Monday, May 13, 2013

My First Mother's Day, My Own Mother, and a Long Overdue Thank-You Note.

Yesterday was my first mother's day, and-- like parenthood-- it was filled with highs and lows.  Millie forgot to get me a card, but Sean saved her by buying one for her.  A definite high was the gift from my in-laws-- a "shopping spree" of sorts in their beautiful shade garden.  They had excess hostas, lungwort, ferns, black-eyed-susans, bee balm, and other perennials and they loaded us up. They took me around their property, letting me pick out the things we wanted for our yard. I responded exactly like a shark in a tank full of chum, and went on a sedum-induced feeding frenzy.

The definite down side was our drive home, in which Millie screamed for 3 and a half hours, probably in protest to the fact that I hadn't let her pick out which hostas we wanted for the side yard.

I also had the opportunity to speak to my own mother, who is the strongest, smartest, funniest woman alive.  Lets be clear---if my mom got in a fight with any of your moms--- she would win. Likewise, if she got in a math competition or a dirty limerick writing contest, she would win. SHE IS A WINNER.  Yesterday, I was thinking a lot about the ways in which my mother has prepared me for motherhood, and the areas I have fallen short. Here is what I've come up with.

When you are a new mother, you have a lot of new emotions, fears, and hormones coursing through your system. For instance, when I first had Millie, I had to confront a crippling fear of not having chocolate ice cream at every meal. Luckily, I knew exactly what cuss words to say in order to make my sentiments known. This is all thanks to my mother.
My mother grew up on a farm in rural Georgia with four older brothers who schooled her in the use of pill-bottle-based explosive devices and colorful expletives. Soon their young apprentice began to outpace them all, and demonstrated such mastery of the four major cuss words of the day (shit, damn, ass, and hell,) as to claim the title of prodigy.
Hilariously, I had no idea of my mother's genius until I was 13 years old, at which point my parents allowed me to cuss, and my mother taught me to shout "who dealt this shit?" when playing spades. My mother is very VERY good about controlling her language in front of children, so up until this time, I had no idea that I was to become a young padawan to such a  powerful language master.
Now that I am a grown up and have a daughter of my own, I am thoroughly enjoying the golden months when Millie is still oblivious to my sailor mouth.  Very soon, I will have to retire my impressive vocabulary until her young and impressionable ears are more developed.  I can't wait to see the look on Millie's face on her 13th birthday, when she discovers the truth about her mother and grandmother, and I can't wait to teach her to say "who dealt this shit?" ---a feat for which I am totally and completely prepared thanks to my own Mom.

Not Prepared: 
Writing Thank you notes: 
I didn't grow up in the sort of house where we wrote thank you notes.  In fact, I didn't even grow up in the kind of house where we exchanged birthday cards. Perhaps the most glaring example of my unpreparedness for motherhood is my absolute inability to keep up with even the most basic mail correspondence. This is normally not much of a problem, as the good lord saw fit to invent email during my lifetime, graciously sparing me from a life of social shame, and--as a bonus-- allowing for the distribution of cat videos among my g-chat friends.  However, when you have a baby, you receive gifts from absolutely everywhere.  I am not making this up when I say that we received at least ten beautiful and thoughtful baby gifts from persons who we have never met, ever in our lives.  This puts a lot of stress on me, a person who is already handicapped in the thank-you-note-writing area, and I've often had this conversation with my mother: "We are receiving a gift from who? The friend of your coworker's dog groomer? They are getting us what? Oh wow! How lovely of them-- will you try and get their address so I can write them a thank you note?"  To be honest though, even if I have the address, I'll most likely never send the note because I am too distracted watching cat videos on the internet.  So, if you have given us a baby gift and are still waiting on your thank you note, please accept this one on my behalf:

Dear (please circle one) Person who I have never met/ Close friend/ Relative/ Dog groomer of relative, 

Thank you so much for your adorable gift of (please circle one) bibs/ tiny dresses/ tiny dresses with matching bibs.  We love them and Millie looks adorable in them.  Your thoughtfulness overwhelms us, and we are so grateful to you for thinking of us during this momentous time in our lives. 

Warm Wishes,
Sean and Katie

Now, there was a moment in which my areas of preparedness and unpreparedness came full circle, and that moment was when I wrote the thank you note to my parents after my baby shower. To put them at their ease, I made sure to include plenty of cuss words. It went something like this:

Dear Mom and Dad,

Thank you so much for the beautiful and thoughtful cloth diapers.  I will always think of you when I am up to my ears in baby shit. Also, thank you so much for all the times you wiped my ass, as I'm sure that could not have been fun for you. 

All my love,

Now that it's mothers day, I am inspired to write a different sort of thank you note to my Mom.

Dear Mom,

First of all, thank you for enduring the horrific pain of childbirth and subsequent sleep depravation that accompanied my entry into this world. Also, you are a Bitch for lying to me about how much that would suck.  Thank you so much for keeping me alive until I was thirteen, and then teaching me to cuss-- that was really fun.  Thanks in short, for all the ways in which you prepared me for being a mother, and for teaching me that---although I will probably have to wait for thirty years for a thank you note from my own daughter-- she will definitely be grateful to me for putting up with all her bullshit. I love you.

Happy Mothers Day,

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