Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hey! I have some questions here!

So, ever since this whole "Mom dropped a kidney" incident, I think she's been a little out of sorts. See, my mom isn't normal, you know, for someone her age. (Just between you and me, I think she sometimes looks age in the mirror and gives it the finger.) As I said in a previous post, she and my dad are both quite active, and always have been. Biking, hiking, traveling, working out, volunteering... yeah, uh, that's more than I do.

So this whole "recovery from major surgery" thing has really thrown her for a loop. She still goes for walks, but hiking, biking, working out... that's on the backburner for awhile. Oh, sure, she can still volunteer, but as the backbone of Peoria's Habitat for Humanity ReStore, she moved around and staged furniture all day into eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing displays instead of the guys just dumping them in a big room like some overgrown flea market. She can't do that for awhile, either.

But what my mom can do is write. Yep, that's where I got it from. Actually, it goes further back than that. Her mother was the editor of the Shell Oil newsletter back in the day. You know, back when there were very few "career women". My grandma had the gift, and she passed it on to my mom, and so on...

So the other day I said to her, "Now that you have some down time, why don't you write?" "Well," she said, "it's so hard to get started. Then once I start I don't want to stop!" (I'm still searching to find the problem here...) And I said, "What about writing about your travels? You've been to so many countries and done so many things that even I can't remember all the places you've been." Then I said, "What about just writing about all the things you've done in general since you retired? Kind of like a 'guide for empty-nesters'?" If there's anyone that's kept busy since we all flew the coop (even though we still return occasionally to this day), it's my mom.

She said she'd think about it.

That got ME thinking. I have a lot of questions for her. There's rarely a week that goes by that I don't think, "I wonder if my mom went through this, and if so, what did she do?" Of course, I can call her up and ask her, and I do, but'd be nice to have a handy dandy reference I can flip through sometimes. Kind of like a "Mom's FAQs".

So I thought I'd formulate a little list of questions to get her going. And I want you to add your two cents. Not what you want to know about MY mom, of course, but what you want to know about yours. Or your dad. Doesn't matter. But I'm sure most of you who are my age (mid 40's) and have kids have thought more than once, "Did my parents go through this?" So. Mom. Here's what I wanna know.

OK, so at 40, my body basically said, "See ya!" My metabolism came to a screeching halt and anything I ate over 200 calories became tattooed on my thighs. I see pictures of you in your 40's - you're stunning and incredibly in shape. You had four kids. HOW did you do that?

I know we were all thorns in your side at some point in time (and no, we don't have to revisit the times it was ME.) What did you do during those times? Besides pray to the Virgin Mary and drink wine like any good Catholic? Did you call YOUR mom for advice? Did you huddle in little mom groups swapping helpful hints and information and thanking God that you didn't have the son/daughter that Mary Jo has? Or did you pick up the latest "Mom Self-Help" book ala Dr. Spock?

How did you teach us to be independent? Did you worry that we weren't going to make it on our own? Did you wonder how we'd handle money? Paying bills? Getting to work on time? Making our own decisions?

What worried you most about us when we were teenagers?

Did you like our friends? Did you trust us when we went out or did you worry?

How did you feel when we left the house for good? (Yes, some of us took a bit longer than others, but not too long).

Did you ever feel resentful toward us - like you had done all this great parenting and we didn't acknowledge or appreciate it (until we had kids)?

Did you ever feel as if you were "in transition" between being that stay-at-home-mom and whoever else you wanted to be? How did you work through that?

When you went back to work, you still had two kids at home. Did you have a hard time balancing work and parenting and did you ever feel guilty about either one?

Even though you'll never be done mothering, when did you feel that you could take a deep breath and relax a little - do your own thing - travel for weeks at a time?

What advice can you give to a 44-year old working mother who wants to have it all?

There ya go, Mom. Now get started. I need some answers. And I bet there's a lot more moms out there who need them, too. If you're one of them, post your question below. I'll see that she gets it.

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