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Archive for the ‘mom’ Category

Well, in this case, a 2004 Subaru Forester.

I must admit that as I write, my heart is as heavy as the hard chromium on a catalytic converter.

I had to take my mom’s car from her. I had to take her last symbol of eighty-three years of independence. I had to take the most favorite car she has ever owned… a fully loaded, soft gold colored, beige leather interior, mint condition with 6,000 total miles 2004 Subaru Forester.

Yes, I said 6,000 miles. As in 6,000 miles.

My mom is a fiercely independent woman who, like many of our mothers or grandmothers, has lived through the Great Depression, too many wars, and an explosion of technology that is unprecedented. My mom has had to adjust to widowhood and the deaths of many family members and friends.

She has mastered use of her computer, which keeps her in touch with her family and the world.

But I don’t think she ever thought that her car would be taken from her.

The problem is her scoliosis and severe spinal stenosis, both of which have ravaged her spine. And certain movements of body have become almost impossible. She still lives on her own at a wonderful apartment complex for the elderly. She walks at least a mile each day, often with her walker (but all too often, in my humble opinion, without). She takes the senior citizen bus to her local senior center for chair exercises three times per week, and also to her local Walmart (“Walmarts,” as she says). And she takes the senior bus to have her hair done once a week.

I take her grocery shopping, to her doctors’ appointments, and out and about for other essentials, lunch… and just plain old company.

But her beloved Subaru was always there in the parking spot, just waiting, all-gassed up for that necessary trip to the mall for a new outfit that she didn’t really need. Or to her local pharmacy, where she could spend hours picking out just the right greeting cards for the people she loves. And to the local Dunkin’ Donuts for that muffin or bagel or hot cup of coffee in the middle of the afternoon.

The Subaru was her magic carpet.

The problem is safety. Safety for her. Safety for others on the road. My mom insisted that her reflexes were good. “Watch,” she would tell me emphatically as she lifted her right foot and tapped it on the ground, “I still have my reflexes.” And I would nod and say, “I know. But driving is more than reflexes.”

Until today. Today was the dreaded appointment with her physiatrist. As my mom calls him… “my nerve, bone and muscle guy.” I knew I was going in today with the final question of driving. My mom knew the same. And I know we both knew the answer long before the appointment.

But today it was final. No more car. No, not even the mile to the mall, the .5 mile to the pharmacy, or around the corner to Dunkin’ Donuts.

No more car.

I felt such sadness come over me when the physiatrist slowly shook his head in that “it’s-just-not-a-good-idea” way. I felt debilitating pain. I felt that place where nothing can help.

My mom was stoic. She even tapped her foot and said, “My reflexes are still good.” But she said this with resignation.

I wish my mom had said, “NO. NO-ONE IS GOING TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO, DAMN IT.” But she didn’t. First, my mom never raises her voice in anger. Second, she never curses.

It got me thinking what I will do when my kids take my car from me some day. First, I will raise my voice. Second, I will curse, ‘cuz it’s something that I do…

And it also got me thinking about my mom and her cars. I remember my mom piling my brothers and me into her big blue and white Chevy station wagon when we lived in California and my dad was “out to sea” for months at a time. We went on adventures each day – the Navy pool, the San Diego Zoo, and always for ice cream at the local ice cream shop. When we moved back to New England where my mom grew up, she piled us kids into her steel blue Falcon for all the trips to visit relatives, to all of our lessons, to the library, and always to our local ice cream shop.

I remember my mom taking me out to drive when I had my learner’s permit. By then she had a little red Corvair. Oh, how she didn’t raise her voice or curse at me during those trying times is beyond me.

So my heart is heavy for the woman who taught me how to do cartwheels in my back yard. How to dive into a pool. How to hit a golf ball. How to bowl a strike.

How to drive.

Hey, maybe a big, hot, heavy, cruisin’ hot rod Lincoln would be a safer bet?

I’ll pass that one by my mom…

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We expected rain all week in New England for Mother’s Day.

So you can imagine my delight when I opened my eyes at the usual 6:45am and sun was peeking through my bedroom windows!

But where was my husband?

Downstairs making coffee, breakfast and (gasp!) cleaning the kitchen before bringing up the boys and the news that I could sleep “as long as I wanted.”

But all I wanted was to gather my boys, my belly and head to one of our spectacular Rhode Island beaches!

This is what my morning looked like…


(Me and my boys – William and Alexander – pushing Benjamin… getting ready for baby Henry. Thanks BOB Strollers for this amazing stroller! Can’t wait to use it more this summer, and for getting into shape after Henry!)

