I know Mother’s Day was over 2 weeks ago, so I guess you could say I am a bit late with a Mother’s Day post. It is funny, when I was pregnant with Nico during Mother’s Day 2015 people sent me notes to say Happy Mother’s Day. It felt a bit odd to me, as we had not yet met this little baby boy. This year also felt a bit strange — as he is still so young.
My mom passed away when I was 16, and even then she was not really present in my life going back to the age of 12. Those four years in between were filled with doctors appointments, hospitals, nurses, at-home health equipment, food stamps, depression, and so much more. I do not remember much about middle school and the beginning of high school, but I remember the bed pans, the pain, the fear of not being there for her. What kid should go through that? I also do not remember much about how we spent our Mother’s Day each year.
So why do I sound like the scrooge of Mother’s Day? I strongly believe that we do not need these hallmark holidays. Those that know Chris and I will know that my response to someone who says, “Chris, pamper Tami on Mother’s Day.” I would say to that, “pamper me everyday.” Why not, right? We should love, cherish, and take care of each other each and every day. Why find one day out of the year to share appreciation? Why not do it every day? I feel the same way about Valentine’s Day and a plethora of other hallmark holidays.
So since I have spent more Mother’s Day without my mom than I spent with her it maybe takes a bit of the pizazz out of the day for me. Since Nico is so small, why celebrate? When he is old enough to care I would rather he decide how he would like to approach the day. Some kids get really into it. At the end of the day, though, I would rather teach and model to him that we cherish each other every day. Why not, right? Life is short.
Chris and I are minimalists. We only want to have the bare necessities around. Now that does not mean the items in our home are not nice. Everything is very specifically chosen, but as minimalists we only have what we need, cherish, and truly want around. We are the opposite of packrats and hoarders. I just finished reading: “After a While You Just Get Used to It: A Tale of Family Clutter” by Gwendolyn Knapp — which made me think of my own childhood.
Knapp is very descriptive about her mom’s home, but in a nice way. You get the point that her mom is a hoarder. It is funny how you do not really know the world you live in until sometimes you are far away from it. Growing up I do not remember our house having a lot of crap in it. We did not have nice things, but there was not crap every where. The couch we had was gross, had many holes (thanks to the dogs), and was not what you would think of if you were looking at a couch. My mom would cover it with sheets, mostly because she did not want anyone to see what it really looked like.
We were not hoarders, but I think looking back that my dad was a packrat. If you came into our house you would not see it. He kept it in his “office.” He had an office in the upstairs of our house. It was his area, and there were lots of papers. He kept everything. He also had an office/garage of sorts for his flailing business. There his packrat tendencies were with “tools.” My dad was a contractor. He had 100’s of every type of tool, and always found a reason he needed another. His garage was filled with money in the form of tools — money that should have been used to buy food to feed his family. Alas.
I remember when he passed on and we had to go through his possessions. We filled storage units that equaled the size of a two-car garage. This was not for furniture or clothes or belongings. It was for his tools and files. We took inventory of everything and had to go through it all. Sadly, most of it went into a dumpster (the files) and the tools given away or sold. There wasn’t anything that amounted to much. Sharing all of this brings me back to the point of: What do we keep and why do we keep it?
Chris and I have carefully selected the items in our home, we discuss together the merits of keeping or getting rid of things. We think through “why” we are keeping something. Does it have meaning? In a time where people want to feel like they belong, do you think that people use stuff to find meaning in their lives? That maybe surrounding themselves with things (whether trivial or meaningful) helps them feel less lonely and that they have more in their life? I often wonder that about my dad. What did all that stuff mean to him? I would rather hold the memories inside, and get the clutter out of my life.
Gratitude is on the mind — and not just because tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I just finished reading “The Gratitude Diaries” by Janice Kaplan. She spends an entire year focusing on gratitude in her life (her marriage, work, children, money, etc.) It gave me a lot to think about and was especially appropriate for this time of year, the holidays, Thanksgiving, and being at the home stretch of this pregnancy.
