You’ll Understand…

You’ll Understand…

It’s Mother’s Day, 2014. It’s a gorgeous Long Island day. The birds have been chirping tirelessly since around 4am, as they do around here. The trees are still in bloom. The sun is shining bright today, and all the clouds did their busy work yesterday so the sky is clear and the brightest of blues. A perfect day.

My kids haven’t harassed me this morning. They’re downstairs with their dad. I don’t know what they’re up to, but I suspect it has something to do with me. I remember being a kid and being so excited about Mother’s Day. Like it was Christmas! I remember so well conspiring with my dad, my brothers, and sister on Mother’s Day mornings about doing our thing for Mom. The one day we’d “do” for her–totally out of balance with the hundreds of days she “did” for us.

“Wait till you’re a mother. You’ll understand.”

Mom and Me, about 15 months pre-motherhood. (So thin and fancy I am!)
Mom and Me, about 15 months pre-motherhood. (So thin and fancy I am!)

This was my mother’s mantra. She used it for all kinds of reasons, from explaining why we couldn’t play with a certain kid, to why we were having spaghetti again, for the fourth day that week, to why she was hiding in the bathroom…

My mother was not Donna Reed. Like many mothers, I’m sure she struggled daily between being a person, a woman–being the girl she was before she became a mother at 21–and being a mother. These are different things. A mother isn’t human, exactly. She has a human part of her, like Superman has Clark Kent. But it’s the “Superman” aspect that we count on, and, as the offspring of Superman, we sometimes forget there’s an actual person behind all that extraordinary giving and sacrifice. A person with an identity beyond what’s in it for us. A person with hopes and dreams, sometimes shelved. With spice and verve and maybe even a wild streak.

This is my mother. She is 19 or 20 and, yes, she is smoking!
This is my mother. She is 19 or 20 and, yes, she is smoking!

“Wait till you’re a mother. You’ll understand.” I didn’t understand some of the things my mother did and the decisions she made. And when I got to be a mother myself, I, one time, challenged her on one of these things because I can be a little shit sometimes. Which she knew, because she was my mother.

Me, shitty and defiant: “I’m a mother now. I still don’t understand why you’d ever….” whatever it was.

Without skipping a beat, she looked at me and said, “Wait till you’re a grandmother. You’ll understand.” Ah, she was ready for me.

I understood. I finally understood.

Mom with Dad and the "grandbabies." Oh how she loved these little monsters!
Mom with Dad and the “grandbabies.” Oh how she loved these little monsters!

I was lucky enough to have my mom into my forties. Lucky enough to know her both as a mother and a grandmother. It was really when she became a grandmother that I started to understand her more. Not when I gave birth, but when the mother lifestyle really took hold. The endless needs. The birthday parties. The PTA. All of the obligations. The laundry. The homework. The goddamned f@cking homework!

The “playing field” leveled somewhat, and I did have some time to understand why she didn’t sign up for field trips or ever be a class mother. And for a few fleeting years, we understood together. Without her, I’m not sure anyone will ever understand me the same way again.

I haven’t blogged since her passing last fall, but I blog today to celebrate her. For all of you celebrating with your moms, celebrating your mom’s memory. For all of you new moms, expectant moms. For all of you who long to be moms, and all of you who are moms to furry loves, I understand. Thanks to my mom, I understand.

Go and enjoy yourself! Be yourself! Happy Mother’s Day!

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162762_2662032389151_5076510_nLet’s connect! Find me on Twitter and Facebook, and email me: francine@francinelasala.com.

 

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!

I hope this weekend finds you joyfully celebrating with your mom or kids–or both! As you know if you’ve been following my blog recently, I’m all about the moms this month. I’m blessed to still have both my mom and mother-in-law to celebrate, and celebrate with. This year, my sister-in-law joins the “fun”!

Fun, right!?
Fun, right!?

