Nature vs. Nurture, thank you for your compliment anyway

pregnant-woman-1130611_640No matter where I go there are children all around. A store, a park, even just now while I’m at the coffee shop trying to write a post for the day. Kids are everywhere. And they are drawn to me like a magnet. It’s all good, and I will happily oblige a curious conversation, play with a dolly, or action figure, read a line from a book that’s sitting nearby, and even listen to baby babble that hardly anyone can understand.

Kids have always seen me, smiled, and started engaging with me for as long as I can remember. I would be told “You just have a way with them, a demeanor they can feel comfortable with. Kids are like animals, if they sense something bad or off with you, they will let you know.”

Just now, as I sipped my Iced Cinnamon Americano, thinking about writing about what NOT to say to a woman who doesn’t have children of her own at my age, a little girl no more than 2 years old decided to walk away from her mother’s side and come sit with me at my table.

She stood by the table side and showed me her dolly. Baby Doll is her name. Baby Doll wanted to read the stories that were in the Coffee Book. The ones that tell you all about coffee beans from harvest to poured in your cup. Obviously, the little girl didn’t know what the book entailed but she wanted to read it. So I happily started going through the book she handed me, as she pulled the empty seat out and started to climb up to have a seat and listen to the story I would read. All while mom was apologetic for her daughters intrusion of my personal space.

I assured mom that all was good and I was happy to read to her daughter. So we flipped through the book (which is a photo album) and as I’m holding the book, and Baby Doll, I started to create a story which was more on her level of understanding than the technical aspect of harvesting beans.

“See this picture right here, this is a coffee bean. Once it’s grown up they take the bean and make the coffee that your Mommy and I are drinking right now.”

“Mmmmm coffee.” she says with a smile on her face.

As Mom is still apologizing for the intrusion. I assure her again that had I had a better book to read, and she didn’t mind, I would have happily entertained her; as I love to see children reading. Mom so happened to have “Goodnight Moon” in her free hand. We laughed a little and she said…

“You must be an awesome Mom for sure! Thank you for taking time to read to her, and not be totally annoyed by the interruption. Your kids are really lucky to have you as a Mom”

I honestly didn’t know what to say except, thank you.

Do I reply “Oh I don’t have kids” and make the person feel bad for assuming?

It was in that moment I just took the compliment and thanked her for it. I have often said, I am not a mom by nature, but by nurture I sure as hell am. I’ve mothered many children over the years, and although I don’t hold that title specifically I do almost everything a mother does, except for birthing and breast-feeding.

Let me be clear, I was not offended at all by the compliment and kind words of this stranger. Her observation of my caring nature, made her associate me with a mother. That’s totally fine. In fact I found her statement to be quite nice, and was definitely appreciative of what she said. However, at my age, I’ve heard many comments about why I don’t have children. Questioning the reasons why there are no little ones running around. Just as a pregnant woman gets tired of all the questions regarding breast or bottle, names, staying home or going back to work, and the list goes on. Still not sure what gives someone the right to question and ask why. That becomes annoying. Just like asking how much money someone has in the bank, or what their weight is, or any other possibly intrusive questions you could think of.

Why do you have the need to ask

  • Why or why not?
  • Is it a choice?
  • Can you not have children?
  • If you can have them, why wouldn’t you want them?
  • Why haven’t you had any yet?
  • You’re getting old, the clock is running out.
  • Don’t you want to go through the experience of having a baby?
  • Don’t you want to make your Mom a Grandma?
  • Don’t you want to be called Mom?
  • It’s not fair you have to raise someone elses children but not have any of your own, why wouldn’t you want to have your own too?  *Let me clear this one up before someone jumps to conclusions~ I don’t raise my boyfriends children, they have a Mom & Dad. I am Dad’s Girlfriend. I am around a lot, and I care deeply about these boys, but I will never replace their Mom. She is, and always will be, Mom. I’m an extra special person that cares and loves them unconditionally, because I want to, not because I have to. 

People chose to judge, jump to conclusions, and place their own self-proclaimed feelings, thoughts, wants and/or needs (that might even be their own truths/issues that they are fearful of acknowledging) upon someone else. It’s called projecting.

IMG_5890-0My capacity to love, care, nurture, etc. has no bearing on whether or not I give birth to a child. Nature does not need to provide me a biological child for me to be a nurturing woman.

That solely has to do with my nature, capacity to love, and my personality.

It’s also my body, my choice, maybe or maybe not, and a collective decision made by two adults on what they want/need, can/can’t have in their relationship. If you must cast judgement or just have a curious nature, maybe broach your question with some care and a little class so you don’t come across like a nosy little ass!