I thought I would share a list of things that are especially appropriate right now to me:
My husband: I wrote about him last week so you know all the good stuff, and if you did not read it take a peek at last week’s blogs. Yesterday I randomly said I do not know what I would do without you. His response was: “yes I am not sure what you would do.” So I started listing off all these things that would make my life miserable and he said: “You could just live in a hotel.” Ha. It is so much more than that my better half. So much more.
My health: It is not perfect — but I am making it through each day, and look forward to meeting this little man and taking the tests to find out how I am after delivery. If all goes well, then I look forward to getting back to my running and feeling like myself again.
My future son: I am just so excited that we have made it this far together. Your dad and I are ecstatic and cannot count the days to meet you. That and I would love my body back.
My family and friends: So grateful for each of you. Thank you for being a support to me, a listening ear, and an inspiration. I miss you mom, dad, and Granny Smith.
My team at work: You work hard and play hard, keep it fun, funny, and real. Thank you.
For all of you reading my blog I appreciate you too. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends and family. Cherish each moment.
I remember back in the day (about 12 + years ago) when Chris and I were saying our first “I love you’s.” We were both a bit timid to say it after being burned in relationships of the past. I remember the first time he said it to me over dinner in a restaurant in Boston. He said: “I think I love you.” At the time I did not know him well enough as I do today to tease him for that comment (although I tease him about it today). At that moment, I felt those tingly feelings that you feel the first time the word love spews out of someone’s mouth. I did not want to say anything that might make him take it back, because I felt the same way.
The only difference is I was not used to saying those words in my life. They were not often said in my house, and at a certain point my parents were so involved in their own life dramas of illness, poverty, and depression that whether I was told “I love you” or not did not filter into their day as top of the importance list. What I do not remember about that night in Boston is if I said it back, and Chris does not remember either. He was probably in a state of shock that he said those words to me.
Gradually we said it more and more and it became a natural part of our interaction. I think there was probably a time early on where I did not say it too much for fear of scaring him away. Eventually you get over that learning curve and realize how important it is to say what you mean so deeply. We tell each other every day, sometimes many, many times. I chuckled at the end of a work day a few weeks ago. I called Chris to tell him I was ready to be picked up (we carpool) and he said: “On my way. Love you.” I found it funny because I was going to see him only moments later, and yet he said what he was feeling in that moment. That is just the way it should be.
Call me sappy, or addicted or whooped (I am all of those things) for my husband, but I want to make sure that he never forgets how I feel, and I never take for granted that he knows. Saying “I love you” is #3 on a list in this Huffington Post article: “13 Simple Tricks To A Long And Happy Marriage.” I have to say I absolutely agree with the 12 other items on the list and that they contribute to a happy marriage. Especially being best friends, honesty, and cherishing each other.
I am addicted. Yes, I am absolutely wholeheartedly addicted to my husband. Chris is my person. Today marks 11 years to the day that we decided to begin this crazy adventure together through health challenges, fun trips, job changes, family ups and downs, moves, money woes, dreams come true, and most importantly day-to-day bliss. He is the person I want to call, the one I want to yell at when I am frustrated, the one I want to soothe when his world is turned upside down. While I have only known him for just over 13 years, and it often feels like 25 years, I really cannot imagine a day without hearing his voice.
Call me a sap, call me whooped (he would say the same) but I hate traveling without him, or having days when I cannot feel the comfort of his arms around me whether to celebrate an amazing day or to say we will get through this together. He is my travel companion when I am the crabby one on an airplane (I get so bored and restless), on a road trip, or when I am stuck somewhere and have to pee. He keeps me fed and knows when I am on that tipping point between hungry and ravenous (the difference of great extremes).
Together we decided very early (prior to marriage) that we would only bring good to those around us. That our relationship was not only about each of us as individuals, and what that would mean to be together and be a family, but what our collective and shared world would mean for those that we are around. Meaning that our relationship would uplift and bless those around us, whether through our example of love, our support of others, or in elevating the thought of those around us. Together we take a stand small or large for what we believe in – in hopes that it means that others benefit by the work we do whether professionally, in the community, and in our personal lives.
I never take Chris for granted. Every day I cherish him for what he is, what I learn from him, and how we continue to grow together. I never tire of sharing him with others, lighting up when I talk about him, and spending every day with him. Happy “love you so much every day” – day.