a child should be.

I want that Mom.

Again, Want vs. Need.

I didn’t say I need a Mom. Haven’t since age 7. And the one woman that swore to love and raise me in place of the woman that actually birthed me deserted some of her children, while still loving and spending time with the others. I was not one that she chose to continue to love and cherish.

It hurts me most that my children are missing out on invaluable relationships and foundations that are essential in the success and psychology of a family.

The two “mothers” in my life have brought me the greatest heartbreak, biggest feelings of being deserted, and most pain of all experiences I have emotionally survived in my life.

I don’t want to carry that burden to my own children. I am a great Mom, that I know. Because one thing that I have learned in the short four years that I have been a Mom, is that a great deal of being a good Mom is done by just showing up for them. You may not always get it right, but trying again and committing to doing better the next time is all it takes. Nobody really knows what they are doing anyway.

I don’t need a mom. I do damned well without one.

But tonight, I wish I could call you just for the sake of it.

The Brick House

I grew up in a brick house on Cherry Street. I was probably about the age of five or six, when I think back on it now. The yard wasn’t large and it sat on a small hill up from the sidewalk. It sits right in the middle of a municipality, so it makes sense that the yard is as small as it is.

It felt a lot bigger as a child. My sister and I had a swing set outside where I remember pumping my feet so high I was so sure I could fly if only I had the guts to jump from the seat. I remember digging in the dirt with a stick and my Mom telling me the story of how my Aunt tricked her into taking a bite of a huge worm because she told her it was a hotdog (Not sure if that’s true or not, but now every time I see a worm I envision a great big worm sitting atop a hotdog bun).

The house still sits in the same spot looking exactly as it did twenty years ago, and my childhood best friend still occupies the house across the street. It almost seems as if time hasn’t moved on, even though I have. The life that I knew within those four walls is much different than the life I know now. Occasionally I will drive down that block slowly, my attempt at grasping onto something that has been long since gone. I have come to realize that this was the last place I truly had a sense of innocence.

The last happy memories I cherish of my mother were had in that home. I remember my sister and I shared a bunk bed and our room was connected with our parents, only separated by door beads that made a beautiful song when walked through. My mother was always so good at decorating the home. Her bedroom had a beautiful Native American painting on the wall and a canopy that hung over their bed. We would swing on the tall poles of the canopy, chatting away, while watching A Bug’s Life.

I remember having daddy-daughter donut day at school with my stepdad (my younger sister’s father). My Mom and Rick came to my elementary school where we played hula hoop, ate donuts, and drank chocolate milk. I remember getting off the bus, running up that big hill to the house, and then cuddling up on the couch with my Mom while we watched Oprah. When I lost a tooth, I remember the joy of waking up with a dollar bill under my pillow.

We had TV dinner trays and we sat on the floor eating takeout every Wednesday night while watching “Fear Factor.” We would order spaghetti and garlic bread from the local restaurant La Gondola, or fried chicken meals from KFC. La Gondola to this day still has the best garlic bread.

I remember Christmas time with my Mom. I remember decorating the tree and not being able to sleep on Christmas Eve because the anticipation to open gifts had me wired to the core. She lit the spirit of the holidays in me from a young age, that I do know. The holidays were especially hard on me in my teen years as I mourned the memories of the mother that was the provider of all of these wonderful memories. And it wasn’t like she was gone. She was just away, living a life that I knew nothing about. One year my aunt and uncle surprised my sister and I with letting our mother come visit for Christmas. This was probably the first Christmas after we were taken from our Mom by DCFS. We had just moved in with our aunt, uncle, and our five cousins, so we had been in the process of adjusting to a new home, new school, and new cohabitants. My aunt came to my sister and me and said, “What is this mess in here?” Confused, we followed my aunt to the front corridor of the house where our mom popped out from around the corner. We ran into her arms and hugged her tight.

It is still hard to not get caught in the pain of missing her during this time of year. Although we shared less than seven Christmases together, a part of me still feels like she has been here. Right now she is sitting in prison and I have not talked to her in months. I try not to spend my time wondering how Christmas is when you are locked up in a state prison for seven years. My aunt and uncle gave us seven kids everything and more for Christmas. As an adult, I now wonder how the hell they ever pulled off buying all seven of us kids new bikes one year. Our blended family of nine committed to our annual holiday traditions, and it is something that each of us have since integrated into our own family’s celebrations. We held hands surrounding our tree of choice and sang “O Christmas Tree” before cutting it down. We made candy with Grandma and put out shoes for Santa instead of stockings. My sister and I experienced no lack of holiday spirit and cheer even though we weren’t spending it with the person that brought us into the world.

