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.




To tell you the truth…

As usual I had quite a busy weekend.  Lots of hanging out time with family and friends.  It was…mostly…quite enjoyable.  However, a surprise party turned into an emotional collapse and then I had heard of another event that caused someone close to me grief.  What is it about little white lies?  When is it ok to NOT tell the truth?

Every parent teaches their child that lying is abhorrent.  You must never, ever, ever lie.  Then you go shopping with mom and you see a man with a cane and no leg.  “Mom look!  That man only has one leg!”  The child, innocently pointing and exclaiming this at the top of their lungs.  Everyone looks.  The parent is mortified.  The man with one leg…well, he has probably heard this from other children and is mostly unaffected.  Well, in the old days, that would lead to a good beating from parent to child.  Ouch!  Why?  The child told the truth right?  Now, try to explain to this child why telling the truth in this particular instance is bad.  Hmmm, kind of hard. Parents usually fall back on how badly that person is going to feel if you point out that there is something different about them.

Ok, now the child gets older and starts to learn more and more about the good lies and the bad lies.  Bad lies hurt people and good lies don’t right?  Well, not necessarily.  Sometimes telling the truth might actually help a person see some of their shortcomings.  Have you ever watched those reality shows on tv where a person sings their heart out because they have been told by everyone they love that their voice and singing is “beautiful”?  Lying didn’t really help that person did it.  Not only are they shocked and embarrased, but hearing the truth hurts more than the untruths they heard all their lives.

Surprise parties…hmmm, another tricky one.  Well, it’s a surprise so you aren’t allowed to the tell the person that there is a surprise party being planned for them.  Now, what if the person really despises surprises?  Yes, there are some people who really dislike them.  Those invited and those throwing the party are doing it to give the person a happy … well …surprise!  My most memorable backfiring of a surprise was my parent’s 25th anniversary party.  Just us kids were present.  SURPRISE!  And what did my parents do?  They turned around and went home.  Yup…cross my heart..they really did.  Why?  Because they don’t like surprises. It’s an ambush to them.  (Their 50th anniversary is coming up this year and believe me…I am making sure there ain’t no “ambush” this year). 

Then there are the non-lies.  You know, where you know something, but you aren’t allowed to tell because it’s up to another person to actually be the first to announce it.  A good example is a happy couple finds out they are going to have a child.  Well, you find out but you can’t tell anyone because that is their news to tell.  So, why would someone get mad at you for knowing first and not telling?  It’s not your place to say right? 

So, to tell the truth…or not.  That is quite the question and the answers vary.  I have found that given certain situations, lying is acceptable, while in others, it is not.  How do you know whether to tell the truth or not?  Again, a tough question.  How well do you know the person?  Does this person trust you?  Will the recipient’s life be drastically changed in a negative way if you tell them the truth?  Will your conscience be clear after telling the truth.  (Broccoli in your teeth…totally would tell the truth!)

In the end, I have found that my guidance to truth or lie is this:  If the nugget of information I am going to share with this person will only create a hugely negative effect on their lives then I withhold the truth.  If I think that their lives will benefit from my “truth” then I share what information I have.  Telling truths in kindness is what I believe to be best.

To tell the truth, telling the truth is usually the best way to go.  And that’s the truth.