Be Careful with Your Words

Earlier this week my mom tearfully apologized for something she and Daddy did two decades ago — they refused to attend my wedding.

‘Daddy wanted you to know before he died,’ she told me. ‘We both did.’

But Daddy died three years ago this month, the words still stuck in his throat. And the only reason Mom was confessing is because without my marriage, she wouldn’t have My Favorite Domer (my son) around.

Domer is, in her opinion, better than sliced bread.

Her apology sent me right back to what was supposed to be one of the most wonderful times in a person’s life. Having met the one I thought I wanted to spend eternity with, I was happy. Busily planning our wedding ceremony. Attending pre-wedding parties. Shopping for a gown. Sending out invitations. Basking when someone complimented my engagement diamond.

Glowing.

Mom and Daddy told me over the phone they wouldn’t be at the ceremony.

‘We don’t approve, and we don’t think it will last,’ they said.

I thought they’d change their minds.

Then a terse, formal rejection to our invitation came. In perfect Emily Post wording.

They really weren’t coming.

So be it, I thought. I was over 21 — shoot, I was over 25! I was an adult; so was my fiance’. We didn’t need anyone to “give” me away when I was old enough to walk myself down the aisle.

Which I did.

Until that moment, I’d hoped Mom and Daddy would show up, maybe with an apology.

It wasn’t to be.

Shortly after our wedding, my new husband and I moved several hundred miles away, seeking, I suppose, a way to strengthen our bond without the interference of family and friends who didn’t approve. We found jobs, built a house, made new friends, and loved our new life.

Eventually we got the happy news I was expecting. However, that coincided with my husband’s job loss.

As my midsection grew, our finances tanked. The bank repossessed our beautiful home two months after Domer arrived. We separated, Domer and I going to stay with my sister, and hubby to stay with his brother. The plan was to put the fractured pieces of our life back together after we were stronger and he’d found work again.

That didn’t happen. Instead, we got divorced.

And while Mom and Daddy didn’t say, ‘We told you so,’ neither did they do much to empathize. Their philosophy seemed to be, Better to erase all traces of that phase of my life and move on.

So Mom’s apology is two decades late, and while it might be the “right” thing to do, I find it hard to forgive. The hurt just goes too deep.

The one good thing to come from this is my conviction that even wild horses couldn’t keep me from Domer. Whether it’s a major occasion or a minor one, I’ll be there, cheering him on, supporting him with my love and attention, and never ever forcing him to choose between me and somebody else.

I’m not posting this to play on your sympathies. Rather, I’m hoping you won’t leave unsaid the words that need to be spoken to those you love, that you’ll think twice before doing or saying things that can’t be undone.

Whoever penned the old quote, ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,’ didn’t know what he was talking about. Words do hurt — sometimes for a very long time.

Take the Bad with the Good

While wandering the aisles of Wal-Mart recently, I couldn’t help noticing how many babies and tiny tots there were — in car seats, baskets, somebody’s arms, toddling behind parents.

Every stage in life is beautiful in its own way, but I’ve gotta admit there are so many things I don’t miss about being the mom of an infant or little child:

  • Diapers. Ugh, the stench! They were like the Energizer bunny, too — kept coming and coming….
  • Interrupted sleep. You do what you’ve got to do, but that getting-up-every-two-hours stuff is for the birds.
  • Paraphernalia. Baby bottles, special toys, diaper bags, strollers, Cheerios, books — anything to keep the kid entertained for a few seconds!
  • Sleepovers. How many parents have patience to supervise six to eight small boys for an entire night, knowing those boys’ parents are probably out enjoying themselves with dinner and a movie?
  • Birthday parties. From invitations to party favors to choice of location this is a lesson in organization, conciliation, and often aggravation!
  • Candyland. Who invented that inane game, anyway?
  • Temper tantrums. Okay, mine didn’t do this one (seriously!), but having observed other parents try to coax or bribe or threaten their kids when they refused to behave, it’s going on the list.

Now, before all of you start thinking I’m a rotten mother (which My Favorite Domer will assure you I’m most definitely not!), there are some things I do miss about his childhood:

  • That “sweet baby” smell. The one that’s a combination of “sleep” and “clean clothes” and “baby powder.”
  • Impromptu flowers. Usually dandelions, but it was the thought that counted!
  • Rocks. Playing outfield during Tee-ball was a good time for MFD to fill his pockets with “special” rocks. He never seemed to know what made them special, though.
  • Reading together. Every night, we’d read stacks of books (that is, I acted out the stories while he giggled and begged for more). Silly me, I listened to the “experts” who promised that reading to a child would make a “reader” out of them. Yeah, right!
  • Crayon pictures. Art projects in the early grades are great at keeping parents informed on their child’s budding future as the next Picasso!
  • Learning new things. And watching that “light bulb moment” when an idea or skill takes hold.
  • Little notes. Sometimes it was an apology, other times it was a thank you, but often I found scrawled notes left for me after MFD went to bed — things he meant deeply but didn’t feel comfortable expressing out loud. The acorn just doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it?!
  • Big hugs. Oh, yeah. Does any mom ever get enough of them?

How sad life would have been without all these special moments!