Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Mommy's girl

It can be said that as a child, I wasn't exactly every babysitter's dream charge. In fact, I'm pretty sure that many of the sitters in the teeny, tiny town of Hope cringed at the sound of my Mother's voice and found any and every excuse possible not to sit for us.

Now, it wasn't that I lit the house on fire while they were in the bathroom. I didn't put gum in anyone's hair or even push my brother down the stairs. No, I wasn't all that aweful, in fact at times I've heard I could be quite sweet and even helpful.

So what was the problem? Why, wouldn't these young and impressionable teenage girls want to baby sit for sweet lil' ol me?

I was a Mommy's girl. Now not just the kind of Mommy's girl who tattled on the sitter for sneaking her boyfriend over (although you can bet I would have done that!). No, as a child I was the kind of Mommy's girl who at times literally clung to my Mother's skirt. I had temper tantrums at her and HATED when she did my hair (I still, hate anyone touching my head), but when it came to her not being there, not even being in the same room I had a problem with that.

It has been said that I would cry as she walked out the door, sob as the door closed and then stand at the door shouting at the top of my lungs "YOU DON'T LOVE ME!" All the while, my poor Mom, who loves us kids with her every breath would cry all the way to the car. Then she and my Dad would just wait at bible study for that fateful call, "I think you better come home Mrs. Gartner, she won't. stop. CRYING!"

And although I don't remember those particular tantrums, I do remember the fear that brought them on. I can remember being a little bit older of a girl, watching my Mom get ready for a night out with my Dad feeling dread in the pit of my stomach. Even if my favorite babysitter was coming over, I would still dread the moment she'd walk out the door and later would lay in bed trying desperately to stay awake so I could see her come home.

As I got older still, I didn't need a babysitter anymore and could manage to stay home with my brother alone (which I might have enjoyed sometimes - I wasn't "babysitting" him but it was prime opprotunity to "Mother Hen" him without running the risk of a scolding from my Mom). I'd go on sleepovers and visit my Aunt and Uncle on the island alone - but at the end of each day I still wanted my Mom. I wanted to call and tell her about the day or get one more hug before I went to sleep - I didn't show it anymore but inside I was still longing for my Mom.

(Bethany did her hair all by herself today!)

Then I hit my teens. Oh, did I hit my teens. Or rather they hit me, square in the face and made me a little emotional (read: a walking bucket of laughing-yelling-giggling-tears), slightly combative (read: if my Mom liked it I hated it and made sure she knew it) and extremely smart, brilliant even (read: my Mom knew nothing, parents know NOTHING). We bickered, we argued, we laughed, we cried at Step Mom, we disagreed and we grew up together. And to my friends I'd complain, "She's so mean! I can't do _____(fill the blank in with whatever stupid or dangerous kid thing you might have wanted to do) like you can. I have to stay home." But when I was sick, or my heart was broken 2 weeks before prom by the only guy dumb enough to date me in highschool for a total of 2 weeks - who conicidentally had a green mohawk, it was my Mom I cried to. When my biology teach gave me a failing grade on a project that was an A+ deal (because I had tiny boobs not knockers - I kid you not. He graded on the reverse bra scale...A cup = D, B= C, C= B and D+=A!!!) it was my Mom who went to bat for me. In fact, she went to bat for me many a time with many a folk. Teachers, friends...she was both my brother's and my warrior. Regardless of the consequence to herself.

Anyways, I grew up and decided to move away. I needed to be free, I thought I wanted to move away from my parents and I wanted to prove to the world I could do it on my own. My Mom moved me to Kelowna, got me settled and drove away. My visions of Independence disappeared as I dissolved into a puddle of tears and my living room floor - I missed my Mom.

I eventually figured it out. I loved my life and where I was, I still missed my parents but I was ok seeing them every couple of weeks. But when I got sick, when work got hard or I got lonely, I still felt like that little girl wailing at the front door for my Mom. And she was always there, driving at goodness knows what kind of speeds to get to me when I needed her.

Then, I got married. I still needed her but slowly someone else was stepping into that place where she'd once been alone.

Once my kids came along our dynamic changed again. I don't have time now to need someone like I once used to because now, two someone's need me. There are days, when I'm pretty sure I'm going to rip my hair straight out of my head that I call my Mom in desperation. I still need her advice, when things get tough I still need her help and when there's good times to be had I still want her there. She's still my best friend, there are times I wish I could still hid behind her skirts, times when we disagree or argue a little and moments I'm pretty sure, I'm still smarter (*wink*), but more than anything she's still my Mom and I'm glad.

Now, that I have girls on my own I often wonder, do I mean to them what she means to me? Will they long for my arms when their hearts are sad, will they need my advice when things get tough, will they complain to their friends that I'm so mean, will our bond be as strong as the one my Mom and I have?

I hope so, I'll do my best every day to make sure it's for sure. Bethany already clings to my leg in a crowd, comes wailing to me if she's hurt and will refuse everyone else a hug and still offer one my way. She wants to paint her nails like me, won't let anyone else put her to bed and is most days, my little shadow. Her temper shines though much like mine can, and her need for my attention often makes me wonder if we'll ever be able to leave them with someone other than my Mom ( it actually might be me with the problem...I don't want to leave them with anyone else). Audrey's still so tiny but she too is showing signs of being a Mommy's girl.

They both love their Daddy and worship the ground he walks on. He plays with them like I can't, he's their bath boss and their chocolate sneaker (Audrey hasn't had her turn but Beth sure has). But when push comes to shove and their tired or sick, it's me they call, it's me they reach for and me who will moments or hours later will lay them into bed, content and asleep.

And ya know, for all the times when I could scream because I feel like I need a few moments to breath. I'm glad they want me. I'm happy they need me and I hope with all my heart that 20 years from now, when a day is rough or they have exciting news to share it's me they want to call!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wanna know I secret? I still need you and Dustin more than you know. Thank you Sweetie for crying for me because there are times when my heart cries out for you... and then I get to stand and look and watch and see the wonderful Mom and wife you are. You are loved so very much by those two little angels.
Through tears
Mom (gotta stop making me cry!)