 

 

 

 

My Mom Loves Meghan Trainor’s NO song

Thanks Megan TrainorHeading out to my doctor’s appointment the other day and my mom was my co pilot. I haven’t seen much of her lately, it’s sad but true, I’ve been neglecting quality time with her and I miss it terribly. Although she does get on my nerves as all wonderful mothers do 😉 yesterday was like any other day with her. Except we were having a disagreement over the freaking radio of all things.

When I go to the doctor, especially the gynecologist I need to destress and make sure my blood pressure is under control. I don’t know why but it goes higher when I get there. I love my doctor he is really great, I think it’s just being there kinda thing, I mean think about it no one really likes going to the gyno. Right? lol.

As we’re mosying along listening to the radio, catching up with each other over our cups of coffee, I’m channel surfing on the radio. I hate every song that’s playing, it’s irritating the fuck out of me, if it’s not some old school rap or Whitney Houston song that’s blasting, it’s some funky country tune and it’s all like nails on a chalkboard to me.

Then pops Meghan Trainor’s “NO” song and I give it a second or two and hit the search function. Not realizing Mom is singing along to Meghan! WTF

My name is no
My sign is no
My number is no

Yes she’s singing along and all of a sudden I snap out of my trance and glance at her and start laughing.

“Seriously, Mom are you singing along, and you know the lyrics?”
“Yes, it’s a catchy song. I hear it all the time on WBLI, and well it reminds me of my younger days when I was single and would go out to the Hampton’s and party with my friends”
“Really, how so?”
“Well it’s a meat market out there, as it is almost any club or bar you’d go to. But like the song says…

Thank you, I don’t wanna dance
If I want a man, then I’ll get a man
(Paraphrasing because these aren’t the exact lyrics)

“Today’s day and age isn’t any different from it was back in the 70’s, people are the same the years have just changed. But this song is a good one, she’s got a good point. Priorities, and knowing what you want and going after it. It’s a catchy tune”

As she finishes her sentence the song which had mellowed out in the background automatically seemed to get louder…

My name is no
My sign is no
My number is no
No
No
No

She was singing along again and trails off.

“Oh boy it even reminds me of your father. At the time, I was dating a Nuclear Physicist, and working at the Adult/Nursing Home. There was a Christmas party and I had been told by the ladies in food services that he really liked me. I had absolutely no interest in him and told him to leave me alone. At the Christmas party I brought the guy I was dating and your father had the balls to come up to me and ask me to dance. The nerve of him.”

“Apparently you said yes, Mom.”

“Like the song says…NO. I told him I was with someone and I couldn’t dance with him. He wasn’t too happy, and that led to him pursuing me.”

“And here we are 41 years later…”

My Name is no
My sign is no
My number is no

Perfect timing and the song kicks in again, we both laugh and giggle and I tell her about one of the other songs Meghan Trainor wrote and how I blogged about it.

“Oh God are you gonna blog about me now, would you really do that to your, Mother? Talking about how love is blind and all that jazz. How I went for the Hippy with the long hair and ripped jeans, and left the Nuclear Physisist? Well one wonderful thing happened from it all, and I wouldn’t change it. If I had the chance to do it all over again I would. I got you from it so that’s like hitting the jackpot” She says with a smile and a glimmer in her eyes.

Yes Mom I will, and I did, because I love you. You have shown me year after year and day after day that no matter what is happening in our lives, a little musical interlude always does the soul good. Even if it’s some catchy tune by Meghan Trainor. Especially if her music can spark a memory of yours and we can share in that memory.

Thanks Meghan Trainor. I never thought I’d say those words before.

Happy Mothers Day 

Wishing all the Moms, like a Mom, and  extra loving bonus Moms, a wonderfull Mothers Day!

 In all the many ways as woman we mother the ones we love, I wish you all a day filled with as much joy, love, and happiness that you bring to those you love and care for. 

❤️❤️🌹🌹🐾🐾

#AtoZChallenge L & M are for I’m late, I’m late for a very important blog post. Love your Mother

So since I was planning on writing about Loving your Mother for M, it does kind of fit as a duo post.

If you are a regular reader here at the blog, you know my Mom is my Rock. She’s my supporter, my “get your shit together” pusher, and I’m lucky to be able to call her my friend. We don’t see eye to eye on everything, and that’s a good thing. She gives me tough love when I need it, and recently I was reminded of a mentally exhausting situation that she left me to fend for myself with. How Dare She!

