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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Apologies From a Former Know-it-All

 Today is Mother's Day. And I want to acknowledge all the wonderful mothers in my life. I also want to apologize to most of them for the stupid things I said to them before I had children...back when I was a complete know-it-all about having kids...and yet I did not have kids!

First I want to apologize to my oldest sister. The one who started having kids, when I was still a kid. She had four boys by the time I was 20 years old...in the prime of my supreme know-it-all years. She would come over to our folk's house to visit and pull up to the curb in her minivan. As the kids would slide open the door, all their junk would come flying out. Toys, papers, crayons..you name it. I used to think, "How could someone have so much stuff in their car?" My car had nothing in it...just my backpack that I took to and from school. I just did not understand how it was possible to drive around with so much junk....oh, if I only knew then...fast forward 20 years...here I am driving around in a vehicle that looks like I live in it!  On Monday, the kids pile the car with their stuffed animals for the ride to school. On Tuesday, the boys bring books to read and the youngest grabs paper and markers. By Friday, it looks like a family of raccoons have moved into the vehicle and they've been living there for months! I'm afraid to pull up to the car lane at school, for fear of what will fall out of the car, when the teacher opens the door for the kids.

The second sister has three kids. The two oldest are only about 18 months apart. I remember when they were little, she would complain about not having time to exercise. I was appalled! "How could you not find time to work out?" She was a stay-at-home Mom after all...I mean, what was she doing all day? Watching soap operas and eating Bon Bons? I was a personal trainer and aerobics instructor at the time. Working out was my LIFE! "Work out after the kids go to bed!" I would command. She would tell me how tired she and her husband were. I just didn't get it...until now.  Here I am, overweight and in need of a workout...By the time my night owls go to bed, it's all I can do, to drag my sorry carcass to the couch. There is no way I can work out at night. Just more proof that I did not know what the heck I was talking about!

The third sister has two sons. I can't recall what advice gems I dropped on her over the years, but I am sure they were doozies. I think I graced her with all sorts of advice from how to discipline her boys to what  she should be eating. I realize now, that I knew nothing...currently, my two boys are wrestling on the floor and the youngest is jumping on the couch as I am telling them to get down and they completely ignore me. Clearly, my discipline skills are lacking!

Then there's my Mom. Raised four girls and made it look easy. I don't think we ever appreciate our mothers so much as when we have children of our own! When we were kids, we were always looking for ways to put one over on her. I can remember sneaking down the hall and crawling behind the couch, to watch TV. If we laid on our stomachs, we could peek around the corner and see it. The minute she moved a muscle, we would scramble back to bed, only to crawl out again. Now, I am facing the same situation. The kids silently creep down the stairs and duck down behind the couch, peeking over my shoulder to watch TV. Drives me crazy! I'm sorry for doing that to you, Mom. I'm even sorrier that my kids are doing it to ME!

Here is what I DO know...Motherhood is the toughest job I've ever had...and the best job I've ever had! It's not glamorous, at all, and if someone tells you it is, they are LYING! Being a stay-at-home mom is not the fun thing, I thought it would be. There is no time for soap operas, and who can afford bon bons?  Life is different when you are a mom...but it's a good different! (And I wouldn't trade it for anything!)

If my 20-something self, could see my 40-something self, she would be appalled. "What have you done to me?" she would exclaim in disgust. And I can see her point...out of shape, capri pants, t-shirt, flip flops, too-thin eyebrows and really short bangs... "This is your future, sister!" I would say, "Take a long hard look..."You think you know everything right now...but just you wait...you don't know anything about having kids...and after you have them and think you REALLY have all the answers...your kids will show you that you STILL don't know anything!"

Happy Mother's Day, Mommies! CHEERS!

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