Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Best Mother's Day Gift Ever: Memories and Significance

My kids spend weeks putting together my Mother’s Day present. In their eyes, Mother’s Day is bigger than Christmas or my birthday. Ever since grade school, when they made me planters and wind chimes and clay hand prints or brought home spider plants and tree seedlings and pumpkin plants with a homemade card attached professing their eternal love, they’ve given me heart-felt Mother’s Day gifts.

They’ll be hard pressed to top this year’s, though. Judging by Lynn’s Tear-O-Meter, their gift was a 10.

I now have a new workout play list, thanks to the mixed CD Carlene and Cassie made me. They chose songs I’d long forgotten, songs that reminded them of me and us, the hard times and the good times of their growing up – sometimes with and sometimes without a stepdad, but always, ALWAYS, with their mother.

I used to be the queen of self-flagellation in terms of how I raised my kids. Was I too lenient? Too stern? Did I tell them too much? Not enough? When I was single, I dated a lot. When I was married to the wrong husbands, that husband and I disagreed a lot. I got fat and thin many times too, but they grew up thin and without food issues. Just as they learned to accept people for who they are, love smartly and not hate. I look at them sometimes and wonder, “Where the heck did you girls come from?”

I’m so darn proud of my kids, so amazed by this mixed CD, that I wanted to share the playlist and some of what they wrote about each song. I don’t share this to brag, but to reassure you that – fuck up as we might as mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, what have you – we’re loved and remembered in ways we’ve forgotten. Often, in terms of how we talk about the process of weight loss, we are negative about ourselves and place far more importance on our bodies than our overall impact on the world around us. This blog is meant to ask you to please not forget the impact you have on the people around you – you valuable, lovable, whatever-your-size person you are.

Here it is, in their own words (as Brian Williams would say):

“Hi Mom! Enjoy your fun CD and we love you!!!!! xoxox, Carly and Cassie”

“Got My Mind Set on You” - George Harrison

Some of my favorite memories of Mom is when we'd watch this music video. It always cracked me up watching the moose head on the wall dancing and such. I always think of Cassie dancing her little knee bopping dance as a little kid listening to this song and watching the video.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” - Queen

I remember when Mom picked me up from the airport after spending time in PA with Joe. We were driving on the highway and this song came on the radio. I had no other memory of being SO incredibly happy to be home, so Mom cranked this song up and we sang it at the top of our lungs while doing our version of head banging. With Mom it was always OK to act a little strange. We kept laughing harder as we'd see the people in other cars look at us like we were nuts.

“Copacabana” - Barry Manilow

Personally for me, this song makes me very happy. When driving home after 10 long weeks of being away (NOTE: Cassie was in Army basic training during the summer before her senior year of high school.), Mom bought me a little bear that I named 'Bear Manillow' because half asleep in the very back of the van, I made it dance to this song. We were all laughing so hard, I think we were all in tears. Even Larry! I had never been so happy to be with my family at that moment.

“Thing Called Love” - Bonnie Raitt

“Good Things” - Bo Deans

This song reminds me of when the three of us drove to Minnesota for Grandpa's birthday. I remember when everyone else was tired, I popped this CD (the live one) in and Mom and I sang to it while Carly slept in the back. We also got some good chatting in, too, as always.

I wouldn’t have my appreciation of the Bo Deans if Mom hadn’t had them on all the time. Such great music and always a favorite when I’d raid Mom’s CD collection (which I did frequently!). The Bo Deans bring me back to about ages 10-13. Tough times during those years, but also wonderful times that brought us so close.

“Galileo” - Indigo Girls

Nothing reminds me more of Mom than Indigo Girls. Frankie, too. Those were the good days. We would all hang out with music in the background. I can still hear it
playing when we'd take any sort of road trip in PA. Didn't we listen to it on the way to Gettysburg?

I remember stealing this tape from you for a long time. Who knows if I ever gave it back! Like Cassie said, this also reminds me of Frankie and the play she put together based on Wuthering Heights and I played Heathcliff. Every time I hear an Indigo Girls song today I think of Mom.

“She's in Love with the Boy” - Trisha Yearwood

“Wide Open Spaces” - Dixie Chicks

For me, this song reminds me of my wedding. Mom wouldn't tell me what song we'd dance to, so when this song came on I had a feeling I already knew she'd choose this one... Simply because it fit for us and how we are. Mom has always let me be the free spirit I am, and she never made me feel like I had to apologize for it or conform to everyone else. She's always let me be me, and that's what a good Mom is all about.

I, too, think of Cassie’s wedding when I hear this song. Again, Mom’s Country music collection was small, but the Dixie Chicks made the cut! I actually think of going off to college to Bloomsburg and saying goodbye to both Mom and Cassie with this song. That was a huge time in my life and I missed Mom and Cassie terribly. Mom always let us be our own people and stretch our legs and be who we needed to be.