You know that tough love that we often hear of, and some people think that’s too much pressure for kids. I don’t agree. Sometimes tough love is just the swift kick in the ass that some kids need. (Not literally a kick in the ass let’s clear that up now) but they need that push, that fight or flight moment where it’s them against the world and they will either sink or swim. We can’t always be there for our kids, but we have to have enough faith that we have instilled within them the power, ability, and fortitude to strive for more than the mediocre, the minimum and actually be able to survive on their own for when the time comes we won’t be there to fix all the boo-boos of life.

She left me. She just left me there. How the fuck could she have done that. She hung up the phone on me during my crying spell, told me she loved me and then hung up on me. It was just the busy signal on the payphone and my heavy breathing I could hear. All other sounds vanished in the distance. What the fuck did she just do to me?

The best thing for me she could have done, and the hardest day of her life. She left me to fend for myself, and didn’t fix the problem. At least not how I wanted her to. She did it the right way, with a little tough love and cut of the apron strings to be exact.

I grew up with my Mom and Nana raising me for most of my life. Until she met my stepdad. But it was my Mom who had been the foundation for everything. So when I decided to go away to college two hours away from home in Upstate New York, she wasn’t so sure it was a good idea and tried to steer me to a college closer to home. I didn’t want to budge. I could do it I said. So she agreed,and when the time came, she took the two hour drive to get me settled in my dorm room, and turned around and left.

Not more than three hours had gone by, I was at the payphone calling her up crying hysterical because I wanted to come home. I didn’t want to be there. I couldn’t handle it. I felt like an outsider among many. Although I had quickly made a friend, who I will forever call my, Sissy I still didn’t want to be there.

Mom did what I never expected her to do. She told me to calm down, stop crying, and deal with it. She was in no uncertain terms driving back to get me. I would have to deal with it myself and get through it. I wasn’t going to get my way. She told me she loved me and she hung up the phone.

In the heat of the moment, I hated my mother. How dare she just abandon me. She didn’t care, she didn’t love me, and she was leaving me all alone in a world I didn’t want to be in.

As the days went by, I adjusted. To be honest, the following weekend, I was off to the Bronx with my Sissy to meet her family. I took a bus from upstate to the city. I never told my mother what I did at least not for a few more weeks. But I did tell my aunt, this way someone knew that I was ok but not where they thought I would be.

Had my mother been one of those moms who fixed every boo-boo I had, I wouldn’t be who I am today, and for that I thank her. I was telling Dave this story the other day when we were having a conversation about tough love and his boys. It can’t be an easy thing to do, but sometimes the most difficult things we need to do for our children’s well being is the thing that will give them the strength to move on in life and succeed in the real world.

After one week of hating my mother, I saw what she did as exactly what I needed. I needed her to trust in me what she had instilled in me. The fact that I was more than capable of dealing with circumstances out of my control. That I was able to survive in the midst of thinking I was drowning. She knew I had it in me, she knew what she needed to do, and I also know it was by far one of the hardest thing she’d done. But she did it with my survival in mind.

For that day and situation, and many more before and after, I thank my Mom for being the best she could have been for me. For doing the hard things, and for making me face the hard things head on. Love you Mom for all that you do and all that you’ve done ❤ IMG_1839

 

 

*******

The story of my life. Always running late at least a solid good 5-10 minutes behind even if I have my clock set 15 minutes ahead. My mother always says I’ll be late to my own wedding, that I should arrive a day ahead just so I’ll be on time and that she will meet me there because goodness knows I’m gonna be running around like a chicken without her head. I can admit, she’s got a point with it all and is probably right. I’ll also probably be late to my own funeral 😉

Today’s post is a duo, because let’s just face it, I failed at posting L in time. I worked for a few days on L’s post, and I just couldn’t do it. I hated every word pouring out, it wasn’t flowing and I couldn’t do it. I will rework it for another post at a later time, if I can stomach it.

#AtoZChallenge: D is for Daffodils & Determination

Daffodils are my favorite flower of all time. I believe it comes from when I was younger and my Nana would plant flowers and tend to the garden. I often remember the moments she would let me get my hands dirty in the soil and play with the worms. I was a bit of a tomboy as a small child and didn’t mind getting my hands dirty or working up a sweat, or even getting my head stuck between the oil tank and chimney when I was 7 lol. Yes I alone gave my mother agida of 10 boys lol.

I also have a love of daffodils because they were the first few buds and signs of spring after wet, cold winters and to me it was a sign of a birthday present from the earth. My birthday is March 1st and it’s often cold, dark and snow covered so by the time mid to late March arrives, I would start singing because that meant the nicer weather was on it’s way and I could go out and play in the dirt with my Nana. She would often go out into the yard and pull a few buds to bring in the house just for me.

