World’s Wealthiest Baba…

I am a non-mother.  I have been told many times that “you’re lucky you never had to go through childbirth.”  Yes, real mothers have gone through the pains of labour.  I did not.  I have never birthed a child.  I have never had a C-section.  According to my mother, my life is wanting and incomplete because I have never had a child of my own.  After years of hearing this definitive and repetitive chorus of hers, I have decided that I am a mother.  Perhaps, not called “mom” or “mama”, but the functions I have performed would absolutely qualify me as being a mothering type of woman.

My love of children started when I was young.  Coming from a large family there were always children younger than me running around.  In various photos you could find me holding one of the youngsters.  I LOVED holding babies.  I loved playing games with them and making them laugh.  This was not contained to just my family.  At school recess time, I would head over to where the kindergarten children were and play with the kids there.  I became something of a hero to these little tots.  Kids my own age would play baseball or soccer (I was never good at sports).  Then there were the mean kids who just played pranks on people.  I didn’t want to be part of THAT group.  So, hanging out with blissful people (children) was way more fun!

As I got older I started planning for the day that I would have my own children.  I started buying Disney movies.  I collected children’s books.  I was going to have lots of children because all my life I just wanted to be a mommy.  It would be easier buying everything while I had a disposable income and living at home.  I got mommy practice after my sister had kids.  I got to change them, feed them, bathe them, dress them, even potty training was on the agenda.  Yes, I was getting my mom-training hours in.  I would be the best mom ever.  As time passed I realized that you could be planning for your life to go one way and then suddenly there is a fork in the road with a tough decision.  You can decide with your head or with your heart.

When Wiseguy and I first started hanging out I knew he had three children.  He was not planning on having anymore.  I had always wanted many children and now I had a decision to make at this fork in my life road.  Should I choose to be with the man of my dreams who made me laugh everyday?  The man who understood me like no one else had before?  A man who loved to dance and enjoyed living everyday of his life?  A man who adored his children and wanted someone who could share his life as well as theirs? The other path was to leave this wonderful man behind, find someone else who would want to have children.  Would I find someone who intrigued and entertained me as much as Wiseguy?  Was my happiness more important than the prospect of a life with children?  What if I couldn’t have children?  As you already know, I followed my heart.  I chose love.  I chose Wiseguy and his (now our) children.

The kids did not call me mom.  I didn’t want them to.  They already had a mother.  We were (and are) “Dad and Maryann”.  I didn’t need a title.  I was an adult female who would do mommy things.  I would be there to kiss the boo-boos.  I would be there to apply bandaids.  I would be there to teach them things.  I would play with them.  I would guide them.  I would advise them.  Sure, sometimes I would beat myself up for things I said, but I grew up in the house of “tough love” and sometimes being honest is harder than being kind.  The truth hurts, but oftentimes it will get you so angry that you will persevere and move along in life.  Sometimes being hard and honest is what true love is about.

I do not accept my mother’s definition of a “mother” to heart.  I am not short-changed in life.  If anything, I am one of the wealthiest women / moms around.  Not only do Wiseguy and I have his/our wonderful children, but we watch (and happily cry) when we watch these youths (now adults) raising their children.  They do the same things we do.  They parent and worry that they are getting it wrong.  They think that maybe they are horrible parents.  To them we say:  if your child is clothed, fed, and happy then you are an absolutely incredible parent.  Parenting is so harshly judged. It is the the most thankless and difficult job to do day in and day out.  No rewards.  No awards.  No praise. No accolades.  Parents, be kind to yourself.  You are doing a wonderful job! Congratulate yourself on the small things.

As for me, the non-mother who became a grandmother or “Baba” in Croatian, I love and adore these children!  Each one has a special talent, gift, personality, and smile that wins me over.  I do not compare them to each other because each is unique.  They have their own personalities and talents and thoughts.  Ok, I’m getting teary-eyed because I am so captivated watching them become their own individual being.  There is the honour of being able to be their Baba and being able to love them.

As hindsight is 20/20, I can say that by following my heart instead of my head, following love instead of expected behaviour, I chose the right path when I got to my fork in the road.  I can also say that, although my bank account doesn’t show any lottery winnings, I am the World’s Wealthiest Baba.

