Tuesday, March 15, 2016

When My Kid Hurts, I Hurt With Them

I learned many years ago, you can tell your kid something until you're blue in the face but if hurting or feeling devastated will never hear you; they only hear their world crashing down around them and nothing else.

It's happened with all three kids at one time or another. You can't convince them everything will be alright and never believe you when say in the grand scheme of their radar in life will be a teensy tiny blip on the screen when all is said and done.

I lost my own mother when I was just seventeen, a week before my senior year in high school started. That's a pretty tough time in a girl's life even when you (feel like you) know everything anyway.

I was about thirteen or fourteen in the above photo of my mother and me. It was right before I learned everything a person needed to know about overnight. Suddenly I was a know it all.

I've told all three of my kids at one time or another the most important thing my mother ever said me.

"The older you get, the smarter I'll seem."

She was spot on,  oh so right.

My favorite memory about the above  picture is when TJ saw it for the first time when he was about three. I had it framed and on the wall in our first house. He asked me who the two people were. I told him it was a picture of me with my mother when I was little. He cocked his head, looked at it and solemnly said "You was a boy ?".

I'll have to agree I didn't look very girly, never did...and the bruises on my arms didn't help much either, along with my chopped off hair.

Anyway, back to my story.

Massey has suddenly found herself in her third year of college, working a pretty demanding job three days a week while paying her own way through school. I know it's a lot but  know Massey, and have no doubt in my mind she is knocking it out of the park and learning what it is to be a self sufficient grown up.

Now we're all suddenly moving to Orlando in six short months and starting over there. She'll be in a new school in a new city in a new home without a bestie in sight. I also know that with her huge heart and exuberant personality will make friends in no time.

I knew by the time the above picture of her was taken that she was a force who would take the world by storm. I'm even more sure of it now.

Convincing her of it is another thing altogether.

She's rethinking her decision of her major and mentioned she may want to take a year off from school.

My immediate response was NO.

I told her to finish, get her degree regardless of if she ever used it. Too many people, including her brother and both Tim and I did the same thing. Took some time off to make a little money before going back to school then never went back. Then know what you spend the rest of your life doing?

Making a little money.

TJ has been the exception to the rule after doing just that for several years. When he worked at the airport with me a couple of years back were on the shuttle bus one day when he ran into a guy who he used to work with when selling cars at a Toyota dealership. The guy said he was opening his own car dealership in Orlando and if TJ ever wanted a job would be happy to hire him.

Since then things have dramatically changed in TJ's life. He met a wonderful woman, single mother with a four year old daughter. He moved in with her, asked her to marry him and "Whoop there it is" she became pregnant again. I wasn't thrilled about it at first but turned out to be a blessing in disguise. He stepped up as the father of a now family of four and called his friend in Orlando. He went down first and knocked it out of the park as a salesman. He quickly moved up to financing and is doing exceptionally well, working long hours but making it happen and doing exceptionally well.

Here's Massey holding our first grand baby, Juniper (I call her the lil nipper) with TJ's soon to be wife and adorable daughter Zeli, TJ's soon to be stepdaughter. Ignore my brother's photo bomb, although is hilarious and so my brother.

Back to Massey.

As deep talks go with twenty year old daughters feeling overwhelmed, were lots of tears and voices raised.

She said  just felt depressed she had been dumped by her best friend a while back when the girl met the man of her dreams and Massey fell out of the loop, to which I replied "Well then she wasn't your best friend and get over it. She was a good friend, her parents were wonderful to you for a while and be grateful for that but move on with your own life". Get your degree even if you never use that particular one.

I continued our teary eyed talk with...

THEN take some time off. Be a flight attendant for a while (they quickly snap up college grads) and see the world while being paid a little money. You might meet someone or visit some place which tugs at your heart strings even more compel you totally in another direction. You may realize something else leads you in a completely different direction and if that desire or compulsion requires a different degree will be a driven force you.

It's been a long and winding road with Massey. She unfortunately grew into semi adulthood at the worst point in our lives...broke as jokes and scrambling like roaches when a light is turned on.

I sent her this link last night, a note from Sir Paul about who Mother Mary was in the Beatles hit "Let It Be".

I was going through a really difficult time around the autumn of 1968. It was late in the Beatles’ career and we had begun making a new album, a follow-up to the “White Album.” As a group we were starting to have problems. I think I was sensing the Beatles were breaking up, so I was staying up late at night, drinking, doing drugs, clubbing, the way a lot of people were at the time. I was really living and playing hard. The other guys were all living out in the country with their partners, but I was still a bachelor in London with my own house in St. John’s Wood. And that was kind of at the back of my mind also, that maybe it was about time I found someone, because it was before I got together with Linda. So, I was exhausted! Some nights I’d go to bed and my head would just flop on the pillow; and when I’d wake up I’d have difficulty pulling it off, thinking, “Good job I woke up just then or I might have suffocated.” Then one night, somewhere between deep sleep and insomnia, I had the most comforting dream about my mother, who died when I was only 14. She had been a nurse, my mum, and very hardworking, because she wanted the best for us. We weren’t a well-off family- we didn’t have a car, we just about had a television – so both of my parents went out to work, and Mum contributed a good half to the family income. At night when she came home, she would cook, so we didn’t have a lot of time with each other. But she was just a very comforting presence in my life. And when she died, one of the difficulties I had, as the years went by, was that I couldn’t recall her face so easily. That’s how it is for everyone, I think. As each day goes by, you just can’t bring their face into your mind, you have to use photographs and reminders like that. So in this dream twelve years later, my mother appeared, and there was her face, completely clear, particularly her eyes, and she said to me very gently, very reassuringly: “Let it be.” It was lovely. I woke up with a great feeling. It was really like she had visited me at this very difficult point in my life and gave me this message: Be gentle, don’t fight things, just try and go with the flow and it will all work out. So, being a musician, I went right over to the piano and started writing a song: “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me”… Mary was my mother’s name… “Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.” There will be an answer, let it be.” It didn’t take long. I wrote the main body of it in one go, and then the subsequent verses developed from there: “When all the broken-hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer, let it be.

I left her sniffing snot back with a puffy face in her bed but made the only point I knew how to make.

It will be just fine...trust me.

I'm your Mother Mary.

I'm not the best mother by the wildest stretch of anyone's imagination but certainly (hopefully) not the worst.

Raising three kids has been by far my greatest accomplishment in life and wouldn't change our journey even if I could.
It was meant to happen...and  did.

I've had to fight (like a hopped up on meth crazy person) for over seven years but did, and did because it  was what I needed to do.

And now almost a decade later have come full circle. Ironically enough have been by the Grace of God sent to Orlando where my brother lives and our oldest son lives with his new family.


Us Clampetts are survivors, getting by with  little help from our friends.

Til next time...COTTON


Ana Barrera said...

You're an awesome mom and friend love you Betty!

Ana Barrera said...

You're an awesome mom and friend love you Betty!