nourishing & unapologetic
I wasn’t going to write anything.
I wasn’t going to feel anything.
I wasn’t going to be different.
It wasn’t going to be different.
Except it was.
This year is different.
It was going to be my first official Mother’s Day. And, I guess it is. But, my heart knows it’s not what we planned. It’s not the same.
If you hear or read a twinge of sadness, you’re right. It’s there. But I’m doing my damndest to channel that hope in my soul.
In the light of the impending holiday, I have a few suggestions to my fellow mommas-in-waiting, those who still have empty arms and a chunk of their hearts still missing, those who’ve suffered a loss during pregnancy or after, and those who have had failed adoptions. This could also apply to those who've lost their mother or estranged, I suppose too.
1. Find your kind.
Literally, find your kind. Find the ladies who have walked this path, and those still in the midst of it. These are the folks who can really relate to the experience, the emotions, the emptiness, and the impatience. Connect with them via social, text, a call, or in person. Talk it out or be quiet together. Lend your support and send a little love on this day. It's hard for everyone but hard is better together, usually. I think.
Also, find your kind. Be kind to yourself. Remind yourself that the lack or the loss isn't your fault. It isn't in vain. And, it isn't over. Practice some self-care.
2. Expect the awkwardness.
People, including your closest family and friends, don't know what to say. And, what can they say? Sometimes what's said hurts more than helps. But, let's try to understand, even if someone says all the wrong things, they're trying to fill the space. They think they need to say something to show their sympathy or empathy usually because they really, really care and want what is best for us. And let's be brutally honest and self-aware, generally we don't know what to say back which is awkward for them too. Plus, if they weren't saying anything, then how would we feel? So, let's give our crew and the well-meaning strangers, the benefit of the doubt. Grace is a gift we can give them and it helps us too. Accept that the awkwardness will happen and embrace it. Say thank you for their sentiment or dive in and have a conversation if you feel so moved.
3. Eat your favorite food or something totally indulgent.
All the health experts and nutritionists probably would tell you emotional eating is bad. And, probably a poor coping mechanism. But, I'm here to tell you that there is something special about your favorite food -- be it a fudgy brownie, a tart lemon bar, a double-dip cone, or heap of chips and guac. Whatever your go-to is, make it or order it. And don't second guess it. Calories don't apply here.
4. Get some sunshine and some moves in.
For me, getting some steps in outside not only gives me a dose of Vitamin D and some fresh air, but gives me a chance to dream and think big thoughts. I always feel refreshed after a walk or a yoga sesh.
5. Love on the mommas in your life.
This can be a hard one in particular on this day. But do it anyway if you can. Tell them they’re doing a good job. Tell them what you admire about their approach to #momlife. Tell them why they’re special to you. Our relationships with other women are so important. You know the gals I’m talking about: Your momma gave you life. Relish if you’ve still got a grandma or two around. And don’t forget to love those sisters and sister-in-laws who gifted you the most precious nieces and nephews on the planet. Love on your momma friends; they are a good group to learn from — plus you were probably friends with many of them BEFORE they had kids in tow. These are our examples. These are our role models. These are our future babysitters, play dates, and room mom crews.
6. Know you are still a rockin’, strong, rad, beautiful soul that gives the world her best.
Through the monthly disappointment and spontaneous tears, you are still you. And that is enough. Totally enough.
Note, these are just suggestions. By all means, if you just can't do any of these, and you just need space and quiet, take it.
And, tomorrow, if you happen to go to church, and you get to the inevitable portion of the sermon when the pastor or priest asks all the mothers to stand up and be recognized, do what feels right. If you want to stand because you have a babe in Heaven, stand tall. If you want to sit because it doesn’t feel right to stand, stay planted, but don’t shrink. And if the well-meaning little in your family asks for another flower for you too (because her mom and grandma have one), accept it with grace. You’ve earned that flower.
Mommin’ is hard. No matter what stage you’re in or if you haven’t even got to really start it yet. All mommas matter.
For now, I’m going to be a momma-in-waiting. But I know it’s going to be worth the wait.
Until next time,
It’s Valentine’s weekend! If you’ve read a few other posts, it’s apparent I’m a holiday fanatic. The decorations, the treats, a reason to indulge…I’m there! However, Valentine’s Day has never captured my heart as much. Funny, since I’m a pretty emotionally driven person. Though, let’s get it straight—I’m not hating on V-Day; it is a lovely day. (bahdum bum!) In honor of this love-filled weekend, I want to share with you a love story of a different kind: love of family, particularly the momma unit.
You see, my mom, the Debmeister, Debbo, Debra (not her actual full name), celebrated a milestone this past Friday. She started a new job. No, we’re not celebrating because she started on Friday the 13th—a presumably unlucky day. We’re celebrating because she started a NEW JOB after 35 YEARS at her former employer. No, that’s not a typo. Thirty-five years at one business. Loyalty and then some, huh? This is a big step. A big risk for her. My family seriously, emphatically couldn’t be more proud!!! We’re behind her 110% and know she is going to thrive in her new position.
I’ve featured my daddy-o on here before, but not my momma. She’s equally as impressive as my dad. You’ll see that soon enough. Though, in the spirit of full disclosure, as many know, my mom and I have had some notorious arguments (largely attributed to my sass mouth), but I realize I really lucked out in parent lottery. So, let’s delve in to why she rocks.
One could say my mom has a hard luck story—huge family (like problematically big), the loss of her mom when she was not even into the double digits, and more. But for her shy side’s sake, I’ll stop there. The important part of her story is that she never let her circumstances define her. The determination that courses through her veins wouldn’t let that happen. She’s always done what she’s had to do to get by. She’s adapted to whatever life threw her. She’s worked in a leather factory, she’s been a welder, she holds her cosmetology license, and for the last three decades she’s worked in printing…Plus she's been parenting for like 2/3 of her life and a wife too. Multifaceted, yes, that could be the right word to describe her.
But more importantly, she is probably one of the most sentimental, loyal, and giving people you’ll meet. She is creative, crafty, and resourceful. She isn’t a talker unless she’s comfortable, but when she’s in her zone, she’s funny and engaging. She is a prolific provider of unconditional love.
When I was growing up, any whim I wanted to undertake, she’d support it. Any Halloween costume I dreamed up, she’d create it. Any meal I wanted, she’d cook it. You get my drift… It’s safe to say the Pope household generally turned on a dime for me (now don’t worry—I had boundaries—and my brother is still the golden child ;) ).
Most girls eventually say that their mom is one of their best friends. In my little brain and heart, that doesn’t entirely compute. Okay, yes, she’s of course your (my) first and oldest friend and most trusted confidant. But to me, a mom is more than that; she’s a role model. She’s the balance in a way no best friend could possibly be. No labels needed, a mom is one of the best people to have in your corner no matter the situation.
Now, that I’ve probably said enough to a) embarrass her, and b) make her cry (Dad get the tissues), I’ll sign off.
Mom, I am overjoyed you took the chance to exercise your confidence. You are going to be an excellent asset to the new company. Know I am behind you just like you’ve always been for me. High five and a big hug! (And Nick says, ditto.)
Now, all of you, go give your mom (mother-in-law, aunt, mom-type figures) some extra love. Perhaps have a belated Galentine’s celebration?! Or if you’re mom is now your Guardian Angel, drag out a few photos and reflect on her legacy or go do something she loved to do.
Until next time--
PS This is the second post without a recipe, so in honor of my mom’s favorite flavor, let me refer you one of the best coconut recipes I know of. You can thank me later.
Coconut Cream Pie Bars: http://dough-puncher.blogspot.com/2011/06/coconut-cream-pie.html