Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Retirement - Sins of the Mother

End of February and doing OK

How I ruined my daughter's life!

As I reflect on my life, I feel quite proud of how I raised my children and how well they turned out.  They are all good people and I am so proud of them.  I give myself a pat on the back for a job well done.  Three of my children live within 45 minutes of me and I am blessed to have them so close.  My #2 child though was an adventurer and after finishing an internship in Colorado, headed out to see the country.  Her old car broke down in Santa Cruz, Ca and that is where she has stayed these past 17 years. She has gotten a new car, a great job,  a wonderful family and life and we all agree that she has found her shangri-la.  It hurt so  much when she left us but you raise children to let them fly, have their own dreams and fulfill their destiny.  It is the way it should be.  It took me awhile to adjust to her move, but with the Internet, you are never more than a few clicks away. 

I named her Heather Elise, a name I had read in a book when I was about 12.  I had never heard this name before and it sounded so lovely and peaceful and I was determined that would be what I would call my first daughter.  Apparently everybody else had read this book and the year that my daughter was born, that was one of the names most commonly given to girls - or at least so it seems.  You don't hear it much anymore as Madison and Emma and Emily have taken over, but in the early 70's Jennifer and Heather were the names of choice. I am still glad I called her that, as it fits her well.  She is my wildflower that will grow and thrive in both the loveliest and more difficult of circumstances.
With all this said, #2 child told me recently what a horrible thing I did to her when she was young.  I listened in amazement as she related to me how I had sent her to school in the 1st or 2nd grade in a Dolly Parton costume made by me and she is still trying to get past the trauma that I put her through.  I actually thought I had been quite clever, but seemingly this was not the case.  Let me explain. Back in the late 70's Dolly Parton was extremely popular, she was the Lady Gaga of today.  I never liked those cheap-looking Collegeville costumes that were available in those times so I made all my children's Halloween regalia.  I spent months thinking of themes that would be clever and would win them a  prize in the all important parade, one of  the highlights of the year in our small town. Top prize was a big $5.00, well worth the anxiety.   I made Star Wars creatures (with lights attached), Colonel Sanders, chicken legs, Gumby,  and even an Adams Family group.  They always won something and one year captured 1st prize.  People looked to me for ideas as I was Halloween Mom. When I think about it now, was it about me, not them. Was I like those crazy people in Toddlers and Tiaras?   For #2 child, who never mentioned this to me until almost 30 years later, the grapefruits that I put in her Dolly Parton outfit were over the top.  Who would have thunk? Then there was the episode where she was pelted with candies as she walked down the parade route wearing balloons for the Fruit of the Loom grapes outfit.   To add to this, a few years after these disasters, I also talked her into having me give her a hair permanent which turned out to be a very frizzy Afro in a year she was attending a new school.  I knew about that right away as she cried for days and my heart hurt for her. This Dolly Paton episode though was news to me.though.   So I say #2 child, it is the the tough times that make you stronger and give you character.  It has enabled you to have your wonderful sense of humor and you are fearless.  I didn't do it on purpose, I thought they were all good things, and you really looked amazing as Dolly.  Wish I could find those pictures.

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