Editor’s Note: Today’s Mother’s Day story is written a bit tongue in cheek. It is our preference to write about others. Nevertheless, we suspect our story may strike a chord for others.
This is a story about a mother. And, it might just sound a little more than auto-biographical. Because it is.
I can hear the whispers. The words unsaid. Is she really going to admit that she’s neurotic?
Somewhere, there’s a middle ground between self-aggrandizement and self-deprecating. Assuredly, there are reasons I am proud. And, an unfortunate number of memories that make me hold my head in shame.
You know, Frank Sinatra said it best. “Regrets, I’ve had a few.”
But, certainly, no regrets when it comes to the beautiful creatures who have evolved into my children and their offspring.
A Mother’s Worries Never End
For starters, I’ll concentrate on my worries as a mother. Very few moms are without them. However, I suspect mine would classify me as neurotic.
Even so, I’ll blame it on genes. Or, environmental upbringing. After all, both my maternal grandmother and mother lived in a country ravaged by military infiltration. They even fled their family home and heard gunshots around them for three long years.
At the very least, I can use that as an excuse. I come from a long line of mothers whose worries perpetuated. Candidly, my children are well into adulthood, and I am still neurotic.
Just ask them. Sometimes, my fears will start with a simple local traffic report. Heaven forbid the news mentions a fatal accident along what possibly could be my children’s route.
They’ve become accustomed to it. Here’s a sample of our dialogue:
Me Trying Not to Sound Frantic: Oh hi, honey. How are you?
Daughter #1: Yes, mom. I already knew about the accident. Taking the long way.
Me: (Feigned laughter and deep sigh)
And, if they don’t happen to pick up the phone right away? Hey, there’s a reason for that redial button. I use it. Over and over again.
I’m really not sure why I think I need a traffic report to alert me. My kids are good. No doubt they’d call me in an emergency. All things considered, they might even put on their calm voices to dissuade my fears.
Thankfully I don’t hear accident reports in different parts of the country. However, that doesn’t mean my fears change. Rather, it says the phone calls wake me up in the middle of the night.
And, yes, even adult sons know to convey scary messages as composed as possible.
This mother’s worries will likely never end. After all, my grandchildren will be out on their own one day, too.
On Being a “Fair” Mother
When it comes to being a fair mother, I admit that I can be a bit neurotic. Especially when it comes to giving gifts.
Somewhere stashed away are calculations. Strangely enough, they could be confused with some evidence records I’ve seen marking individual drug deals.
With the advent of computers, I don’t use small slips of paper anymore. However, for years, I literally kept little markings on every dollar I spent on my children.
I tried to hold it to the penny. After all, how unfair would it be if I gave more to one child than another? Admittedly, it wasn’t about their feelings if I were caught. I was neurotic enough to think it mattered.
And, the fairness didn’t stop there. As a result of professional mediation training, I should have known better. I insisted on intervening in fights that didn’t require my involvement.
Quite often, my children took it as taking sides. They made up. But, I often felt like the bad guy.
Taking Unusual Discipline Steps
In fact, I sometimes went overboard in making sure my children did the right thing.
They will tell you that I was strict. Perhaps unreasonable. Meanwhile, it could have been as basic as forbidding them to watch The Ren and Stimpy Show. Frankly, I don’t even remember that one. But, I have been reminded.
I suppose the worst was the year I kept getting phone calls from a sixth-grade science teacher. Apparently, one of my girls wasn’t doing her homework.
In fairness, my impetus came from “Lean on Me,” which was a movie about an authoritarian principal in an inner city school. He wanted to make sure his kids understood where being bad could get them. Seemed about right to me.
Mind you. My daughter’s sole crime was failing to do homework. (Undoubtedly made worse by the repeated calls from a relentless teacher.) It was enough for a neurotic mother to arrange a tour.
Yes, I admit it. Regrettably, we both learned something that day. We visited a county juvenile detention center. Assuredly, no one was in there because they didn’t turn in science homework.
We saw rather grim conditions. Notably, the bathrooms did not have doors on the stalls. For whatever reason, the teenagers played along. My daughter says some of them were in there for murder.
In hindsight, it was one of those times I went a bit too far. However, I never did hear from that teacher again. I suppose it worked.
Am I Still a Neurotic Mother?
If I look at myself now, I don’t think I am as neurotic as I once was. Admittedly, some of my decisions have been to appease myself. Perhaps I didn’t have as much faith.
But, that’s changed. First and foremost, there’s my faith that God is always with us.
And that’s followed by my beliefs in the people my children have become. They are adults and are quite self-sustaining. Of course, that doesn’t mean for a second that they don’t need me.
At least, that’s what I tell myself.
Meanwhile, my children have become somewhat accustomed to me. These days, they are grown up enough to placate me. It’s no longer me waking them up to check up on them.
As much as I shrink back when I think of some of my craziness, I revel in the results.
For me, every day is Mother’s Day. I don’t need Hallmark to remind me to feel appreciated.
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