Sunday, March 09, 2008

On Motherhood and the Mother-Daughter Day

I haven't always felt like a good mother. When Trey was a kid, I was barely an adult myself, and I had no idea how to raise a child. Looking back now, my fuse was incredibly short with him, and the older he got, the more I regretted my temper and not spending more time with him.

When Cathryn came along, I was still young, but it drew Trey and I closer together. I was thankful that she was born in the summer--Trey was the best helper I could have asked for, and no one made him stay with me. He could have spent his summer outside with his friends, but instead he spent his mornings with me and the baby. It opened my eyes to how silly and immature I had been, and how sweet and mature he was really.

Now that Cathryn is closing in on the age that Trey was when I married Richie, and I sometimes find myself making the same mistakes with her that I made with him. I raise my voice when she just wants to help, or lost my temper when she spills things or makes a mess. I find myself wanting to lock myself in my bathroom and not carry on a twenty minute conversation about the finer plot points of Hannah Montana.

In an attempt to rectify this situation and not let myself repeat the same mistakes, I've instituted "Mother-Daughter Day". Actually, Richie's been telling me to do this for about a year, but I'm kind of thick-headed. I invited my friend Beth and her oldest daughter Elizabeth, but she had to back out at the last minute because her youngest daughter Krista got sick. I was disappointed, as I know she was, but you can't blame a mother for wanting to stay with her sick child. So--Cathryn and I struck out alone.

Our first stop was Carolina Creations, where we had appointments with Susan, who is a stylist and a friend of mine. She's expecting a girl soon, so before long, she'll be getting the "Mother-Daughter Day" invitations, too. Cathryn got her hair trimmed and shaped up, but I'm the one who did something drastic. My hair's been below my shoulders for over a year, and it was getting really heavy and all I ever did with it was pull it up in a ponytail. After consulting with Susan, we decided to go with a blunt cut an inch or two below my chin, with some wispy bangs and soft layers at the front. I've got to tell y'all--I feel like a new woman.

The rest of our day was spent between Coastal Grande Mall (The Children's Place and Claire's for Cathryn, along with a slice of pizza. A fierce determination to shop at Ann Taylor Loft just once when I reach the goal for Josie. Also? A dress from Miss Lizzie's on Front Street.), Barnes & Noble and Toys R Us. Barnes & Noble has never disappointed me, but today it did. The shelves were bare because they were in the middle of moving to the new store at Market Common over at the Air Force Base. Empty as it was, it still didn't keep us from spending a good two hours in there, and another at the toy store, where, miraculously, nothing was bought.

When we're in the car, I have music going. It's a non-issue: if the car is running, so is the CD player. But on the way home, Cathryn kept trying to talk to me from the back seat, so I kept cutting the volume. At one point, I felt the old feelings popping up, and I asked Cathryn if she wanted me to change the music. She said, "No, let's just have some quiet for a little while." I was shocked, an instead of getting angry, I did exactly what she asked. It was nice to drive home and really just talk to my daughter.

I can't fix the mistakes I made with Trey, but I can learn from them so I don't make them with Cathryn, too.

Now, Trey doesn't read my blog, but I'm going to say this anyway. Thanks, Trey, for being a better son than I was a mother, and helping me see the error of my ways. You're a god boy, and you're going to be an even better man.


stacy o. said...

I think you should be so proud and of yourself that you tackled marriage and parenthood of a semi-grown child at the same time! BTW--your daughter is beautiful.

Josie Thames said...

This really, really touched my heart. Thank you. I'm so super-proud of both of them.