“Ice Cream” - Sarah McLaughlin

“Look Heart, No Hands” - Randy Travis

“I'll Stand by You” - The Pretenders

I don't have a specific memory for this song, but I do remember Mom always saying she loved this song. However, when I do think of this song, it takes me back to a sad time in Minnesota and how we were all there for each other to get through it.

This song make me think of the three of us. We’ll all stand by each other no matter what. Enough said.

“Fire and Rain” - James Taylor

I could always count on Mom to listen to good mellow James Taylor. This was always one I remember playing.

I wouldn’t have my appreciation for Classic Rock and James Taylor if it wasn’t for Mom. Gosh, we’ve been listening to James Taylor since I was a tiny kid. I can’t remember a time when we DIDN’T listen to James Taylor!

“Landslide” - Fleetwood Mac

I know this song is more for Carly, being as Mom wrote about it when she was graduating school. But for me this song is more on a Mom level. I would sing this song a lot to Claire when she was a little baby to calm her. It always worked. As a mother, this song's lyrics are both sad and hopeful, thinking about how wonderful it is to love someone/something so much, however as they grow (which is wonderful) you are also growing and getting older. For me I always think of how Mom would say she virtually grew up with us, and now as a mother I'm doing the same thing. So as the lyrics go, "I been afraid of changing 'cause I built my life around you..."

This is a beautiful song and it always reminds me of Mom. Even though Stevie Nicks says “this one’s for you Daddy”, I think of Mom instead.

“Alone” - Heart

Do I really have to say anything? It's Heart? And this is the best Heart song ever!

Lol, Cassie! I don’t know about the best Heart song EVER, but it is a good one. (Too bad Celine Dion had to butcher it with a cover!) I fell in love with Heart partially because Mom listened to Heart. And these chicks rock!

“Have a Little Faith in Me” - John Hyatt

Not only is this one of the best songs EVER, but this and the Jewel version were often played in the house and car. It's one of those songs you can listen to and just feel good all over knowing that someone feels this way about you.

This is a great song and it reminds me of Mom. I think the Jewel version is from the Phenomenon soundtrack, which I know made Mom cry! There are times when the three of us just know to keep having faith in each other. If we didn’t we wouldn’t be as close as we are today. This song symbolizes that perfectly.

“Begin” - Toad the Wet Sprocket

Talk about a depressing song. But I remember on many occasions Mom had mentioned how this song reminded her of me. I do think that past the sad parts of the song it's about a child being wiser than its age and maybe that's how Mom felt about me at the time?

Yes, I think of Mom and Cassie with this song, but overall Toad reminds me of Mom. Getting to see Glen Phillips on my birthday at Club CafĂ© was the best gift from Mom. True, I got a little tipsy off wine, but the concert was still amazing. I’m so glad Mom loves Toad!

“Dancy’s Dream” – Restless Heart

“I’m the Only One” – Melissa Etheridge

Cassie forgot all about this song until I reminded her. I always think of Mom with this song because we went to the Melissa Etheridge concert at the Target Center together. That was such a fun time sitting in the VIP suite!

“Freedom” – George Michael

13 comments:

Patty said...

What a beautiful gift, and picture!! So many of my favorite artists, esp. the Indigo Girls and James Talyor. You obviously new how to build wonderful memories for your girls, regardless of other circumstances.

moonduster said...

Wow! What a heartfelt gift! You have some amazing kids.

Debra said...

Wow, what a wonderful tribute to you from your daughters. They obviously love you very much.

Roxie said...

What a wonderful gift! I too wonder sometimes how I managed to raise such a great daughter as crazy as I was at times. Good for you!

Shauna said...

So so beautiful! :)
And I am feeling like a rather rubbish daughter now... I'm inspired to up the ante next Mum's day :)

Anonymous said...

oh Lynn, Lynn, Lynn! What a warm wonderful exquisite act of love your girls gave you. My 18 year old is trying desperately to leave the nest (physically, emotionally, mentally & spiritually) and all kinds of hell are reverberating thru our household. Mother's Day unfortunately was a disaster of a day which had me in tears and so deeply hurt I am still feeling the pain from not even seeing her. She chose to spend it with her boyfriend's mom instead of me. But I'm holding on to what you said "fuck up as we might as mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, what have you – we’re loved and remembered in ways we’ve forgotten." Mary

Donna said...

Thank you for sharing and the inspirational words--made me tear up!

-Maura said...

Lynn, what a wonderful gift! I know you'll treasure it forever! btw - the Bodeans rule!

Meream said...

Awww this is very touching.

Pubsgal said...

I'm tearing up here at work! That is *too* sweet! (I'm still in the kid-art-made-at-school phase, and I *love* it.)

Shelley said...

This is just so nice! Thank you for sharing it - I love reading all of the memories! You have raised such lovely young women...I know you are proud!

Char said...

What a sweet picture of the three of you! Your daughters are lovely. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

you look so beautiful with the extra 40 lbs. lovely family!