My mother passed away nearly two years ago.
Recently, I learned she wasn’t done with parenting her children.
My sister and I flew down to my parent’s house to box up some of her things and help organize her house. We started in a spare bedroom where all of the things she collected were stockpiled – and trust me I mean piled!
My mother was one of seven sisters. She grew up shortly after the Great Depression, and she didn’t have many (if any) new clothes or toys to call her own.
Later in life, she more than made up for it.
Being a selfless person, most of the things she collected were for her family.
We sorted through so many dolls, baseball cards and cookbooks, we could have opened a specialty store.
As we flipped through the cookbooks, we found random things she used as bookmarks. There were pictures that grandchildren had drawn, handwritten notes, and sometimes dollar bills. I shook book and a card fell out that I had given her for Mother’s Day.
The nearly 30-year-old card looked like an ordinary card a child would’ve given her mother — and then I read it. Apparently, I was angry with her that day because she told me “no.”
I wrote some not-so-nice things to her. To be honest, I can’t remember what upset me so much.
She was right to say no to what ever I was asking for. My mother never brought up the card, but she saved it. Maybe she was going to mention it at a future gathering and tease me about it in front of my siblings, so they could call me a brat.
At any rate, I have to tip my hat to her wisdom — and especially being able to say “no.”
I will keep this in mind each time I have to put on the “Mean Mom” mantle.
I’m almost certain that she kept the card as a way to help me parent with authority when having to say “no” to my own children — even if they’re angry with me.
Her presence continues to influence my parenting style. It’s also reassuring to know that she will always be there when I need her the most.
Z. Carlson is married with two teenage children. She works part time. Read her here on momaha.com
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