Now, I'm going to go against the norm here... and tell you what Mother's Day means to me.
It's not all sweetness and light, so if you don't want your day ruined, stop reading right here.
I want to start out by telling you that I have great memories of my Mother... and that she was the best mother any child could have hoped for.
She raised us, yes.
But in addition, she uplifted us.
And therein lies the gift.
We weren't always given our hearts desires, we got our bottoms spanked when we needed it (I, more than my sisters I'm afraid) and there were times when I thought (and I'm sure she thought the same) that I was born into the wrong family.
But my mothers unconditional love, support and understanding made my childhood a wonderful time.
That's not saying that I was always, totally thrilled with her hands-on approach.
It was great that she was room mother during my early years in school, but by grade 4 or 5, it had started to pall a bit, you know what I mean? She was an embarrassment.
No one Else's mother had wrinkles, wore red lipstick or did her hair the way mine did - or baked actual home-made cupcakes.
Part of that could have been because my mother was an "older" mother - seeing as my baby sister and I didn't come along until she was 34 and 36. So by the time the "room mother" thing started, she was well into her 40's.
Other kids had young mom's who brought delightful packaged goodies and candy for their room mother duties...and jugs of Kool Aid.
My mother brought cakes she had baked herself and freshly squeezed fruit juice and homemade goodies.
I appreciate it now... but back then - not so much.
She was the President of the PTA for more years than I can remember ...and she took her duties seriously. She talked to our teachers endlessly and helped out in the classroom constantly.
I appreciate it now... but back then - not so much.
She was wise in the way of girls... and she always encouraged us to be anything that we wanted to be.
I had no doubts that I was pretty and smart and talented in a myriad of unknown ways... but it was never allowed to go to my head. I was no better than anyone else - and I knew it.
I gave my mother grief during my teenage years and it was amazing to me, just how dumb she was - and what silly out-dated ideas she had.
But she welcomed my loser boyfriends (some of which were chosen simply for their shock value, I'm afraid.) She became friends with my boyfriends - and with my girlfriends as well.
I don't know how many times someone would tell me that my mom was *groovy*. And I would die of embarrassment.
She would put on our bell-bottom pants and tie-dyed t-shirts and dance to sweet baby James and the Beatles, with her waist long hair flying around. We would laugh... but we would cringe at the same time... and make her promise to never do it in front of our friends. But did she listen? No.
And now, I'm glad she didn't . Back then? Not so much.
But by the time I married and the babies started coming, she seemed to get smarter with each and every passing year. She became the same wise mother I had known in my youth.
She could calm my crying babies, alleviate their rashes with corn flour and burnt flour.
She knew the sweet spot to rub, to make the burps come up and she taught me to watch my babies hands.
If their little fists were clenched, all was well with the world... but if their tiny little fingers were splayed, there was a painful burp in there somewhere and it needed to come out.
She was a doting Nana, and she thought my children could do no wrong.
She thought *I* could do no wrong. Or at least she made me feel that way... which was a real gift in itself. She would move heaven and earth, to make sure that I had whatever I needed to succeed. She was endlessly patient, and she gave from her heart - constantly.
When my last baby was born, she moved in for a month, just like she had with my first two.
And 5 months later, when I needed to have a hysterectomy at the age of 28, she and daddy moved in for a month again. To take care of my baby... and to take care of me.
I had my Mama by my side... and I would be okay.
They were due to go home on February 16th... but the night of the 15th, my Mama had a stroke... and she died 5 days later. 15 days short of her 62nd birthday.
I had always had the thought in the back of my head, that I would get to nurse her and my dad when the time came ... when they were too old to live on their own.
I planned to bring them into my home and care for them in their old age... just like my mom had done for my Nana.
But I never got to do it for my Mama.
My children kept me sane... and caring for them kept me focused, but it was the hardest thing I had ever had to go through. Suddenly, I was a mother-less child and all I wanted was my mama.
I've missed her more and more with every passing year... wishing I could go back and re-live the safety, security and unconditional love that she always gave me. I miss the touch of her hand, the warmth and love shining from her eyes. I miss the smell of her perfume.
So, for so many years now, Mothers Day has always been hard for me.
But in 1992, it got even harder.
See... in 1992, I lost my daughter Jennifer. My first born... and my only girl.
This year, she will have been gone for as many years as I actually had her in my life.
And to this day, it still doesn't seem possible that she isn't here.
She was only 17, and in August, she will have been gone for 17 years.
I still keep in touch with her best friend Mary, and as much as I love the girl and celebrate her children and their accomplishments, it's still bittersweet...
I want my Jenny in my life... and I want to see her children growing up.
Then in 1999, I received another blow that dropped me to my knees.
I lost my last born - my sweet little Jake - at the age of 18. This year in October, he will have been gone for 10 years... and I still haven't completely gotten my head wrapped around the fact that he's gone as well. My baby... my sweet boy... the little guy who made us all laugh with his crazy antics. Gone.
It's a comfort to me to know that he's in heaven with his sister, but I miss them both so much that I literally drop to my knee at times.
We also lost Jake's girlfriends brother Mason on the same day... and it still doesn't seem real that we lost 2 such beautiful boys in one freak accident.
One day, life was good - and the next... it was turned upside down, never to be fully righted again.
I still have my cherished middle son, Josh in my life - and he is the glue that holds me together...
But he's so far away and busy with his own life and wonderful little family. He's given me my *daughter of my heart* - Becky... and 3 gorgeous, sweet grandsons - and the chance to be called *Grummie*, but I miss them like crazy and I cry at the thought of everything I'm missing.
I love my boy with everything I have left in me and I worry sometimes that I may tend to smother him with my affections.
But life can be fleeting, as I know too well... and I want him to know - while I still have breath in my body - just how very much I cherish him and love him.
So Mother's Day?
It's an extremely bitter-sweet time for me... and every year, I tend to go into my cave and just stay there throughout the day.
I wish I could handle it differently, but I can't.
I've tried... but I just can't.
So please.... Cherish your Mothers.
And Mother's? Cherish your children.
None of us get guarantees.
(I debated posting this, because it seems a bit maudlin... but then I thought that this blog is a way of getting my thoughts down on paper - as it were.
My memories and feelings and dreams and aspirations. As well as recipes and the boring minutia of my life.... This is Tatersmama's life.
Maybe someday, my beautiful grandsons will read this - and have a little clearer idea - and understanding - of who their Grummie was.)