As I’ve grown older, they signify fond memories of digging in the dirt, signs of spring eternal. More importantly, or more deeply they are a reflection of  life going on in the midst of harsh cold winters or personal struggles, determination in moving on when things seem tough, beauty in their simplicity, and that year after year in the same location so many years ago, these beautiful beauties still continue to bloom even if I don’t get my hands dirty in the dirt.

A to Z Challenge, A is for Azaleas

When my grandparents bought my home in the late 50’s they planted Azalea trees. Yes trees. Well back then, they were little shrubs I’m sure. But when I was born in 1975 those little shrubs took on a life of their own. They still line my walkway, and are a staggering 6 ft tall if not taller. Mind you, I’m only 5 ft so I can’t measure much higher 😉

Here is a photo of my Nana and I when I was about 2 months old, in 1975. For reference, Nana was about 5ft 5.

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Fast forward 40 years later, and those little azaleas have blossomed to booming trees. I love my azaleas, but oh the poor snow does a number on them when it hits. The weight of the snow always has me worried that their massiveness wont make it through another harsh winter. But they are strong and survive time and time again.

I remember my Nana telling me that she would put old coffee grinds, and even used brillo pads in the dirt, because Azaleas love acidic soil. Any good search on care for Azaleas would tell you acidic soil is preferred for their growth, and some compost would help as well. I can’t guarantee you’d have 6ft Azaleas, but give it 57 plus years, and your grandkids just might have some to look at.

IMG_7525

Today’s post is part of the April 2016 A to Z Challenge. Keep coming back to read more posts as the days go on. Each day corresponds to a different letter of the alphabet, and you never know what you’re gonna get with my posts, because I’m following a Random theme again this year.

While you’re at it, give a look here at some other bloggers who are also participating in the challenge.

Monday Musings, Spring Ahead

Another weekend has come and gone and it was an especially nice one. We had a full house again, but this time with a weekend visit from Dave’s sister and brother in law, and we had the boys as well.

Early mornings and late evenings made for some fun times. Playing chess, watching movies, card games, Headbandz, and some other card games the boys invented. I love their creative minds and how they can come up with new games just from their imagination alone. Although it takes the rest of us a little while to catch on to the rules of game play, it always turns out to be a fun adventure of sorts.

J, as usual lately, was side by side in the kitchen with Dave and I making dinner, and he even helped bake some cupcakes with me as well. We were going to go watch the Junior Iron Chef Competition they were holding at Whole Foods Market while Dave took, N to his friends birthday party, but J was invited to tag along after all. So I was asked to find a similar competition that we could attend another time because he was really looking forward to it since he loves watching the Food Network kid competitions and basically all the shows on there.

I’ve got some research to do lol!

The weather was especially lovely this weekend too, and what better way to spend some quality time but to go feed the swans, geese, and ducks at the nearby lake, per the suggestion of my Mom. She is beyond sweet, she’s my rock, tells it how it is and even though she gets on my nerves sometimes, I am blessed to call her my mom. It was her birthday on Sunday, and she “wouldn’t have it any other way, go spend time outside with the kids, go to the park, go to the beach, feed the birds and celebrate my birthday by enjoying quality time with them. That’s what I want you to do. We can spend time together on Monday.” she said. So we took her suggestion and we were going to head down by my house and the ocean, but figured the breeze was still kinda strong and ocean breeze would have been even stronger. So the local lake it was.

At first the boys were against going out, of course they wanted to play on the computer with their friends since they hadn’t really had time the rest of the weekend, but once we got there and the huge loaf of Texas toast bread was gone, all we heard was the conversation between the boys

“Where’s the bread, there’s no more bread to feed them” said J. ” Let’s go to the store and get bread and come back and feed them some more.” N replied

We told them there were plenty of nice weather days ahead and we can always come back and feed them another time. So instead of saying they wanted to run home and go on the computers to play, they ran around the lake for about 30 minutes just hunting for rocks, skipping them on the lake, and trying to measure the low level of water with random cattails they found in the marsh.

Boys being boys, I found myself saying. Even the big guy was being a boy. It was adorable. I love these moments where I find myself seeing them being silly, and even N got over his fear of the geese. I think we’ve all had that one memory where a duck, goose, or swan nips at our feet or fingers when we are out there feeding them, or even minding our own business. Well today, N walked up to one of the biggest swans that I’ve seen in a while, and fed it a little piece of bread. He allowed it to eat from his hand, not just throw it at its mouth. We were so impressed, we all high fived him. The smile on his face will stay with me for a long time I believe.

Even loosing an hour sleep on Sunday morning, Dave and I felt we gained so much “time”. Because simply put, it’s not the amount of time that matters, but the quality of what you’re doing during your time that does.