Today is Mother’s Day. I went to visit my mom at her farm. Yep, my mom has a farm. She has lots of land with chickens, and tractors, and 4-wheelers. She has all the things I’ve never wanted in life, but it’s a nice quiet place out in the middle of nowhere to escape city living. It’s her little piece of heaven that she worked hard for and finally made a reality.
My mom has always been a working mom of 3 kids. She and my dad divorced after 14 years of marriage. I was 12, my brother was 10, and my sister was 5. My sister and I lived with my mom. My brother lived with my dad. We all lived less than 10 minutes apart and saw plenty of each other, so I don’t really see it as some sad story of a broken family. I’m not sure how my parents ever got married in the first place – they have nothing in common. Looking back, my parents whole marriage made no sense. I’ve told them this. They just shrug – they both got over it a long time ago.
During my teenage years between 13 and 16 years old, I watched my mom work long hard hours, and I helped clean the house and do laundry. I also spent entirely too much time watching my little sister (and helping her with her hair) and yelling at my brother to not do things that would burn the house down. I was the little home caretaker. I was home alone a lot. I could’ve seriously pulled some wild teenager shit, but I never did. Okay, maybe I did a little bit, but I didn’t have it in me to be too bad. It didn’t seem right.
My mom and I have gone through various mother-daughter phases. Of course she was my everything when I was a little kid. And she was a big role model for me when I was an early teen. She bought a little bungalow in the middle of her small old hometown so that we could be in a safe place with good schools. I watched her mow the grass and do yard work. She showed me how to balance a checkbook and told me the realities of what you can afford on a certain level of pay. She put up with me when I backed her car up into the neighbors car on the street (and she had to pay the insurance deductible). She didn’t kill me when my friends threw Zima bottles into our pool and ran away, leaving me to clean up the party mess (she made me go to church instead).
My mom tried her best to show me how to be smart and independent, but she also let me do fun girl things.
She let me talk too much on the phone and eat junk food. She didn’t censor what I watched on TV. She let me experiment with make-up (but wouldn’t let me leave the house wearing tons of eyeliner). She let me practice painting my own nails and plucking my eyebrows. When I was 11, she put braces on my teeth and throughout the process she would say “You’ll thank me someday,” (and I totally have many times). When I was 14, she let me get contacts so that I wouldn’t be so self-conscious about wearing my thick glasses. She let me hang out with who I wanted to be friends with and quietly watched as I made my own choices for who should stick around and who should go. Overall, she was about as non-helicopter mom as could be, but she wasn’t neglectful or uncaring. She just didn’t have time or energy to follow us around and monitor our every move.
My mom remarried when I was 16. That husband was a Loser (yes with a capital “L”). I moved out right after that husband moved in. She finally figured it out how much of a loser he was after it was too late. We watched my mom bounce back and get back to her old self after 7 long years with loser face. After that, she wasn’t going to settle for anything less than what she wanted and deserved.
She remarried again when I was 28 – the same year I got married. The next guy was a Winner and they were actually compatible. Too bad it took her so long to end up with her soul mate, but she finally did, and he digs the farm and chickens and living in the middle of nowhere too. I love that they are a match made in country heaven.
What I’ve learned from my mom through the years is to go after what you want and make sure you’re independent enough to do so. I haven’t agreed with every choice my mom has made, but therein lies the point – she has made her own choices. She has shaped her own way. She goes after what she wants and makes things happen. If something doesn’t go right, she learns and tries again. She got her farm. Thanks for the motivation mom. I will get my (non-farm) farm one day too.
Stifle Me Not