Today is my Mom’s birthday. She would’ve been 72. I love you Mom!
Olga Sommer (1939-2006)
This past weekend was the 11th annual Nevada Women’s Expo. I had never been before, but had always wanted to go. Turns out, I finally got my chance – but not exactly in the way I had envisioned or planned.
I have a friend with whom I keep in touch through Facebook (yes, we all have those friends – the ones we never physically see or get together with, but we know intimate details of their lives from reading their posts). Out of the blue she sent me a message asking if I might be interested in being a makeover model for a woman doing a showcase at the Women’s Expo. Umm, YES! I see all those makeovers on TV and always (secretly) thought how fun it would be to take part in one, and then reality would appear and remind me saying “yeah right, who do you think you are?” Well, reality took a slap in the face on this one because your’s truly got to be a model for a day!
I had been complaining (yeah, I do that occasionally) about my hair being too long and needing to get it cut, just hadn’t gotten a chance to call and make an appointment (because picking up the phone and dialing takes so long you know… ha!). So, this makeover opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time. I was going to get my hair cut, my makeup done and get to put on an evening gown to feel absolutely beautiful. It was going to be a full glamour makeover. Being the only woman in a house full of boys – Bring It On!
I spoke with the woman doing the makeovers and we talked about hair style and about the time requirements (meeting at the department store to try on dresses, what (un-godly early) time we had to be at the Expo on “show day,” etc.). I met her a few days later so she could take my “before” picture. Then last Saturday I spent three hours at her salon while she cut about six inches off my hair (it was loooong) and added some color to the ends. Let me say that I never color my hair. Once (maybe twice) in college I got hi-lights, but other than that I am au naturale – and I like it that way. I do actually really love the color of my hair (thanks Mom & Dad).
So, just this past Saturday was the makeover / fashion show / glamour day at the Women’s Expo. I was excited, I was nervous, I was exhausted (the night before was Zack’s school fundraiser and a few of us turned it into an overnight girls night – and I didn’t get to bed until after 2am. It was a TON of fun, but I was tired… and I knew I’d be). 8:25am I showed up at the convention center, coffee mug in hand. There were five of us models all together. I think we all had the same feelings – what did we get ourselves into? We head into the expo hall and walk all the way to the back, past the stage where we would be making our runway debuts, through some curtain walls, back into the “work” area where they stored extra tables, chairs and other what-nots, into what felt like the frozen tundra which was the bathroom where we had to sit, on folding chairs, in horrible fluorescent lighting, with no heat for six hours! Showtime was until almost 2:30pm, so yes, six hours.
We all expected we would have some down time, and I think we all brought a book to read or something to do, but literally it was freezing. No heat. Just cold. At one point I asked an employee of the convention center if there was any way to get some heat back there. She told me they had tried before, but the heat didn’t come back this far (what?!) and they have actually had issues with the pipes freezing in the bathroom (where, shall I remind you, we sat for six f***-ing hours) because they couldn’t keep the temperature above forty degrees. Great.
Well, long story short, we all survived. My toes were frozen (which was probably a good thing because I couldn’t feel how much my feet hurt in those heels I was wearing – I’m pretty much a flip-flop girl), my fingers were turning blue and I was too cold to pee, but dammit I looked beautiful! My hair was all curled, my makeup done (and I don’t ever really wear anything other than chapstick or the occasional eye liner and mascara – so I couldn’t wait to scrub my face when I got home), and I was wearing a beautiful, strapless, floor length fuschia gown with ruching on the top and a slit down the side, with the most gorgeous bracelet, earrings and necklace – I felt like a Princess!
The show went well, considering it all, we all looked stunning, and I was glad it was over. I couldn’t wait to go sit in my car and blast the heat while driving home. People asked me if it was fun. Fun wouldn’t necessarily be the word I would choose, but I’m happy I did it – check that off the list! It was a good experience and now I can say most confidently that I feel pretty in pink.
