Mother’s Day 2017

My mom. I miss her. She was many things: Irish mother of the year, beautician, wife, nana, den mother, girl scout leader, a nurse in the army, and the list goes on and on. But, above all that, she was my mother.

We didn’t always see eye to eye, and there were times when I did not always agree with her. However, she was my mother, and she raised us all as best she could. She worked hard raising 8 children in that house with only 4 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. (Looking back, that house seemed so huge when we were little.)

She worked hard at home, and when needed, she worked hard outside of the home. We didn’t always have what we wanted, but we always had what we needed. Did I agree with every decision she ever made, or every punishment she put forward? No. Did I agree with every “harsh” word when she would tell us like it is? No. Did I dare question any of it? No. Did I disrespect her in any way? No. Did I try to “punish” her just for revenge, or make her feel guilty for anything? No. Why? Because she was my mother…..not my buddy, not my pal. And everything she did, everything she fought for, was for the good of us kids. She wanted us to be the best adults we knew how to be. Being a mother does not come with an instruction manual. The last thing my mother and I did together was plan the Roland family reunion in 2001. A few weeks later, she was dead. Love your mother and respect her…..because some day, you may not have her around.

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My Lost Ghost in the Living Room Dream

Last night was chalk full of dreams.  This one involved my mom, the house I grew up in, and the ghosts that inhabited that house.

I was asleep in my old room at 548, the house I grew up in.  We were waiting for the folks to get home from their New Years Eve celebration.  I come out to find my mom sitting in her rocking chair next to the big 3 windows in the living room.  I took a seat on the couch next to her.

She said “Can you tell?  The spirits are not happy with the work that was done.”  I said “What do you mean?”  She replied “Just wait, you will see.”  Suddenly, the vase that was sitting on the little end table between the couch and the rocking chair went toppling to the ground.  She said “See?  They are upset this time.  They won’t hurt you, but they miss the house the way it was.  They need somewhere to go.”

Suddenly, off to my left, I catch a glimpse of someone running past me.  Dressed in brown, this someone ran through the doorway into what used to be my old room, and what was eventually my parent’s room.

“Mom, did you see that?”  Mom said, yes and she was looking for somewhere else to go.  “She’s lost” said Mother.  “She wants to follow you.  She’s just lost.”

My Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hotel, Strangers in front of the house dream

I am talking to a man, who looks familiar, but I can’t quite put my finger on who he is.  It turns out, he is traveling incognito.  Suddenly, on a screen, appears 2 pictures of Arnold Schwarzenegger.  One picture of how he looks today, and one of his much younger self, with both poses being from his Terminator nude scene.  I look over at the man and say “I thought you looked familiar.  That’s you, isn’t it?”  He said “Yes, I am one in the same.  Although if you will notice, I have a few more wrinkles on my backside now than in 1984.”

He’s in talks for a new movie with Jamie Lee Curtis, reprising their spy roles from True Lies, and he invites me along to the meeting.   The meeting is in this big, fancy hotel, the kind of hotel that only rich people can afford to stay in.  After meeting with and talking to Jamie, Arnold, the writers and other staff, I am offered a job.  It seems Arnold has told everyone that during our discussion, he was able to determine that I had a creative streak in me, and was a bit of a ham.  So, I was offered the opportunity to assist with the script and also to act in the movie.

Just as I had accepted the offer, my son and brothers come walking down the hall.  “Hey, are you ready to check out of this place yet?  We have to leave” They say.  So, we go to the front desk to check out, and when we leave, they ask “Where did you park your car?”  I said “What do you mean my car?  I didn’t drive here.  Where’s your car?”  So, we commence to the parking lot, which has turned into a giant field of grass.  There is but one lonely little car out in the north forty, and evidently it’s mine because they said “Oh, there’s your car!  Why the hell did you park all the way out here?”

We then drive to the house us kids grew up in (Which, by the way no longer exists, it was torn down in 2000) where we find our dad getting ready to go sit out front.  (Keep in mind, dad died in 2007.) While he is out front, we hear noises outside the front porch.  We look outside to find some strangers arguing and trying to get into the house.  They ran off when they saw us kids.  Suddenly, we think, where the heck is dad?  Did they take him?  So we frantically look and look, but to no avail.

Suddenly mother shows up with one of the blonde grandkids. (Mother died in 2001.) She said “Where’s your father?”  We call his cell phone, and he’s down at the tavern buying candy bars for us.  We said “Oh, we thought those strangers took you.  You better get home!  Mom’s here with one of the grandkids, and boy are you gonna be in trouble!”

July 17th….a bittersweet day.

