Mothers are crazy birds…

FullSizeRender (68)My porch has been taken over by an expectant robin. She is fierce and a little unhinged. My daughter made this sign to make sure that no one dares to step foot on our porch. This bird will fly at you like a missile. She will pretend to be wounded to lead you away from her eggs. Her dive-bomb tactics will make you run screaming for the hills. Today is Mother’s day, and to me, it isn’t about just being a mother, it’s about anyone that is ready to dive-bomb to protect a child, that instinctively thinks of someone else before themselves. A mother’s love is not limited to biology, to race, even to gender. I have met some single fathers that are better “mothers” than me. I have known aunts that rock parenthood like professionals. I have been taken in by someone that shares not a drop of DNA structure with me, but loves me unconditionally. Unfortunately, I also know “mothers” that don’t give a fig newton about their children, that are mothers in name only.

Mother’s Day is about celebrating the slightly crazy, fierce, unhinged birds that love with their whole hearts and would sacrifice themselves to protect whoever they have claimed as their own. Welcome to the ranks, Little Mama Bird.

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Before you go thinking I’m some ribbons for all, celebrate everybody fluffer nutter, I’m not. A mother’s love is something to be celebrated, its sanctity is the ultimate reflection of sacrifice. I’m saying that can come in all sorts of vessels and in no way is that something to scoff at.

I was playing a “What-if” game in the car with a group of friends years ago and one of the questions went something like this “You’re in a room, you have a choice to push a button to kill yourself, or someone in the next room that might or might not be your spouse. What would you do?”. One person answered, without a moment’s hesitation. “I would push the button and kill the person in the next room. Even if it were my spouse. No one could love my children like I can.” As I said, a mother’s love is not to be trifled with.

So today, on this day that is beautiful for some, and something to be endured for others, let me leave you with this…You may be a mother, you might not be. You may have children, you may have lost children, you may have chosen to not have children. In any case, I hope you have someone you would dive-bomb to protect and a person in your life that loves you with a mother’s love, because it is fierce and glorious. Happy Mother’s Day!

agathachristie

 

 

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Dear Dad…

dear dad

Dear Dad,

All my memories start and end with you. Did you know that? You’d probably say you don’t remember all this crap, but I’d call bullshit. This is the relationship we have. I’m a “goddamned pain in the ass” and you’re mine.

I’m not a “Daddy’s girl”. You know that, right? Only because it makes me think of pretty dresses and princesses, which is decidedly not me, but I am your girl. I always have been, always will be.

All my memories start and end with you.

I am 3- and I leave my trike out in the driveway. I promise not to do it again.

I am 4- I do it again.

I am 5-I’m certain that there isn’t anything better than sitting in the middle seat and shifting your truck. I was right.

I am 6- I know what divorce is. Don’t try to explain it to me. I know.

I am 7- You let me eat so much candy I swear I don’t ever want to eat another peanut butter cup or SweeTart again. You know better. I will never stop eating candy. Ever.

I am 13- I get caught stealing toothbrushes with a friend. You ask me what the hell I was thinking. I wasn’t.

I am 16- I piss you off. You disappoint me. I tell you I don’t want to talk to you anymore…until I do.

I am 25- You walk me down the aisle. You stand on my veil and my head snaps back as I try to move forward. You’re embarrassed. I know you just weren’t ready to let me go. Plus, it gave my sisters something to talk about (until the end of time).

I am 30- You are laughing. Your granddaughter is testing every limit. You love this.

I am 35-I name my son after you. You love this, too.

I am 40- I’m wishing I became something more useful like a doctor. I will be forever grateful that some fellow student spent more nights studying than me, so they could one day repair your heart.

Years ago you started calling us every Saturday. I love these calls, have I ever told you that? You try to call early enough to wake me up. This never happens. (I’m always up first).You ask me about work, the kids, and try to make me lighten up. I push you about your health and you call me a “goddamned pain in the ass”. It’s the new “I love you”, it just hasn’t caught on with everyone yet.

Here’s the thing. I don’t know what it’s like to not have someone in my life that all my memories start and end with. I’d appreciate it very much if I don’t have to learn how to live like that for a very long time. Stick around to annoy me, your grandkids, your wife. We’ve got your number, we can handle you. So, with that, “Keep your boots on, you goddamned pain in the ass.”

Love,

Your girl.

Feeding Someone with Love

My new litmus test for humanity is this: are you the type of person to visit someone in a nursing home and feed them soup? There is much banter over kindness, giving of yourself, and loving one another, but at the end of the day, what does that really look like? I’ve seen puffed up pretty boys expounding on good deeds and beauties talking about volunteering, but if I can’t see them feeding someone soup, their words ring hollow to me.

Love? Humanity? For me? It’s the lasting image of watching Bill feed Enid soup. I spent the better part of two years visiting one of my parents on a locked Dementia care unit. Eating was the last thing that my family member still enjoyed, and he did so quickly and with gusto. Enid was on the same unit and shook, so she had a harder time eating. Her husband, Bill, came to visit faithfully and helped feed her, slowly, wiping her mouth between spoonfuls. Talking all the while to her and other residents. After meals, they would often retire to the t.v. area, holding hands on the couch.