The other day we were all driving to Zack’s first swim lesson of the season. Out of the blue he asks me, “Mom, how did your Mom passed away?” I could have gone one of two ways with this. I could have gone down the path of sadness, being quiet and choosing not to really talk about it, but instead I took the opposite approach. “She got really sick.” I told him. “And she couldn’t get better so she died, and now she’s up in Heaven?” he asked. “Yes.” I replied. Zack went on to say “That makes me really sad because I never got to meet her.” That just about broke my heart.
I explained to Zack (and Brayden listened quietly too) how my Mom was now an Angel up in Heaven and just because we can’t see her anymore, she sees us. I told him that it is hard for me to have the reality of he and Brayden never knowing my Mom, their Grandma, but that she knows all about them. She sees them and she is with us always. We can’t hear or touch her, but she knows all we do and she is in every breath of air we breathe, every leaf that flutters in the wind, every drop of rain or snowflake that gently hits the ground.
Zack seemed to take it okay, and I told him we could look at pictures of Grandma when we got home, and whenever he wanted. I have lots of pictures!
We got to swimming, Zack did amazing – as if I expected anything less – and we came home. I forgot to get out the pictures of my Mom (I’ll have to make myself a reminder note). It was a touching moment to have Zack ask what he did and to genuinely feel the sadness and love. To have my five-year-old with such deep expressions of emotion… it humbled me and made me proud.
Yesterday I got an email from my Dad regarding a memorial for my Mom from the hospital where she had been cared for. It also was very touching, and the timing couldn’t be any better. I posted it on Facebook, but this is what it read: “In 2005, Olga Sommer, a long-time patient of Sequoia Hospital received the unfortunate news that her lengthy battle with leukemia and lupus was nearing its end. Rather than retreating quietly, Olga and her husband, Fred, openly approached the Sequoia Hospital Foundation to see what they could do in support of the hospital’s Infusion Center that had so compassionately cared for Olga. Their first gifts helped purchase comfortable chairs for those receiving infusion treatments. Next, they funded a blanket warmer for the department, followed by a patient scale, and a television. They had only just begun. Olga passed away late in 2006 but not before instilling in Fred the importance of providing for Sequoia Hospital’s future. He continues to give passionately in her memory, and to assure that Sequoia is cared for even after his passing. Fred Sommer has joined the Foundation’s Legacy Circle by including Sequoia Hospital in his planning with a charitable gift annuity. When the new Sequoia Hospital opens this year, the Infusion Center’s waiting area will be named in memory of Olga Sommer, loving wife and mother. The dedication to Olga is a lasting honor to the impact she and Fred have had on the care provided to Sequoia’s patients.”
I’m still grieving. I miss you. This isn’t scripted or thought out, it’s just me, writing from my heart because I’m sad, I’m angry, I’m lonely and I miss you. Truth is, I never really even began to grieve for you. I probably am in a butt load of denial (probably why I still haven’t erased your phone number from my phone or deleted your email from my computer). I miss you and I’m mad at God for taking you when he did. You didn’t deserve to die so early. You had fight. You were a Grandmother and none of us even knew it. You never got to see those precious little babies of mine in person. You will never get to hold their delicate hands, touch their soft skin or stare into those innocent little eyes. They will never be able to hug you or sit on your lap while you read them a story.
Dad is dating. I guess he calls her his girlfriend now. Her name is Chris. She is nice. I’ve met her once. She looks like you. I can see why Dad likes her. He says he’s falling in love with her. Zack and Brayden sat on her lap and she read them stories. That should’ve been you. I wanted it to be you. Why couldn’t it have been YOU?
I know you know them. I know you’re here with me and see me and my family. But I want you HERE. I want to sit next to you and laugh and share memories. All I have now are memories. I want more. I want you Mom. I miss you Mom. It’s not fair.