I do not spend a lot of time living in the past or dwelling on what is not. But sometimes, I enjoy jumping back into the world where life felt more simple. More innocent. A time of youth.

A time where the girl in the brick house felt no absence of her mother. A time where the snuggles on the couch were never going to end. A time where my essence was not based in the presence of what I am missing and continuously longing for.

I remember the good days. This Christmas and always, I miss you, Mom.

To The Mothers Who Wonder if Being Present is Enough: It is.

There are days when performing the most basic tasks of motherhood is all the strength that I can muster up. Sometimes I take the “easy way out” even though I know I shouldn’t; like giving my daughter chocolate milk for bed, or letting her watch a little bit too much tv…

At the age of 7, my sister and I were removed from our home with our mother because she had substance abuse issues and an addiction to methamphetamine. I remember the mother before DCFS came in and changed what I thought I knew forever. I remember soft cuddles on the couch. And every week we would get out our TV dinner trays and sit on the floor to watch the newest episode of Fear Factor. I remember a blissful and loving childhood when I reminisce on the years I remember with my mother. I don’t remember a ton, maybe more than most (perhaps it’s made-up in my head), but I do remember that she was always there. The memories of that period of my life that I cherish the most are the ones I remember being curled up with her, tickle fights, doing crafts, spending time in the kitchen.

It was 2003. I didn’t know it then, but the day I left our home with DCFS was the closest I would ever be to my mother again.

All throughout adolescence, I had my bouts of extreme anger, pure hopelessness, and resentment towards my mom; and this was all well-masked by my focus on being a hardworking multi-sport athlete, straight-A student, and an active role model in the community. I felt put-together and distracted from the “loss” of my mother by becoming someone with the morals, work ethic, and dedication of the strong leaders, teachers, coaches, and friends that I was surrounded by. I feel very blessed for their contributions to who I am, but I would be lying if I said there could ever be anyone to replace my Mom.

As the years went by and I grew into a young adult, my mother was in and out of prison several times. We had very little communication all throughout my middle school years, until I was in high school and able to make an effort on my own accord. I scanned the stands of every game I ever played in, hoping to see her there. She never was. I wrote letters to her in prison using a friend’s home address instead of mine. I was brokenhearted and didn’t know the right ways to cope. I begged and pleaded to God, asking him what I did to make her not want me. Our relationship could never be completely restored, even if I wanted it to be. The pain of not having a mother still fills me with astounding anguish at times; it’s usually short-lived, but every day I wish I could call my mom for advice. I had my children without my mother. This fall, I will get married and she will not be there. This is a pain that I feel constantly.

I promise you, your presence in your child’s life is enough. Even if you don’t have a clean house today. Even if you let them skip brushing their teeth for one night. Even if you don’t love all of the parts of motherhood. Even if you question if you are truly a “good mom.” Stressing over these minute instances just proves that you are the best mother for your child.

I am speaking from the perspective of someone who both treasures the memories I have with a loving and kind mother, and also as someone who daily mourns a lost relationship with their mother: You, most definitely, are enough. Even if you feel like you could have been better. Even if you made a mistake and it’s eating at you. Even if you feel like the biggest failure on your bad days.

You’re human, you’re trying; but most importantly, you are present.

Every day, you wake up and commit your life to your child. Being there matters. Children may not remember everything you do together, but even when you are being hard on yourself, I hope you take comfort in the thought that they will always know that their mama was there.

Because there is one helluva hole left behind when they aren’t.

Welcome, 2022

What do you have in store for us? For some reason, I’m very anxious to know.

2022. The year of our long-awaited wedding. 272 days until we say “I do.”

Our daughter turns 3 on Wednesday.

Who knows what the next 363 days will bring. I’m anxious and excited but also feeling cautious. Life seems so fragile and fast these days. I worry for our country and I worry about my family getting by. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared.

But I remain optimistic because life is 90% about your attitude after life happens.

I have a few resolutions I’ve started for this year:

Drink more water. I have cut out most extra calories in drinks so far, but I still need to improve the amount of water I drink everyday.

Get healthier. Day two – haven’t missed a workout yet! Planning on getting a nighttime yoga session in before bed. I find great joy in exercise and it does wonders for my mental health. I feel most confident after a good workout. I understand rest is important, so this goal doesn’t relate to “working out every day.” I will work my body as hard as I can, within toleration. A healthier lifestyle also includes eating healthier, controlling my portions, and limiting unhealthy snacking. A lot of this will require mental toughness and discipline, because I sometimes have an unhealthy relationship with food. I want to eat more fresh vegetables and fruits.