23 years ago, I rode to the hospital on an ambulance (my very first ambulance ride). You see, I was in labor, and much to everyone’s surprise (but not mine)…I almost had my 3rd child at home on the toilet. (Because the hospital didn’t believe I was in labor earlier). The ambulance left my house at 02:15 on July 17th 1992. I asked the paramedic “You ever delivered a baby before?”…he said “No, but I saw my partner do it once.”….I said “Oh, that’s just feckin’ great.” I hee hee hee hoo’d all the way, not stopping for any red lights. We got to the hospital at 02:25, and I had to direct the paramedic to the mother baby unit (Seems he’d never been there either). They called the dr, who got there just in time to put on his catcher’s mit at 02:43 am to catch a 10 lb baby girl as she swiftly made her arrival. The staff was running around like chickens with their heads cut off (Which I told them they would be doing when they sent me home earlier) I’ll never forget it….and to all the staff who sent me home 23 years ago saying “Oh, you’re not in labor yet”…well, I can only say this…”I feckin told ya so!” I named her Emily, which means industrious one. That is oh so true.  She was, and is, a beautifully busy girl. And people do like you when you are 23….

14 years ago, July 17th, 2001…I got a call that every child dreads. “This is your dad, and I have the paramedics here giving your mother CPR”….that call plays over and over in my head. She just dropped dead that day, on my daughter’s 9th birthday. The very next day, I had the family over for a very happy birthday party….that is what my mom would have wanted. The last time I heard my mother’s voice was on my answering machine when I got home after she passed. “Kelly, this is your mother, call me when you get home.” We had been on vacation and she called before we got back. This was before the days of commonplace cell phones. I happened to come home early from vacation…I wanted to be home by 2:30 pm. I walked in the door at 2:15 pm and within 2 minutes came that dreaded phone call from my dad. Don’t let the last time you hear your mother’s voice be on an answering machine, or a voice mail…..If she calls, and you are around answer it….because gosh, you just never know when will be the last time you talk to her.

Fixing the boo boos

As moms, when our children are little, there was no boo boo we couldn’t fix.  Be it with a kiss, a bandaid, a little washing, an ice cream cone, a quarter, the list goes on and on.  There comes a time in a mom’s life when she realizes “Hey, I cannot fix this kid’s boo boos anymore.”  When she realizes that…well, it’s not an easy moment.  Her child is not a child anymore, but an adult, or very near adulthood.  Some of the boo boos she used to fix were skinned knees, loose teeth, a bump on the ole noggin, a fever, the list goes on and on.  Now, the boo boos are a bit more complex than that, and there is a point in life when she realizes that no matter what she does, the boo boos of her now grown child can be fixed by nobody else but that child.  Her child could be at the point of losing everything.  At that point a decision must be made.  Does she keeping trying to “fix” it, especially if that means the “fixing” may be enabling?  Or does she finally say enough?  Making the decision to say enough is so difficult for a mom.  So very difficult.  Telling her child “I am done….nobody can fix you but you.” is possibly the hardest thing a mom can say.  Sitting and waiting to see if the child decides he/she is worth fixing him or herself is not easy either.   But she does, and hopes for the best and tells herself that sometimes tough love is what is necessary to get her child to see the light, even though it is killing her inside and she cries because she just wants her child to be ok again.  She wants those boo boos fixed.

Mother’s Day 1959

May 10th, 1959…mother’s day.  A beautiful young wife (from Ireland) and her movie star handsome American husband were ready to welcome their first born into the world.  At about 5:30 am (or so the story goes), this beautiful young wife became a mother for the first time to a bouncing 9 lb baby girl.  The story is also told that this baby girl was born already lifting up her head because she was about a month overdue.  The doctor said, “Well, Josephine, say hello to your month old newborn.” They named her Kelly (after her grandmother O’Kelly in Ireland).  The rest is history.  This year, her birthday falls on Mother’s Day yet again, and I have to say it makes her a little sad.

Happy mother’s day mom from your very first Mother’s Day present.  I surely do miss you.  “I love you forever, I like you for always, as long as I’m living, my mommy you’ll be.” mom2a

Dear Mother

As I remember you today

I reflect on tales of the motherland

From folklore of headless dog spirits

To the meaning of the shamrock and the Trinity

A cottage in which 11 children grew

In a land the beauty of which I have never seen

I remember the music, the dancing of the jig

The tales of the leprechaun and his pot of gold

I think of the courage it took to leave your family

To come to a strange land and start anew

The strength it took to have 10 children of your own, yet bury 3

The stern hand with which you raised us

Was also the gentle hand that guided us with love

The firm voice that called our names down the line

Could be soft and comforting at any moment

In our big house filled with love, and lots of children

I think how you truly came to this country with nothing

And really did achieve everything

And you carried yourself with grace and dignity while doing so

All these things and more I remember

As I remember you today

Dear Mother