*I just wanted to update – I’ve gotten a bunch of emails this morning from people asking where I got my polo shirt (in the photos on the beach). It was a gift from my husband from Motherhood Maternity. The color is aqua. The style is button-down polo. And it’s that ultra-soft cotton.*

– Audrey

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An ode to my Mom

I always knew that I had a special relationship with my mom.

But it took me awhile longer to realize that not every daughter had a mother like mine.

I guess, when I was younger, I thought that all mothers were just like mine.

I thought that all mothers woke their daughters each morning with a loving kiss and a declaration that today would be a great day.

And that when their daughters would say, “Just let me sleep a few more minutes,” all mothers would gently tuck the covers back around their daughters and wish them sweet dreams during those extra minutes of sleep.

I thought that all mothers would stay up late with their daughters as they studied for a big test or finished a big term paper, checking in every once in awhile with snacks, cups of hot tea and encouraging words.

I thought that all mothers had the right words to say, at the right moments, whenever their daughters needed them. That all daughters saw their mothers as the first person to go to whenever they needed to be comforted.

I thought that all mothers and daughters laughed together and genuinely enjoyed each others’ company.

Because that is all I have ever known.

By the time I got to high school, and girls started to “hate” their mothers, it began to hit me that I had something with my mom that not many other people had.

My mom has always just been my best friend, even back in high school.

If I had a fight with a friend, or if I wasn’t invited to something that everyone else was invited to, or if a boy broke my heart, or if I needed to vent about a teacher or a coach, or if a friend put me in an awkward situation… she was always the first person I wanted to go to.

For her advice. For her words of wisdom. For her love.

She never tried to be that “cool mom” who wants to be best friends with her children because she’s trying to act like a teenager.

We never had fights, or didn’t talk to each other. I never told my mom I “hated” her.

My mom just is, and always has been, the first person I go to when I have news to share… good, bad, funny, interesting or otherwise. I genuinely enjoy my mother’s company, and her opinion and her approval mean so much to me.

When I have (human) children of my own someday, I will know I have had the best role model, who has tought me just what a mother should be.

And until then, I will continue trying to emulate the kind of wife, daughter – and woman – she is.

I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day!

Love,
Janie

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Happy Mother’s Day ladies!!

I hope your day is filled with love and happiness and lots of joy!!

And to my mother in particular… my best friend…

I love you more than anything. And I honor you on this day.

Thank you for being. Thank you for being YOU. There literally is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for sending me to you. I know I joke about this with you… but I must have done something really good in a past life to get you as my mother in this lifetime.

I love everything about you.

Your smile. Your wisdom. Your humor. Your sense of style (very chic!). Your capacity to love life to its fullest. Your ability to look ay any situation with a positive outlook. And just for always being there for all of us. Always. No matter what.

Now that I’m a mother myself… I know that unconditional love that you have for your child(ren). And my only goal as a mother to my children is to be half of a mother as you are to me… I would consider myself very successful and lucky if that happens. Because truly… I just want to be like you.

Thank you for everything. Thank you for the little “I love you” notes. Thank you for always having that perfect “quote.” Thank you for being an amazing grandmother. Thank you for believing in me and dreaming the bigger dream. And thank you for daring me to dream that bigger dream.

And thank you for being on that journey… my greatest gift is that I get to work with you every single day. And what days they are!

I love you more than anything. And I can’t wait to give you a big hug today!!

Happy Mother’s Day!

– Audrey

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You’re glowing…

With my 3 boys at home, pregnant with my 4th, working round-the-clock and “keeping house”… I had to do something.

Each time I walked by the mirror I kept thinking to myself, “Oh Audrey… you need a palm tree, some sand, the beach, a beach towel and a margarita. Oh, and a tan.”

(OK, neg the margarita.)

So I did it.

I didn’t want to use the self-tanners because I have in the past and well, they just look FAKE on me. For some reason, I always come out looking like a ripe orange no matter how well I follow the directions.

So I found my ace in the hole. My total pick-me-up.

Jergens Natural Glow Moisturizing Lotion.

I love this cream. I have been moisturizing with it every evening for the past 4 weeks and I absolutely LOVE the glow it gives me. And it smells delicious!

So as I’ve been out and about lately, people have actually said to me, “Aww… you have the wonderful pregnancy glow.” And even though I am truly glowing about my Henry coming… I can assure you, it is not “me” glowing, it’s my Jergens!

