How I Met My MotherMay 11, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Posted in Family, Guest Posts, Me, Transylvania | 14 Comments
Tags: Challenges, Children, Family, Holidays, Motherhood, Parenting, Personal, Perspectives, Relationships
Mother’s Day is Sunday. Only I forgot. Because they don’t celebrate it in Romania, and I didn’t have the Target card aisle to remind me.
So instead of cute little potted plant and a box of her favorite tea, I gave my mom 10 questions. And this space to answer them in.
Because every time I practically beg my children to find their other shoe fortheloveofPetenow, I wonder: What the heck am I doing wrong? My mom never yelled at me. My mom never made me eat my peas. My mom never frowned. How did she do it??
She’s about to tell us. And really?
It’s not so much a gift for her as it is a gift for me. And you.
You left the onions and olives and other icky things out of casseroles when I was younger because I didn’t like the consistency. How did you have the patience?
I do not see it as having extra patience. When I was young, I never really liked onions or olives either … so I could empathize. Also, you never disliked anything I loved. For example, if you had not liked cheese, we would have had a problem! Besides, in the big picture, battling over onions was something I chose not to do.
PS: You can chop up onions really, really fine … and no one knows they are there.
You never made me clean my plate … or my room. And I turned out okay. How did that happen?
Do you remember our old neighbors? The father would make his son sit at the table for HOURS if that is what it took to clean his plate. I just thought that was cruel and unusual. And wrong. Because of that, I might have been more lenient than normal, but I had faith that you would eat when you were hungry. There was always the next meal.
As for cleaning your room, I have a very odd theory on that one. When I was growing up, my mother never made us clean our rooms. She always did it for us. Having a clean, orderly room was an expected standard of living. When I grew up and moved out on my own, I still wanted everything to be orderly, so I did it myself.
I feel like I raise my voice or sigh in exasperation at my kiddos at least 23 times a day. I don’t recall you ever doing this. How did you manage it?
OH, NO … you just don’t remember! I felt like I often raised my voice. Well, maybe not raised my voice exactly, but I distinctly remember often using the “evil eye” and snapping my fingers. Being exasperated is part of being a mother. And is perfectly normal. Only mothers on TV never lose their cool! I just always tried to minimize letting off steam and tried to remember you were learning and growing and I needed to learn and grow along with you.
How is it different being a grandparent? How is it easier? Harder?
Being a grandparent is FUN because there is no responsibility! I get to be a little kid again and just enjoying playing with the grandwidgets. Blowing bubbles, coloring, watching cartoons … you name it; a grandparent gets to do it all and feel absolutely no guilt. You have the heavy job of installing values, setting goals and expectations, and all that important parental stuff.
In my book, there is nothing hard about being a grandparent! Well, other than living a long distance away … That is the hard part.
How is it watching your child play the role of parent? How often do you bite your tongue when you have a wise nugget to offer?
You and Josh are great parents, so it is very rewarding watching you. As for biting my tongue … First, I hate being told how to do something, so I would never, ever do that to you. These are your children to raise as you see fit, not as I see fit. Second, I know I can always express my opinion and you would be willing to listen. But at the end of the day, you are the parent.
I once spilled a jar of rubber cement all over the carpet. It never came out, yet I was not sent to kid jail. Explain.
Ha! This is truly one of those memories that will last forever! You did not go to kid jail because it was an accident, and accidents happen. Also, what good would it have done to browbeat you with the memory repeatedly? Or made you never touch a bottle of glue again? How productive would that have been? We all learned a valuable lesson that day: Rubber cement is to be used at the table … and not sitting on the floor.
I never had a curfew. Explain.
This one is easy. You never wanted to do anything that went beyond what I thought was acceptable, so there was never the need to set a curfew. Perhaps if you had wanted to stay out all hours of the night with people I did not like, it would have been different. But all your friends were very responsible so I was never anxious about when or where you went. Also, more often than not, you would have people over to the house rather than going anywhere, so other parents had to worry about curfews. I didn’t!
When my high-school boyfriend moved two hours away, you let me drive there on weekends. And I didn’t notice any gray hairs. How did you not worry yourself sick?
Did you ever notice I always highlighted my hair during this time!!? Actually, I did worry myself sick during the drive time. Until you got there and called to say you had made it safely, I was a nervous wreck!
But I believe one of a parent’s main goals is to instill a sense of confidence in her child that any and all goals are achievable. That meant I had to keep a lid on my fear, provide you with the skills to accomplish your goal, and then step back and let you use them. I think I did pretty good in this department.
I do admit to total failure when it came to insects, though. I instilled my fear in you. I wish I could get a do-over on that one! Bugs can be your friends.
What’s your proudest parenting moment? Your craziest?
A parent’s real pride is not only in her child’s accomplishments but also in seeing the choices her child makes. And I am proud of you every single day.
My craziest parenting moment? Hmmm, must have something to do with volunteering at band camp, being a band chaperone, or working the concession stands at football games. Crazy, but loads of fun!
Describe what went through your mind when I told you we were moving to Romania. (Tell the truth.) How has this year been for you?
Having talked about keeping a lid on fear … this was a very big lid to keep on. It was not that I was afraid of you moving to Romania, just that I could not jump in the car and get there if there was an emergency. That is one of the biggest fears a parent can have — not being able to get to her child when she is needed.
Even though I was scared, I knew it was going to be a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime experience for you all. So I just started counting down the time till you came home!
Thanks, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day! And I’ll see you in less than two months!
What questions would you like to ask your mom (or mine)? Do you remember things you were allowed to do as a child that freak you out as a parent? And what’s the worst thing you ever spilled on the carpet?