I’m hurting. Really bad. It’s holding me back. I’m withdrawn. I’m not who I know I can be. I don’t want to grieve. It hurts. I’m sad. I can’t talk about it. I just cry. I avoid talking about it. I act like I’m okay. But I’m not. I’m really not okay. It’s been almost 6 years. Why is this so hard? Why is Dad okay? Why is Susan okay? Why am I so sad and hurt and angry?
I want Dad to be happy. He deserves it, and I know you would want him to be. I know he has talked to you. I don’t know how often, but I know he has. He told me he could never replace you. That made me feel better. Do you know the very first thought I had when I saw Chris for the very first time? She looks like you. Petite with dark hair. Carried herself in the same way you did. She reminds me of you. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard. Maybe that’s why this time it hurts more, and it’s not just awkward, but it’s pain, and maybe a little fear.
I miss you Mom and I don’t know how to move on. It’s been in my gut for a long time now – needing to let go. But I can’t. The acceptance. I can’t do it yet. I know you’re not coming back. You’re never coming back. I’m not ready to delete your numbers. Do I have to? Please tell me I don’t have to. I won’t be calling, but it’s something I can hold onto.
Uncle Michael died a couple weeks ago. I’m sure you know. I hope you are with him. It was a weird reality. He’s the last of your family. There’s no more. Maybe that’s why I’m so emotional right now. Well, and maybe hormones too.
I went through a lot with Zack and Brayden. I wish you were there for me. I’m angry about that. But I don’t want to be angry at you. How could I be? You fought, I know you did. I watched you fight. You were strong. I get that from you. I’m strong too, so that’s why it’s so hard for me to be sad and hurting right now. I really, really miss you. I really, really hate that my boys will never really know you. I know that I can tell them all about you, and show them pictures. Zack already knows your face, and he knows you’re up in Heaven. He asked me the other day, “Mommy, where’s Heaven?” I told him it was way up in the sky, far, far away. He asked if you have to take an airplane straight up into the sky, really fast. That made me smile, and I answered “Yes.”
I don’t know what else to say. I don’t know if this is helping me or not. I assume it is, and I assume I probably need to keep doing it.
I love you Mom more than you know. I miss you more than I know.
So, today is Sunday (at least it still is here. Somewhere, it’s probably Monday already). I’m partaking in Stream of Consciousness Sunday again, and the prompt couldn’t be more perfect. I actually read the prompt hours ago, but didn’t have the (whole) 5 minutes to write it. I went swimming at the neighbors with Zack, then my best friend from next door joined us with her son and husband, then my husband came over with Brayden, and well, it turned into a great party evening (yes, even on a “school” night). So, here I am, hours later – and I confess I was thinking about what I would write about, but the writing is still limited to five minutes, and here goes (oh, p.s. the promt is:
I have a keepsake, it’s from my Mother. I keep it in my pillowcase and sleep with it every night. It’s a retro, soft turquoise beaded sunglass case that she used to carry her glasses in. When she passed away 5 years ago, I was helping my Dad sort through the house and I came across that item. I packed it, and within a split second took it back out of the box and decided I needed to have it. It is something simple, but it was SO Mom. The beads are faded yellow and beige, in a sort of almost paisley shape, but really made no pattern at all.
Inside the sunglass case, I have a letter that I wrote to my Mom the night she died. I wrote it on white, lined paper with blue ink, but I have never read it since. It got washed in the washing machine once, as it accidently did not get taken out of my pillow case on laundry day, so the paper is eternally stuck together with the creases of how I folded it 5 years ago. And I will never read it – it’s too hard. I don’t want to go back to that night.
So I sleep with it, in my pillowcase, along with the collar – a blue collar with a tiny little silver bell – from my cat who passed away just a month before Zackery was born. I sleep with my keepsakes every night that I am home. I sleep with my Mother and my cat, Raja. And till death will we part.
