Yesterday, I planted my all of my flowers and herb pots. It’s been dipping into the 30s at night; had to take advantage of the sunny spots and be wary of any wind gusts. Last year, I forgot to bring my seedlings in, and when I came home from work, I found that the high winds had blown the starter flats all over the property. I salvaged and planted whatever I could find, but I have to admit, my garden last year was pretty pitiful.
Trial and error.
Next to my mug this morning is my daughter’s Navy Achievement Medal. When she gave it to me, she said, “Mom, you are the true Marine.” It is one of the most precious gifts I’ve ever been given, and when I take it out to look at it, tears fill my eyes as I ponder upon what a “true Marine” really is. My own daughter is my hero…she has been a little fighter from the day she was born and has become such a strong, beautiful woman. The NAM often reminds and humbles me.
My son served in Iraq, and when he came back, he went through many trials and errors of his own. “Life will kick you in the ass more than anything,” and sometimes that ass-kicking can generate positive results. He went on to get a degree in Audio Engineering; we’ve even recorded a few projects together. We “talk music” a lot…he sends me things to listen to, gives me sound and recording advice, recommends audio equipment, etc. We chat [most] every Sunday to catch up. I look forward to every call.
If you had told me about 30 years ago that both of my kids would become US Marines, I would’ve probably laughed in your face. I was so young when I became a mother and had absolutely no clue how motherhood “worked”. Sure, I got advice from my own mother and mother-figures throughout my life...but looking back, I can say right now that nothing ever really prepares you for it. I personally believe that it’s not fair, throwing mothers and children into the same soup of cluelessness. Then again…who ever said that Life was fair?
Imagine if you will, being on a battlefield where communication, Intel, strategy and tactics are pretty much useless or completely non-existent. Things can and will change, minute by minute. There are no reprieves; there is little, if any, real sleep. It’s 24/7, 365. You have to be alert, on guard and ready for whatever bullshit is thrown at you from the moment you wake up until you fall in a heap at night…and then it starts all over again. Like a “Groundhog Day” with recurring theme and variations…day and night.
I worked three jobs at a hospital…was a General Assignment reporter…a Columnist/Copy Editor of a local newspaper…the founder/editor of a daily news blog…served 30+ years as a Music Director for several Christian denominations (so Sunday mornings were always busy). I sat on several boards and committees of groups and organizations, causes I really believed in. Along the way, I've also seen and have been a part of a lot of trauma and drama in my life...failed marriages, relationships, friendships...choices that made me learn lessons the hard way...
Trial and error.
Motherhood in action is a juggling act with a myriad of glass plates thrown in the air, and needing to have the faith, hope, courage and strength that you can catch and place them all in order, nice and freakin' straight. Motherhood in action is lying awake at night, brain going 100+ MPH, wondering what fresh hell you have to face the next day…and the day after that...and the day after that. Motherhood in action is like throwing spaghetti on the wall, hoping it will stick: “Don’t touch the stove, it’s hot”…”Don’t skip class”…”Quit doing that”…”Homework much?”…”Great, how much is that gonna cost me?”…”You little !@#$%”! It’s ALL trial and error. We are not “trained” for Motherhood, and I don’t care what fluffy books by the “experts” you might read, what sermon you might hear, what "Life Coach" podcast you subscribe to while you’re pregnant and waiting. There IS no boot camp! There is nothing that prepares you and your children for the battlefield called Life.
Oh, believe me...I wasn’t the “perfect” mom. My own trials and errors spilled over into the raising of my kids. I was right there along with them...learning about what The Nouns of Life could dish out from day to day. Mistakes were made. Battles were lost. Retreat was necessary. But what has always been stronger in me has been patience, caring, loving, protecting…and most of all, hope. Sometimes, all it takes is a little cream and sugar when things go dark, and you know they will. Sometimes the spaghetti will stick, and there comes a time when, as a Mother, you have to let go and watch your young fly on their own...experience their own trials and errors, and we know that it breaks our hearts, minds and souls. But that doesn’t mean you are not “present and accounted for…”
It means you have become the “true Marine”...and I share my medal with you.
My mother passed away July 30, 2005. She was also a “true Marine”. One of the most difficult things to do in my entire life was to sing at her funeral. I figured, if I could sing for an event like that, I knew I could sing for anything. I’ve had several women in my life who I call my “Mom” (you all know who you are)…and I am so richly blessed because I can continue to sing my own song of Life…because of you.
Happy Mother’s Day!