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Archive for May, 2010

Confession of a Once-Reluctant Grandmother

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

It’s the pose that gets me.  He looks so old.  I can’t even see his face, but I know that’s my first grandson, son of my first born.  When I look at that photo, I see pages of the calendar flying into space, the way they showed the passage of time in old movies.   I remember the Before.  When Jen was pregnant, I was happy, but the idea of becoming a grandmother didn’t please me.  How could it?  I didn’t know what that meant, any more than a preganant women knows what it will mean to be a mother.  All I could think about were the images of kindly, white-haired old ladies, knitting booties, waiting for the next visit.  That’s not me, I thought.  I have a life, a career, places to go, people to see–and I’m certainly not old. I was sure I’d love him or her, but I didn’t really get what all the fuss about grandchildren was about. (more…)

Are We Violating Our Children’s Privacy, Too?

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

After actress/comedian Julia Sweeney’s did this little bit at a T.E.D. conference, she decided to “hang up my mouth,” as she put it in her blog.   She would stop telling stories about her personal life — well, mainly her daughter.

The video reminded me of how hard it was in “my day” to have that dreaded sex talk.  Some things never change.  But for younger-generation mothers, the Internet adds a whole new dimension to just about every aspect of parenting.

The monologue is fun and we can all identify, but the back story is even more interesting.  It shows how we see ourselves in a different mirror once we become mothers.  And it’s a cautionary tale about privacy.  For Sweeney, who has been making fun of herself and everyone around her for decades, her daughter was “the tipping point” in her decision not to be as public about her own life. (more…)

New on The Buzz: Sibling Rivarly Squared When Granchildren Appear!

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

This just added to The Buzz:

Jane Isay is your go-to author when it comes to understanding the complexities of adult relationships, up and down the generational ladder.  In Walking on Eggshells, she explores parents and their grown children, and in her recent book, Mom Still Likes You Best: The Unfinished  Business Between Siblings, she looks at how brothers and sisters bond and battle. When grandchildren enter the picture, she tells us in this piece (written especially for MotherU) the saga continues.

A friend of mine just showed my new book, Mom Still Likes You Best, to her two daughters. Two gift boxes are on the cover, a large one next to a small one–suggesting the inequity that many children feel.

“I’m the small box,” one of them said, “No, it’s me,” replied the other. They got into enough of a tussle that my friend took the book out of the room.

How old are the daughters? One is 45 and the other, 50.   More…

Bi-Postal Blogging

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

 I can’t believe I launched another blog. What could I have been thinking?  Only a few months ago, I was bemoaning the hype around social media, wondering how to get back to my writer self.   But I realized it wasn’t the blogging that got me crazy; it was the disappointment that I didn’t have much of an audience (which didn’t prevent me from feeling deeply grateful to the six of you who did tune in!).  I kept saying to friends, “Blogging is like sending an email into the Universe, but you have no way of knowing who’s read it.”

So here I am again, now with two blogs–MotherU and Consequential Strangers–each representing a totally different part of my life.   I’ll funnel some ideas into in one blog, some in the other, and with others, such this one, I’ll be “bipostal,” contributing to both sites.   I’ll express my thoughts and hope that they resonate somewhere in the Universe, share my expertise and hope that it helps.  But I’ve let go of the expectation.

I’m not the only bi-postal blogger out there, according to some recent stats on blogging.  Approximately half of us are working on at least our second blog, and 68% have been blogging for two years or more.  To paraphrase Oscar Wilde’s famous quote about second marriages, “Second blogs are the triumph of hope over experience.” (more…)

Motherless Daughters & (Other)mothers.

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

This morning, I followed a link to a Mother’s Day contest sponsored by the Selah Independent, a local newspaper in central Washington (state), and noticed that out of the eighteen elementary school finalists — all of whom wrote lovingly about their mothers — this was the grand prize winner:

“Dear Mom, Mommy you use to buy me stuff a lot. I loved it when you massaged my back. It feals good. You are the best mom. You tuck me in my bed. You took me to the mall. I liked to play roly poly at bedtime. We laid on the floor and rolled real fast. We laughed. I miss you a lot, a lot, a lot. What is it like in heaven? How are you doing up there?” – Bella


Once a Mother, Always a Mother

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Here’s a Mother U bulletin:  You think it’s over when the kids grow up?  Think again, younger generation moms.