This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…
I hate to be negative, so I’ll try not to be, but sometimes a girl’s just gotta vent! And I’m not really sure where I’m going with this post, but the words “when expectations fail” have been haunting my mind the past week, so I thought I would oblige them by unlocking the control of knowing everything (because I do, just ask my boys – ha ha!), and just… well… write.
I have a lot of expectations in my life. Those I put upon myself, those I put upon other people or situations, and those put upon me by others. Those last kind are the kind I don’t like. They are the ones that make me want to (more often than not) scream at people and say “don’t you get it?!” Don’t they see what they’re asking of me? Do they not see I am doing my best and then I am expected to do better, and more, and be happy and energetic and excited about it? Don’t they see things through my eyes?
Well, probably not. I can say with much certainty (see, told you I know everything) that I am the only one that sees things through my eyes. Otherwise we would probably be living in some kind of crazy Twilight Zone – and oh how freaky that would be! I can’t imagine being in my body but seeing things from someone else’s perspective, literally. Hmm… might make a good horror story (if I were the type of person who would want to write that – given that probably the scariest movie I’ve ever seen is Chucky – or something like that – I can’t remember and I’m more of a romantic comedy kind of girl anyway). Ok, so I digress. No horror for me, just love – awww.
And, as I was saying above, I am the only one who sees things from my perspective. No one else can “walk in my shoes.” No one else sees life through my “rose colored glasses” (which sometimes turn a rancid shade of ungodly gray). No one knows the thoughts in my head (except my little voice – shhh – quiet… not now!). No one knows… unless I tell them.
I don’t like expectations put upon me, but I also (gulp) can’t expect people to know what I’m thinking, seeing, feeling… unless I tell them.
As a Mother, I wear many hats. I know a lot of Mothers who wear many hats, and some have more hats than me – so hats off to them (no pun intended). I work all day without pay (other than the love of my children – which should be enough, but honestly sometimes isn’t), and then most nights I jump on my computer until the wee hours of the night/morning, and work some more. It’s not fair. Do I have a choice? Probably, but I wouldn’t like the outcome of the other decision. I am tired of “having” to work after I just worked all day. It’s not that I don’t enjoy what I’m doing – because for the most part it’s okay. It’s not my lifelong dream or passion (I have that figured out, but can’t – don’t want to – find more time without sleep or family time to get that going). It’s easy work, which I’m grateful for. But it’s work – after I already put in a 12 hour day. Add on top of that cooking dinners, doing dishes, laundry & cleaning, bath time & bed – most nights all on my own… I’m feeling a little resentment towards these expectations upon me. Here’s where I’m feeling the failure.
It’s not anybody’s fault – it’s situational, and it just sucks right now. My husband works his butt off to provide for our family – and he does a great job at what he does, but he just is rarely home. I chose this path for myself. I chose to stay home with the boys. I chose to work nights so my husband wouldn’t need to get another job. I chose. I have to deal.
Sometimes I think my husband forgets, or I forget that I haven’t shared my thoughts and feelings with him (trying not to play victim here). There is a lot put upon me, but there is also a lot put upon him. Fair is fair. So where am I trying to go with this? I still don’t really know, other than realizing (outloud) that I need to stop bottling things up and let my husband know how I’m feeling. Maybe it’s just the word “expectation” that’s got me all flustered. It seems pretty close to “assume,” and I have learned my lesson about not assuming anything. We have to have some expectations (or assumptions) in life, but when they get completely unrealistic or out of control, we need to re-evaluate. I think that’s where I’m at right now. Re-evaluate. No one likes to fail. I don’t like to fail. So maybe, just maybe, if I can adjust those expectations a little bit – maybe a little shift here and a little shove there – then maybe the suckiness will start to dissipate.
As daughters, we all grow up thinking “I’m never going to be like my Mother.”
As we get older, and a little bit wiser, we start asking ourselves “What would my Mother do?”
As we become Mothers ourselves, we can’t help but say “I’m just like my Mother.”