 

 

 

Pork and Beans and the Prized Nugget

Schools of thought.  I myself have been on both sides of the fence depending on my age and/or necessity to explain or justify what I’m doing.  Sometimes my own thoughts just don’t seem as intelligent or convincing enough so why not borrow from the tried and true?

Too many chefs spoil the broth OR many hands make light work

Absence makes the heart grow fonder OR out of sight, out of mind

The pen is mightier than the sword OR actions speak louder than words

I could go on, but you get the idea.  What got me pondering and processing proverbs?   This weekend was one that I had been happily anticipating for a few days.  Social calendar full, beautiful weather, and Wiseguy not working.  Trifecta! Perfection!  Or so we thought.

Earlier in the week I had learned that a lovely lady had passed away.  She was only 51.   (Yes, for you youngins in your 20s that’s old, but we middle agers find that to be baby status to old age).  It came suddenly and unexpectedly in the form of a heart attack.  After some tears and hugs and grieving at the funeral home I again began to look forward to my happy weekend plans and enjoy life again.   Three days later another life jolt.  Another beautiful,  young woman in her 50s had passed away.  A kind and happy person who enjoyed life and made others feel happy, comfortable when you were around her.  The question you can’t help but ask is why?

When the week was done, I looked in my rearview mirror of wisdom to try and decipher what it all meant.  Death is shocking.  There’s anger and guilt and fear and mostly denial.  Death is so final.  Death is also illuminating.  My thoughts and beliefs on death have changed many times over the years.  Maybe that’s where the wisdom kicks in, or maybe, I find more comfort in disbelieving what I had learned before.  If this was your last day on earth how would you feel and what would you do?

What about life itself?  Is there a purpose?  Is there a meaning to our lives?  We wonder how we really fit in.  We promise to take time for ourselves.  We see family at funerals and PROMISE to call and visit because the mortality punching bag hit us hard.  And then, we go back to “life“.  Work.  Pay bills.  Buy necessities.  Maybe a few days vacation.  Is that life?

As I age (gracefully, of course) I look more at children and their approach to life.  Take a 3 year old and watch them get upset when they don’t get what they want.  Tears.  Tantrums. They know.        They deserve more.  Why do we adults accept that we can’t have better?

Each person derives a message upon hearing about the death of a loved one.  Each person goes through the stages of denial and guilt and anger to final acceptance.  It’s an emotional journey that can either leave you emotionally drained and looking consistently at the sadness and unfairness in life or it will lead you to finding a new sign or life message leading you to a happier more fulfilled life.  Which side of the proverb are you on?

I am trying to find positivity in the negative.  I believe that this is a sign to live life to the fullest.  When asking why people have to die and leave us, I remind myself that we don’t know how long we have here on earth and that we do need to take time to have fun.  We assume that we will wake up the next day. I am starting to rethink my life.  I am in the baby stages of redefining the living of my life by actually making myself follow my dreams to their realization.  No more giving up for fear of failure.  I will be grateful for that first deep breath in the morning because I know I am alive and my surrounding world is full of adventures that I need to explore.  I will let myself float in the pool of happiness around me.  I will love myself and share that love with others.  I will live and love and know that when my time comes I will be grateful for this thing called “life”.

Pork and Beans.  (Stay with me here, all will be explained.)  I think it is the simplest explanation to my conundrum.  Have you ever had a can of pork and beans? I remember reading the label and thinking there would be numerous chunks of bacon with the beans.  Can opened and contents extracted.  Hmmmm, one little wee piece of bacon and MILLIONS of beans.  This can of beans was like our weekend (told you I’d explain it).  Our disheveled weekend plans became a blessing in disguise.  You will have many experiences in life that all seem the same and monotonous, like the beans and one prized “nugget” of pork experience.   That one nugget, that one day, when everyone’s life coincides in togetherness and love is as large as the full moon.  It’s magical.  Wiseguy and I did get to spend time with people we love.  We did to get to appreciate and feel good about life with the people who are still with us.

Moral:  There will be sad times in your life.  Cry, be sad, hurt, grieve.  It’s a process.  Then move on.  Change your way of life.  Stop living with the simple monotonous beans of life.  Go searching and experiencing numerous and exciting prized pork nuggets. (My analogies, you must agree, are not conventional but then, neither am I.)

For those who have lost loved ones, I understand, I feel your loss, and can only give momma hugs. Words cannot heal what you have lost, but the good memories to follow will.  XOXOXO