Thursday, January 2, 2014

Growing Pains… by Angie Terry

If we could all think back to our childhood, we would remember times of those aching body parts that were so desperately trying to grow and become the adults we are today.  

That being said, takes me back to my grade school, Dora Erickson to be exact, it was the best school in the area in my mind because it had the best playground ever. The property the school was on was huge and the school was set towards the back of the property so it was a long walk from the parking lot. You could either walk the long sidewalk or like myself chose to walk through the somewhat hilly terrain.  I remember some days I had terrible growing pains in my legs and it was difficult to walk to school but in my mind the monkey bars and the swings would win every time. I was talking with my mom about this memory and she said it broke her heart to watch me walk and know how much I was hurting.  She said when she would come to pick me up from school that even though I limped coming out of the school, she noticed I always had a big smile on my face. Little does my Mother know, It was because I saw her there waiting for me and I was so glad to be going home to my family and finally be done with, what seemed to be an eternity, at grade school.

I remember my first experience of going to college and feeling the aching for my family.  I only was 30 miles away from home but it might as well have been 30,000. ...It would have felt the same.  In those days, long distance phone calls cost a pretty penny so I was limited to one call per week.  I lived for that call and would hang on to every word from my family. I would also go home most weekends and inhale every minute I had there.  I was so homesick that I felt pain in my chest as mom or dad would drive me back to school.

A couple years after college I was sitting with my Mother in my beautiful wedding dress and she was holding my hand feeling the anxiety of her daughter and saw the tears and she said to me,  "Are you sure you want to go through with this? It is not too late to cancel. It is better to call off a wedding that go through a divorce.” ...Less than 3 years later she was holding my hand again and hugging me and said, “I wish I could take this pain away for you.  I would do anything to do that for you.” This was of course after I experienced a divorce and had to move home once again.

Once the growing pains of divorce had been healed,  I again, being the free spirit that I am,  felt the need pack up and go find myself. I filled my 2 seater car with everything I could and left just enough room to see out of the front windshield in order to drive.  I waved goodbye to my family and drove1000 miles to theSeattle area where I still live today 23 years later. The first year was very lonely but I was determined to find my life and happiness. Twelve months to the date of leaving, I was given the greatest joy of my life. ...My beautiful baby girl.

I didn’t necessarily do things the "right way" or the"preferred way" because I was now a single mother. I had a huge responsibly and I truly embraced being a mom. When my daughter was about two years old, we were in the mall and the growing pains I was feeling at that time in my life was not for me but for my girl. For the first time in my life when I saw the “gothic” looking teenagers hanging out together I felt the pains of fear for what my beautiful little girl was going to have to face in the upcoming years.  I remember thinking at that moment, "I finally, FINALLY see through the eyes of a mother and feel the pains I must have put my own Mom through."

The next big marker of growing pains for me was the day, just this past summer, when my daughter came to me and said she had found a place and was "moving out."  She  said,  "It is time Mom." I thought I was so ready for this day but it hit me like a bullet.  After all isn’t that what we want for our kids? We raise them so they can take care of themselves and be responsible right? I helped her as much as she would let me and as the last items were taken from my home and moved into my daughters new and really cute duplex, I hugged and kissed her and drove off. With tears in my eyes and looking into my rear view mirror as my daughter and her new home faded into the distance, again I couldn’t help but to think this must have been how my own Mother felt.When I finally reached my home, which now had a feeling of being so empty, all I could hear and experience was the echoes of my daughter’s childhood and the growing pains I felt that I should have done better. As I went into her empty lime green room that we had painted together, all I could do is cry and tried so hard to embrace all the memories I had of her and our life together.

The very next day was one of the best memories I have of my own Mother.  I called my Mom and we talked for hours.  My Mother simply just listened to me as I poured out my own fears, heartache and sadness since my daughter had just moved out.  One of the best things she ever said to me was this…

     “ Ang we spend our entire life to teach our children to become responsible good people. It is like the birds…the mother bird builds a nest for her babies and then she teaches them and feeds them and hopes that the day they can make it to the edge of the nest that they can FLY. Your daughter is flying and not only flying but soaring”.

Those words have been in my head ever since she said that and I felt some relief from the growing pains of motherhood after my long talk with my own mother. This led me to want to make my daughter’s room into my own boutique. …I started with new paint and on those lime green walls were paintings of flowers and rainbows that my daughter had painted.  I kissed each of those paintings as I covered them up with the new paint. I transformed my daughters teenage lime green room to a black and white with zebra print high heeled shoe chair and hints of red boutique for myself. I have to thank my brother Jim who found and purchased the amazing high heel chair for my new room. Even my daughter said after I was done it is now the most fabulous room in the house.        

This leads me to the hardest growing pain of my life. The growing pain that, if we all live long enough, we all will face death.  …This past year I experienced the passing of my sweet beautiful all knowing Mother. The pain I have felt from this is like no other. …Hard to explain in words what you feel.   At first, I wanted the entire world to know that my mom had died.  Why were these Hollywood stars getting all the fame and acknowledgment? My mom is certainly more important than those people.  I now hang on to every word my mother spoke and realize that even those words that came across judgmental or harsh were actually pleading me to live right. She saw my worth and didn’t want me to fall short. …I see her face looking at me across the dinner table and saying “Don’t you want to be a family forever? You know what is right and I don’t want to lose any of my children.” I took that so wrong due to my youth at the time, but I now know it was just a statement of love for her family. My growing pains are not over and my love for my mother will never die.  It will only continue to GROW! This is the text message I received from my Mom the day after we talked on the phone and when my girl moved out:

"Hi Honey ...Hope the sun is shining and the birds are singing especially sweet for you today. You are loved and appreciated by all of us! Love and hugs, Mom OX."        

Now with the growing pains of age starting to set in, I can sit back and smell the roses a little more, remember the blessings, the love and laughter, and actually reminisce, cry and enjoy my GROWNING PAINS!