For some, we can’t see our Mothers on Mother’s Day.
For others, we spend every minute of every day with our Mothers.
For all, we love our Mothers.
On this Mother’s Day, may we all thank our Mothers for giving us life.
On this Mother’s Day, may we all send kisses to the sky or hugs to our heroes.
On this Mother’s Day, may we tell our Mothers just how much we love them.
Happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers everywhere, new or old, here on earth or up in Heaven.
*(This post was inspired by Marylin Warner, and her blog Things I Want To Tell My Mother)
I came across a wonderful blog that I urge everyone to visit: Things I Want To Tell My Mother. The author is hosting a writing contest (how fun!) – Christmas With Mom. In 100 words or less, write about a special Christmas memory with your Mother or Grandmother. Here is mine…
Tradition. Laughter. Love.
The sound of ripping wrapping paper.
The smell of the oranges we always got in our stockings.
The delicate glow of the miniature white candles on her golden angels centerpiece.
The bright colored lights on the tree.
The harmony in her voice of the carols she sang.
The apron she wore.
The tablecloth under the china.
The scent of her perfume.
The joy in her smile.
The touch of her soft hands.
The goodnight kiss as she tucked tired eyes into bed.
Mom, I will forever hold these memories, as I can no longer hold your hand.
My Mother passed away from Leukemia on December 10, 2006.
Today is my Mom’s birthday. She would’ve been 72. I love you Mom!
Olga Sommer (1939-2006)
I was just browsing around some other blogs, and came across an interesting one called Purple Chronicle. One of the posts was entitled ‘Thankful Thursday’ and I thought, what a great idea. It’s always inspiring to see what others are grateful for, so I thought I would share what I am grateful for today:
Amazing friends and family.
Living in beautiful Lake Tahoe, CA – I always tell people I feel like I live in a postcard.
A wonderful husband, father, friend.
The most precious little boys a mother could ever ask for.
A roof over my head, clothes on my back, food in my belly.
The opportunity to stay home and take care of my family.
Happiness and peace in my heart.
It’s not often enough that I stop to take a moment and truly reflect on the blessings in my life. I know my life is filled with them, despite the common, daily frustrations of being a Mom – and just life in general. I think it is so important for us all to honor the greatness in our lives and in our families.
The two biggest blessings I have ever experienced was the birth of each of my sons; they are the living beings created through the love shared between my husband and I. They are the fuel in my heart. They are the smile on my face. They are the tears of joy in my eyes. They are the angels of my every day.
What are you grateful for???
It’s just about 9pm on Wednesday evening. I’m not feeling that great (not sure if I’m getting a bug or what), it’s day four of my husband being out of town, the house is a mess (when is it not?), I haven’t gotten done half of what I wanted to this week, and not to mention I have a rib or two popped out of place on my left side.
Unfortunately it’s a none-too-welcome frequent occurrence… and it sucks! It’s painful, it’s hard to breathe, and it’s hard to really do anything. I’m sure I’m not the only one that has ever had this happen, but for me, the only thing that ever really fixes it is a trip to the Chiropractor, for which I had no such time for today.
Speaking of which (not having time), I find myself blogging instead of getting to the billion and one things I have to get done tonight. Hmmm??? I guess I can at least happily cross THIS off my list.
The boys are finally sound asleep (“knock on wood” – in fear of jinxing myself to them waking for one of their common unknown reasons). The house is quietly humming and I am taking a moment (just a quick one, I admit) to feed my soul before bounding back up into reality. So much to do, so little time, such a lack of energy…
I’ve never been a good power-napper. When I take a nap I want to SLEEP! I don’t want to wake up after 5, 10 or 15 minutes. BUT, writing for 5, 10 or 15 minutes, well that seems to re-energize me. YAY! So, I’m going to allow myself to finish writing this post, which honestly isn’t really about anything at all – except self-honoring.