Let’s all hold one another accountable on these goals. Plus, I’ve got a wedding dress to fit into! 😉

I hope we all have the best year yet!

Goodbye, sorrow

Goodbye, sorrow,

I lie to myself.

Why do I feel the need to not feel what I feel?

I’m allowed to be angry

And I’m allowed to feel that anger as long as I need to.

There is no time limit on healing.

It comes in waves.

I’ll feel overwhelmingly fine,

And I’ll be unresentful.

But then sometimes I feel so full of anger

And wonder.

How did this happen? Why did it have to be this way?

Sometimes I feel guilty for having an understanding of the word hate.

And then I’ll be okay again, feeling guilty for living like it doesn’t matter.

But it does.

I’ll just whisper to myself,

Goodbye, sorrow

Welcome to Between the Lens…

I’ve gained quite a new following since I’ve introduced myself to my readers, so I figured I’d go ahead and reach out to some of you that have recently started following my page… This post is for you!

First off, thanks for following! I’ve been posting on this blog since February of 2018. I haven’t always been consistent on when I post new content, but I don’t like to force my writing or write about things that I don’t take an interest in. So I may go offline for a bit, but I’ll always return. I’m constantly looking for inspiration out in the world, and when I find it, I always make my way back to put it into words.

What kind of content do you share?

I use WordPress as a journal, of sorts. Sometimes I vent about life’s mishaps and sometimes I write abstract about nothing in particular. I have a broad life view and I like to use words in an experimental and creative way.

When I was a young girl, my sister and I were taken from the custody of our mother, and taken to live with our five cousins, aunt, and uncle. I was raised alongside my cousins in a big, blended family. I like to write about my experiences of trauma, heartache, and growth throughout this period of my life, so you’ll also find many posts speaking about addiction and its impact on my family, motivation tips to move past family hindrance, and how that time in my life changed who I am today. I also talk a lot about reflection – something that I do a lot. I believe it’s vital to becoming the person you think that you truly are. Because a lot of the time, you may not be the person that you’d like to be, or even that you thought you were. Honest and deep reflection into yourself and the relationships that you have with others is important for growth.

I’ve always been a lover of words. When I was a young girl, I spent a lot of time with my grandma. She was (still is!) the best because she filled our lives with the love of drawing, writing, painting, and creative play. She would sit back and let us express ourselves in a way that we chose. I’d ask her for a notebook and she would head to her bedroom and pull out a tote that would be FULL of new, clean notebooks, new markers, colored pencils, drawing books, canvases, paints, anything you could think of. I’d sit at her dining room table for hours writing, drawing, and painting. She still has the notebooks from my childhood and she can still pull them out to this day (She is going to be 97 years old next month).

I like to write poems and abstract pieces that flow the way I want them to. The great thing about language, is that there is an endless amount of creativity that you can inject into it. The words can flow however you like them to, because, like a painting, you are the artist and you have your own style and flow you prefer.

I also have always loved research and learning new things, so I often also write up articles sharing interesting information that I’ve found. Most of these kinds of articles are linked to further information you can look into on your own if you share the same interest as I do.

I’m also a mother and am pregnant with another one – due in October around Halloween. So I also like to write about my kids and our experiences. I like to write a lot about pregnancy, motherhood, and parenting – it’s one of those difficult but rewarding experiences that are fun to write about.

So let’s chat!

I’ve made a plethora of pals on WP, and I’m always looking for more! Let’s link up and let the words flow!

Please reach out if you’re interested in partnering on some work – I’m still searching for another blogger to interview for a new series!

It’s so nice to meet all of you and I can’t wait to hear from you!

EOD Thoughts: 01.16.2021

It’s been awhile since I’ve been on WordPress. Not because I really needed a break, but because I’ve just been so busy and tired to sit on my phone and really put some thought into writing. I’d like to get back into more of a routine, but life is crazy and you never really know what your attention is going to be focused on.

On a positive note, I did end up deleting some social media apps – so that usually results in less of my time being wasted scrolling mindlessly through feeds full of politics and division. I was so tired of getting on Twitter and reading through tweet after tweet about the coronavirus and politics. It’s exhausting seeing everyone arguing and pushing conspiracies about every little thing.