Recently, I came across a DCMoms post “Mom, Where’s My Jock Strap,” to which the author, SAHM blogger Dawn Mooney, mother of a ten year old and two preschoolers, wanted to add this subtitle:  “And other questions that I’m clearly not old enough to be asked.”  Initially, it piqued my interest because of Jen, mother of three boys.  I thought it was a great thing to send to someone who calls her home JHOP (“Jen’s House of Penises”).  I can’t imagine how many jock straps she’ll be hunting when her boys get a little older.  But then I realized that the point of Dawn’s piece was that while experience had prepared her for her younger children’s (much simpler) questions, like, “Will you help me wife my butt?” she was flying blind with her eldest.

“…with the oldest child, it’s as if we’re walking together down this unknown path, not sure of what is around each new bend. Sometimes we’re hand in hand, other times we’re woefully apart, but we’re always at the same mile marker, no solid predictive visions of what’s to come in either of our heads….”

As I read that Dawn’s insights about her oldest son, I realized that there’s one thing this wise mother doesn’t — indeed, can’t — yet know:  The dance of parenting is eternal, and the journey with your first-born goes on forever.  (more…)

Betty White Is the New Old

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Betty White is not a mother, or a grandmother, but she’s old enough to be one.  Beside, the producers of Saturday Night Live thought she was a good enough representation of motherhood to headline the May 8, 2010 Mother’s Day show.   And in my opinion, she should be every woman’s hero because she’s living–and celebrated–proof that grandmotherly women can also be hip and hot!  Of course we older mothers–aka grandmothers–already knew this, but now everyone who reads People and watches Larry King and SNL does, too.  Betty White is the New Old (if you don’t believe me, click for more and check out her video!). (more…)

What Women Want on Mother’s Day

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

Let’s face it: Mother’s Day is a Hallmark holiday. Besides, given the enormity of the role, mothers should be honored every day.  But that isn’t what happens is it, ladies?  So it’s kind of nice that there’s at least one day when our children and spouses have to acknowledge us!  The question is, what do we want from one another?  Watching my old friend Barbara Biziou’s video in which she suggests giving your mother a box of symbolic goodies, including quotes that you like, gave me an idea of three non-material gifts I’m going to give my daughter and three I”d like from her.   But let me start with one thing we should do for each other:

Take a picture together. I’ve been asking mothers and daughters to send (via motherublog at gmail dot com) photos for the Mother U gallery.  But guess what? They’re hard to come by. Why? Because we’re usually behind the camera.   And the men of the family rarely suggest taking a picture of us–except perhaps on special occasions.   My mother died when I was 29, and it makes me sad to realize I don’t have one picture of the two of us, except my wedding. (more…)

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom and Grandma

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Welcome to the new–or at least the resurrected–Mother U.  It’s a site my daughter and I launched in 2003 when we both realized we were members of  the “Motherhood Union.”  Now that so many of my peers are on the Internet (and I’ve become accustomed to blogging), perhaps this blog will inspire comments and conversation between the generations. And what better time to launch than the day before our day, Mother’s Day.  (If you’re curious about its origins, check out this video by Barbara Biziou, one of our visiting authors, who created a special ritual for The Buzz for mothers welcoming daughters into the club.)

Jen and I launched MotherU when her first son–my first grandchild–was born.  Make no mistake: I was not initially in favor of grandmotherhood.  I went kicking and screaming into the role, vowing that no one was going to call me “Grandma.”   Thus, I’m “Minna” to my (now) three grandsons.  No matter what I’m called, though, I’ve since come to see that it’s the best role in the world.   It’s payback after years of (sorry, my children) thankless parenting. Well, not totally thankless, but it’s nothing compared to the truly unconditional love of a grandchild.  But I digress…. (more…)