“Becoming a mother is life altering.” I hear that. I read that. I laugh at that.
Obviously, we are not talking breaking news here. Yes, becoming a mother alters you life. Forever.
“Alter” is nice, polite. A pleasant word for change; a slight, sweet modification, perhaps. The perfect dress that just needs to be slightly altered, a hem. Pin, tuck, sew. There…perfect. Altered.
In regards to pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood, “alter” is more of a tsunami in the Bermuda Triangle of physical body change, emotional mental upheaval and a soulful evolution that grounds your life’s existence on this planet.
Alter? That is precious, but it doesn’t even come close.
25 years ago today, my life was not altered. My life was shattered. Shattered into a million, brilliant beautiful pieces of light, that have since rained down over me, reflecting all that is good and true and funny and beautiful in this world.
A million, brilliant laughs with a million, brilliant happy tears.
A constant brilliant shower of an authenticity, a shining light that I had never known, yet recognized immediately.
Strong, intelligent, beautiful, courageous, assured, nurturing, wise, creative and the funniest goddamned person I know.
Whatever she does, wherever she goes, she and I will always carry that moment inside us. When the million brilliant pieces of light shattered, rained down from the heavens, blew gracefully through the early morning warm summer Texas breeze and whispered, “mom”.
So, I spent an “awesome” week in “Marina Del Rey” with my daughter, Jordan. (Say it like the SNL skit, “The Californians” for full effect.)
We, of course, had our lists of songs, videos, movies, trailers, tweets and memes to share with one another. Pour us a couple of cocktails and the two of us are off babbling like third graders on some sort of wild, extreme show and tell.
That is what I love best about our mother daughter relationship. We get each other. We are movies and music and NFL and superheroes and pirates and comic con wanna-goes. We do not shop, but if forced to, it has to be fast. In a mall or department store, we will lose the ability to verbally communicate in about 30 minutes. We don’t pour over fashion mags or celeb rags. But, we can go into full-blown geek mode with showing each other the latest mind-blowing “Star Wars” or “Avengers” meme. We swoon over food and cocktail recipe porn on Pinterest.
Mostly, we are simply entertained by making each other laugh. That is our relationship. We don’t bicker. We laugh. We do not argue. We laugh. We do not judge each other. We simply laugh. We are in a constant celebration of the 23 years of sheer entertainment we have continued to provide each other. We are pretty damn proud of ourselves. Even when we are the only ones laughing.
There is always the perfect movie or TV line for every situation, that serves as a salve to every hardship we have ever had to encounter. Laughter is our comfort food and our favorite cocktail. Well, more like the perfect garnish to our favorite cocktail.
There are those that know us and understand. There are those that know us and think we are freaks. Jordan and I have never fought, yelled or bickered. Ever. And it is all her. She was born with the temperament of a wise, seasoned traveler. The patience she showed me, Helen Keller-ing my way into new mother hood at 23 was mind-boggling. (It would prove to serve me well with my son.)
Jordan brought out my bravery, honed my confidence and taught me that competitiveness was overrated and would bring nothing but stress and possibly Yellow Jack Fever! (I dramatize. We’re from the south and big fans of Bette Davis’ Jezebel. And Mint Juleps.)
Thank you, Jordan. We really dodged a bullet. If I hadn’t let you lead me, let you show me who YOU were, we could still be posing for pics in matching Laura Ashley dresses. (Oh, c’mon. I only it did it once. Okay, twice! But, that was it!)
This I know for sure, my girl: You KNOW who you are. And, what you are not.
Jordan has not developed an affinity for home and hearth, just yet. She’s a busy young woman making her way in the film biz in Hollywood. So I flew to “SoCal” to bring my special decorating mama magic to her newly rented apartment. Admittedly, she felt that “crack den” was not the look she was going for. She had a mattress on the floor and a large flat screen TV. Priorities.
Here are a few before and after pics. It’s not Architectural Digest, but damn. My girl feels cozy again. She said it feels like home…almost. It’s cozy for “The Ca-li-for-nians”.
I hit every vintage store and antique shop in the Santa Monica area. And, by the way, if you watched the skit above, I DID “have to take Lincoln ALL the way to Washington!” OHMYGAWD!
Next week, I’ll be off to the East Coast to get Joshua set up in his first apartment in Boston. The Boy should be much easier…in theory. But, the talented, creative soul that he is bleeds into all sorts of decorating and style “opinions.” Joshua has taught me a different kind of patience. The kind you use to not be on the local news, behind the yellow tape. Still, I wouldn’t change our relationship for anything, either. We have been through some rough seas but, came out stronger and better humans because of the struggles he has had to face. Again, HIM teaching ME.
We have all read the articles, seen the TV segments that “special” is overused and has paralyzed an entire generation of kids with entitlement issues. But, I feel comfortable with my children being unique to me; they are mine. I wouldn’t trade my road for anything or change one turn, for fear it wouldn’t lead me right to this moment: Jordan starting her adult life in L.A.and Joshua getting back on the college road at Berklee. Nicole, happy and successful with her booming photography business in Austin. Monica, thriving as a new lawyer, at a major firm here in Houston.
It is a parenting, “I can breathe” moment.
We are right where we are supposed to be. They lead me right here. (Exhale.)
Happy “Back to School” to all, from kindergarten to college. This time of year always brings on the same feelings of starting anew, along with letting go. But, as you pack up your kids school supplies or set up their dorm rooms, let them lead you. Let them show your their strengths, their likes, their interests. Let them lead you down the path that feels natural to them. Yes, you are in charge and you are their ultimate guide. But, you will be amazed at what those precious little ones can teach you.