Then I’d get on Instagram and scroll through pictures of models with “perfect” skin, hair, bodies, lives… I’d fall obsessed with everything I wasn’t. I’m bad at comparing myself to social media influencers. It makes my confidence plummet even if I do tell myself that social media stars get paid to portray a perfect life for their followers. Social media is truly detrimental to society.

A few months ago I watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix. It really goes into depth about how the creators of social media design their apps to hook you and bring you back. I highly recommend watching it – it’ll give you a better understanding of how they gather your information and use it to modify the app to better interest you. Social media apps literally keep track of how long you look at certain ads so that they can use more ads related to the ones they know you didn’t just scroll past. This documentary will make you question your internet usage and possibly even encourage you to delete your social media apps.

……………………..

Tonight’s Reflection Quotes (From The Social Dilemma):

EOD Thoughts: 11.19.2020

My weeks are starting to feel longer. Each day of work is stagnant and uneventful and I’d even say they’re becoming mind numbing.

No real thoughtful work. Just data entry.

Every day. For weeks.

Just eight hours of thoughtless data input and no responsibility or ownership of my tasks.

I like the company I work for and I liked the job I had before the virus, but since it hit our company hard, work is limited and roles are much different than they were before.

I don’t know how much I can hold onto this position without losing my dignity and sanity.

I feel like I’m being held back from my real potential and it’s degrading.

Working from home leaves more opportunities to take selfies LOL

30 Miles

Tonight I want to get vulnerable with myself. I want to examine reality and determine what parts of it aren’t real. 

And since it’s part of my story, I think it’s important to share it all with you. I consider myself a writer. It’s something that I feel proud of myself as. But I’m not just a writer. I am a sharer. I am a personal, stretch-the-limits kind of writer. I share the deepest, scariest, and most exposing feelings of my life and I think it’s why I always receive messages from people saying that my story helped them, or inspired them, or intrigued them. 

So I won’t stop. 

I can’t stop.

I have a story to tell and it’s important for me to share so that people like me know they aren’t alone. 

Growing up, I lived about 30 miles from my mom. Just a short 25 minute cruise away. It wasn’t necessarily hard for me to search for her if I wanted to, and I think that made our separation feel deceiving. We weren’t really that far away from one another, yet we were living in completely different worlds.

In high school and even a short time in college, success was hard for me to feel appreciation for. I’d hit one milestone, feel the warmth of victory, but then put my nose right back down and focus on what was coming next. What was the next life trophy I can knock off the list? 

The thing that made success the hardest for me was that every time I hit a moment of pride, I knew my name would be in the paper, or on the news, or on the radio. 

And my mom was only 30 miles away.

Surely, she saw what I did? 

Surely, she is proud of me?

With these wonderings, I quietly held onto the hope that only being 30 miles away gives you… 

She probably knows where I’m playing basketball this week because she watched the news last night.

She might be at the next game. 

Maybe.

OR

She probably read my name in the newspaper for my good grades last week.

I bet she was proud when she saw my name.

30 miles. I mean, how is that all that separates my mom and me?

30 measly miles?

It was enraging and sanity-deteriorating because I drove myself crazy looking for her every time I left my house. I’d walk into Wal-Mart and stare at the backs of any blonde-haired woman, daring it to be her when she turned around. I’d run across the river for gas and look at every pump. 

I scanned the bleachers of every game of every sport I ever played. 

Because she was only 30 miles away.

It was damaging in so many ways because I didn’t know how to release the pressure that built up in me and I didn’t know how to live a life where I felt like I always had to search for her. But then I got old enough to roam the world when and how I wanted to, and suddenly the clouds parted, and I was no longer searching. 

I was suddenly only 30 miles away if I wanted to be.

And that had nothing to do with where I lived.

I accepted what was and quit being infatuated with any short, blonde woman that had her back to me. I knew that if I ever did find myself in a room with her, I was finally in a place to remain in control of my emotions. And that was something I never felt throughout all my high school years.

30 miles apart and I had no idea if she was following my growth or completely oblivious to the person I had become. Earlier, I stated that success was hard to appreciate, but it was still something that I was dedicated to and worked very hard at. 

I wanted her to feel bad about missing out on supporting me while I followed my dreams.

I didn’t want to give her the easy way back in because I was doing just fine without her. 

I became educated.

I got stronger.

I chose to serve my country. 

I grew independent and caring and gentle.

I rose above every situation that was designed to set me back.

I made it to the other side.

All while missing my mom

From 30 miles away