If this sounds like a Nicholas Sparks novel, you’re not far off. What’s missing is the banging and the groaning of the other residents. The repetitions of the agitated. There was always a scent diffuser going full blast to mask the smell of urine. It was, and remains, an impressive care facility, so I’m not knocking it, far from it. Alzheimer’s is a lot of things, but beautiful isn’t one of them. Not so for Bill and Enid. They were couple set apart, love personified. It was an inspiration to watch how Bill cared for his wife.

After one particularly trying visit to the unit, my husband asked me what was the matter. “I just watched the most loving thing today. Bill was feeding Enid soup. I don’t think you would do the same thing. I totally bet on the wrong pony.” My spouse assured me that he would feed me in my later years if needed. I hope so, but I doubt it. The way I see it? I have about 35 years to turn him into a guy like Bill. He’s not there yet. To be fair, I’m not there yet either, but I’m trying to be.

This year I’ve watched some of the greatest generation pass away. Octogenarians and their peers that were the backbone of our community and maybe of yours, too. 42 years on the fire dept, 37 years as a girl scout troop leader, veteran, Salvation Army volunteer, Gold Star families. I’m worried that my generation isn’t quite up to snuff to fill these shoes. Most of us aren’t the type to visit loved ones in nursing homes and feed them with love. Every. Single. Day.

My Facebook feed has been as divided as our country lately. Yours, too? I work with teenagers and college students. Their level of narcissistic tendencies, if unchecked, makes me shudder and a little sick to my stomach some days, yet hopeful on others when I see them trying to understand and learn. I’m not impressed with indignant social media posts, they alone don’t accomplish much. I’m impressed with Bill feeding Enid soup. Each person can actually do something to help us all: Raise a Bill in your home, in your community, within yourself, and we’ll all be better for it. Set the bar higher for humanity. Feed someone with love. 

Christmas Card Competition

christmas-catString me up by toenails, I mailed out my Christmas cards today. I’m THAT person. The obnoxious one that sends Christmas cards every year. Early. I’m sorry. Before you pelt me with olives, let me assure you, I do not have my crap together in any other way.  

I have posed with a shovel, made my friends take pictures of me when I was single and sent them out with aplomb. If I had a cat in the 90’s, no doubt I would’ve been this super festive twee love pictured to the left.

Somehow, though, my favorite time of year to visit the mailbox has lost a bit of luster. I think it’s gotten a little too competitive. My sister gave me a look of unbridled (yet, well deserved) disgust when I handed out Christmas cards at Thanksgiving last week. The personalized return mailing labels with our family photo emblazoned on them? A bit much, perhaps. My family is not as bright and shiny as we appear on the thick cardstock. Yours isn’t either, precious. None of us are Christmas card perfect. We just aren’t perfect, period. So let’s just write a Christmas card disclaimer, like a surgeon general warning on a pack of ciggies: these photos may be dangerous to your self-esteem. May cause you to vomit a little in your mouth. Smiling is good for your health, so smile, piss ant, and be glad someone mailed you an actual card.

In my heart of hearts, I know that my favorite Christmas cards are the ones that make me laugh, the ones that celebrate joy. The family that mocks themselves a bit. I loved it when a friend of mine had her husband wrestle with a barn cat one year for a photo shoot in striped sweaters. Admittedly, my humor veers towards David Sedaris.

Let’s make our goals certain and true: try to  make people smile and be glad they’re friends with you, rather than wanting to bash your perfect face in when they open up your Christmas card. My labels are pretentious this year, the contents inside- flagrantly braggadocio, hopefully the cover photo redeems the hot mess. So, from my family to yours…Merry Christmas from Bossy Boots & the Pot Stirrer.

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Keep sharing moxie!

 

Find your tribe. Love them. Fiercely.

It’s Mother’s Day. Find your tribe. Love them. Fiercely. Mothers and mothering take many forms. I am a mother, and I have many children that I look out for, whether I’m on their birth certificate or not. I’m lucky to have a mother, a step-mother, an adopted mother, bossy sisters, a mother-in-law, sister-in-law, best friends. My life is teeming with mothers. Some of them have biological children and some don’t. They all mother. Fiercely. 

I ordered flowers yesterday from a local shop in my home town. It was a somewhat surreal experience. I called in a order and they already had my name on file. I realized it’s because the last time I sent flowers it was for a funeral. Don’t start with me about how Mother’s Day is a commercial wasteland. I’ll use my teacher’s voice (and it’s scary). Order the flowers now. Don’t wait for a hospitalization or a funeral. Send the cards now. The texts. The two second Facebook post.

Your mother may be living or not. You’re still being mothered by someone. Mothering takes many forms. It’s beautiful and gritty and ugly. One day isn’t nearly enough to honor the sanctity and near sainthood that these women hold in your heart. Say something real to someone who has mothered you today. Make it count.

Keep sharing moxie!