Yesterday, my husband and I took the children to their great-grandmother’s funeral. As funerals go, this one was a marathon which reflected the marathon 102-year life she lived. My daughter insisted on wearing her pink Easter dress and was a bright spot in the sea of somber clothes. Afterward, she wanted to see her great-grandma lying in the white casket. My daughter gazed at her great-grandma for a long time. A spray of spectacular flowers sat on the closed part of the casket while my grandmother lay in repose looking surprisingly well considering she was 102 years old and lifeless.
Also, I noticed she wore coral lipstick, which was the only time I’ve ever seen lipstick on her. That shade did not suit her at all, but what did they know? They should have gone with something that had plum undertones.
Grandma wore a pink Easter dress that my mother picked out. My mother’s face reflected her terrible grief. At the age of 65, my mother has become motherless.
My boys dressed in their best clothes and didn’t complain about going to the funeral. They sat quietly, even though the service dragged on for ninety minutes. (Four speakers, a choir, a soloist, congregational singing and a Powerpoint presentation.) My daughter declared it the “most boring” thing ever, but she also behaved well. She and my 10-year old both wanted to view Grandma after the service while the twins chose to go immediately to the lobby instead.
So, yesterday was a long, emotionally draining day. Before and after the funeral, I worked, finally finishing my shift at 10 p.m.
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This blog is not a comprehensive dissertation about my life as a mother. Believe it or not, I leave out large chunks, including most of my life prior to my blog. You don’t know about how we adopted our twins, nor about how we parented them when they were young. I am not at liberty to share much of my life since my life is intertwined with the private lives of other people, just like yours. I cannot tell you much about my childhood in deference to others.
On occasion, I pull back the curtain and reveal some shameful truth about my failures as a parent and about my children’s perception of me as their mother. It’s risky, but I choose to share snapshots from time to time. I want to remember these moments–especially the ugly moments because in memory, these will be the brightest days of my life. Selective memory has a way of blotting out the blemishes and mistakes we make. (And I love the way most of you support me and make me feel not alone.)
So, when I post something here that is unflattering to me (usually) and my children (on occasion, though they are not completely identifiable), I am already fully aware that we are imperfect. I consider my own flaws in the glaring spotlight of self-flagellation and when other people turn their flashlights upon the dark corners of my soul, they’ll find nothing that I have not already illumined and examined with a microscope. I know how I am failing as a mother. I know the errors I’ve made. I know my personality and how my personality clashes with other personalities in my household. I can catalog the many ways I’ve failed my children as a mother, a role-model and as a person.
I’m pretty sure that I’m not an inhuman monster and my son told me the next day, “I overreacted. But you should be easier on my brother.” My other son apologized repeatedly for his behavior on the day in question. However, my children see me only from their teenage perspective, just as I only saw my parents from that angle when I was their age. I thought my dad was much too strict with me. I did not understand. I judged him with teenage harshness. I think that’s part of growing up, of separating.
So my children judge me, too. They’ll understand more when they are older. I hope they will grow to understand me as a human being. I hope they will forgive me for the mistakes I make. I allow them to speak freely to me, probably because I was muzzled as a child, unable to ever address my parents honestly. I was much too scared to tell them how I felt about anything they did or said. We did not talk in our family. When I was home, I went to my bedroom and locked my door.
My children are living in a different type of household and even though I do not relish backtalk, I’d rather have my kids argue with me than shove their thoughts deep inside to fester. I spend almost every moment of every day at home with my kids. My boys have been doing school-at-home for four years and I don’t think that longing for a regular period of kid-free time every week is a failure. In fact, if you’re an introvert like me and being with people drains you, you know well that unless you have solitude, you will wilt like a plant without water.
And don’t even get me started on the nature versus nurture conundrum. (Hint: Nature wins.)
I do consider every comment I receive here, especially the ones that sting. I try not to be defensive, because there is often truth even in the hurtful things people say. So, please, continue to share your thoughts but do remember that you don’t have the whole picture, all the facts nor a complete understanding of my private life. Such is the nature of blogs.
And that’s all I have to say about that.
Edited to add: This is not in response to any of the published comments on the last entry. So do not fret.