Love it. Makes me feel good and look a little healthier at this almost-summer time and almost-new-baby time. And I don’t even need the palm tree, sand, beach and towel… or the sun.

And, what can I say… my husband is loving this glow… good thing I’m pregnant with baby #4 already (ahem…)!

– Audrey

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This morning my husband and I were eating breakfast at a small local diner in our town.

It is rainy here in New England today, so people were crowded into the not-really-a-waiting-area. What I love about this diner is its eclectic mix. And today was business as usual. Senior citizens sipping coffee and reading newpapers at the counter. Babies squirming in high chairs. Teenagers whispering what teenagers whisper. Toddlers concentrating on their coloring book masterpieces.

And moms and dads.

Ah, the moms and dads. Audrey’s Friday post popped into mind as I overheard a mom tell an admiring stranger that her son was going to Harvard.

OK. But the stranger was admiring the artwork of 4-year old. Or maybe he was 5. Unless the child is some kind of prodigy and the acceptance letter has arrived, I don’t actually think that particular child is heading off to Harvard in the fall.

All the stanger did was comment on how wonderful the child’s drawing was. “Colorful and imaginary.”

But the mom took that moment to describe her child as “incredibly artistic and mathematical too.”

Again. OK.

The child did not look up at the stranger, or his mom. He just kept right on drawing. Lines. Colors. Swirls. Dots. Circles. A nice drawing to be sure, but I wondered what was going on in that little guy’s mind.

Does he know what “Harvard” is? Does he have any idea that he’s going there some day? Is there some family legacy that makes the mom so confident in her son’s acceptance?

Does the stranger who simply offered a little guy a wonderful compliment regarding his drawing even care?

And even more important to me, how many times has the mom told someone that her son is going to Harvard… and what if, in 12 years or so, the little guy who loves to draw does not get his much anticipated acceptance letter from Harvard?

It makes me almost cry to think about the pressure on the little boy. It makes me wonder why some parents place so much conditional acceptance on their children.

Titles. Tags. Labels.

How about just letting kids be kids. Growing. Experimenting. Learning. Questioning. Answering. Sorting. Sifting.

Dreaming. Dreaming their own dreams with love, guidance and patience of caring adults who are comfortable in their own skin.

– Sharon

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I was at the playground yesterday with the boys. There were 4 other mothers standing around next to me watching their kids play.

None of us had ever met, but we all had kids that were about the same ages – 5 and under.

Out of the 5 of us there, 4 of us had 3 children. So there were 14 kids playing together. It was very cute.

But then one of the little boys started crying because his older sister “by mistake” threw sand at him.

This mother (obviously embarrassed) ran over to diffuse the sibling situation.

As she was doing her “thing,” one of the other mothers asked the group of mothers, “So which one is your cry baby?”

Cry baby!? Gee… great term for your child.

All of us were a little stunned by the bluntness. After all, we just met.

But then… she goes on.

“My oldest is my cry-baby. All he does is whine. My middle daughter is an emotional roller coaster. Drama. Drama. Drama. She’s up, she’s down. And my youngest is my shining star. He’s the easiest child.”

So let me digest.

Older one = cry baby.

Middle one = drama.

Youngest = star.

Can’t see this not messing them up at all. And let me interject that her youngest is exactly Benjamin’s age. He just turned one last week. Let’s face it, anything could happen.

I just sat there listening to 2 of the other mothers “labeling” their kids too. Shy. Outgoing. Reserved. Little clown. Attention-getter. My athlete. My bookworm. Needy. My messy one.

AND LET ME REPEAT… the kids are all 5 and under! Not one of them is in kindergarten yet!

And the list went on.

I just kept remembering a family friend once telling my parents in front of Jane and me as kids… “Well, I can tell who the little shy one is out of these two.”

It was me. I must have been about 7 or 8 years old. And I have never forgotten that comment. I never had thought of myself as shy, my parents certainly never called me out on it. I just remember thinking, even at the young age, I will NEVER do that to my kids. I always respected my parents for never “labeling” or “tagging” or putting “titles” to any of us 4 kids.

So William, Alex and Ben… yes, you all have different personalities. It’s a beautiful thing to see. And yes, one of you is a little more comfortable in group situations. And yes, one of you likes to be holding my hand. And yes, one of you attracts a lot of attention from strangers with your funny little antics.

But you will never know which one it is. At least not from me. All of you are the funniest… cutest… most outgoing… and most LOVED little men in my life!

– Audrey

*Cross-posted at New England Mamas.

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