Okay, maybe a tad obnoxious to put the “fun” in quotes (did it again…), but you know what I mean. It really is a joyous job, but it does comes along with a lot of hard work and very little recognition. Which is okay, it’s not like you do it for the props or anything. 🙂

The other thing about motherhood–be honest and tell me in the comments section if you agree–is that it really makes you feel like you have amnesia sometimes. So consumed am I with laundry and homework and making meals that I often forget those times that “doing the laundry” meant buying new underwear to put it off a few days more. When “homework” was the freelance storytelling I did when I wasn’t at work. And “making meals” involved complicated dishes calling for “required-taste” ingredients…

When late nights meant staying out drinking with friends and stumbling into a cab at 4am. When shopping for clothes meant cute, dry-clean-only numbers I could easily slip into…and out of… A time when I could wear heels to bring me closer to my husband’s height (he’s 6’4″, I’m 5’4″–you have to imagine what I used to be able to teeter around on before I spent most of my time chasing toddlers…)

I miss that girl sometimes. (I think my husband might, too.)

But the woman who’s replaced her isn’t so bad. I mean, I don’t always recognize her, driving around in a Volvo station wagon and hanging out in playgrounds in the middle of the day instead of bars and clubs in the middle of the night. And last summer may have been the last time she had a pedicure (or shaved her legs–LOL… Sort of kidding…) And her shoes are terrible. But she’s got some redeeming qualities. I mean, her daughters are just awesome, so she can’t be too terrible at this new identity… Right?

cousins

When I wrote The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything, I wasn’t intending it to be a mother’s story. (Although if I’m to be honest, I’m not at all sure what I was intending it to be.) But within the madness of that story, this is just what emerges. A woman who used to know who she was, but in her somewhat uncharted universe of play groups and school drop offs, mingling with other mothers and dealing with the craziness of having small kids, she does not have her feet under her any more. Of course that’s not what triggered the amnesia in the first place, but it surely helps keep her in a daze.

539286_10200439346445319_1446602713_n

In any case, whatever phase of this mad ride you’re on, I wish you a fun, fruitful (in love and blessings) Mother’s Day!

Cheers!

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Let’s connect! Find me on Twitter and Facebook, and email me: francine@francinelasala.com
Hello May, A Month for Mothers!

Hello May, A Month for Mothers!

me and girls
Me and my princesses.

Hey there. Welcome to May in the ‘Shed!

While May is officially Chick Lit Month, it’s also Mother’s Day month, and after almost eight years of this motherhood business, I decided it was time to take a step back and see if anything made more sense to me now about this crazy state of life than it did in the beginning.

Uh…nope. 🙂

So there won’t be an interesting or hilarious post on motherhood from me today. Probably not even this month. Which is why I dragged another 20 or so other mothers in here, basically to share what it means to be a mother and also at the same time, be a human being. (I’m not sure I understand the secret of that yet, but I’m eager to learn!)

The mothers you’ll meet this month are here because they inspire and delight me. They are not the judge-y bitches of the Easton Estates playground I wrote about in The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything. Rather, they’re all very cool women who are still able to understand who they are in this crazy mess known as motherhood. I admire that. I kind of crave it. Maybe you do, too?

Featured “Five for Friday” interviews this month include, Amber Dusick, the creator of the hilarious blog Parenting Illustrated with Crappy Pictures(tm); Jen Pate and Barb Machen, from the hit web series, Jen and Barb: Mom Life, New York Times bestselling collaborator Mim Eichler Rivas; Chick Lit Central founder Melissa Amster; and “Crib Notes” Kelly Perotti.

You’ll also meet a ton of other moms, women who have managed to find those “stolen moments” between diaper changes and playdates and various sporting events, to carve out just a little time to do their thing, whatever that thing is. (Mostly we’re writers but that’s only because this is the kind of person who writes blog posts.)

Just about every day, moms from all over the world will be here to make you smile, and maybe even teach you something you didn’t already know.

So check back regularly. And have a great day!

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FRANCINE LASALA has written nonfiction on every topic imaginable, from circus freaks to sex, and edited bestselling authors of all genres through her company, Francine LaSala Productions. She is now actively taking on indie clients for manuscript evaluations, editing services, copywriting (covers, blurbs, taglines, queries, and more), website and blog creation, and developing kickass social media campaigns. The author of novels Rita Hayworth’s Shoes and The Girl, The Gold Tooth & Everything, and the creator of The “Joy Jar” Project, she lives with her husband and two daughters in New York.

Write to me: francine@francinelasala.com.

And let’s connect!

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Buy Rita Hayworth’s Shoes

Buy The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything