Sunday, May 08, 2011

Remembering the UnMothers of Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s Day - the one day set aside, in a calendar year, to recognize our mothers.
I have a mother, and I have “recognized” her with the customary “Happy Mother’s Day, Mom” salutation.
But, alas, nothing more - no fancy flowers, gifts or the like. 
Bad girl, Jenny!   
The “official” Mother’s Day holiday is on my calendar through someone else’s doing. I did not get up one morning and decide that on the second Sunday in May, I would acknowledge my mother - no, someone else came up with that idea.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I think some of us need to be reminded that at least once a year we pull out all the stops and let mom know that she’s special.
But, there are some of us that don’t limit ourselves to one day. 
I would rather take one day off of remembering “mother” in light of the fact I have her on my radar the other three hundred and sixty-four days.
Small acts of kindness, practiced all year long, suit me, also a mother, much better than one big “bang for your buck” day and then cast under the bus for the rest of the year.
I will be spending the day with my daughter - yes, she does celebrate Mother’s Day! 

And, I confess, I love it!

I also love the random “remembering mother” moments that happen when I least expect them because they aren’t on a calendar.
BUT...this post is really about some other women...the Unmothers of Mother’s Day.
It’s about the women in our lives, not biologically connected to us or anyone else, that have mothered us with such love and kindness that they have earned the title “mother” and are worthy of inclusion on this very special day.
Today, I acknowledge the unmothers of Mother’s Day!
Let me start with Linda, my daughter’s godmother.
Linda has no biological children - but what a mother she is! My daughter is blessed to have this amazing, gracious and wise woman as a “mother” figure in her life. 
Linda’s reliable, consistent, unfailing and steadfast nature has been like a beacon on a stormy night on those occasions when I have not always been the “right” person for the job of “mothering” my daughter.
Then, there’s Remy, aka Remy-Mama; a mothering-angel from heaven! 
Remy also had no biological children - but loved and raised my daughter as if she was her own. Her loving, patient and inspiring nature helped develop those same attributes in my daughter. 
I am, and will forever be, in Remy’s debt for the kindness and commitment she put into caring for my daughter as her nanny; while I, a single mother, worked myself silly to support the three of us.
These are just two examples of the unmothers of the world; amazing women that are often relegated to a back seat because they are not “real” mothers in the eyes of society and there is no singular date on the calendar recommending them for recognition.
Tsk, tsk…
Real mothers...what actually is a “real” mother?
Are you a mother just because you can produce a child from your body?
As you read this, pause, and think of the women you know - all of them, then ask yourself  how many of these amazing women, that have crossed your path, are worthy of the distinction of “mother” solely on their mothering nature, and not because of their ability to give birth to a child.
How about the woman, a single child herself with no children, caring for her ailing mother?
How about the woman that volunteers as a Big Sister, because she loves children?
How about the woman, who adopts a child, just because?
Or the woman, that really doesn’t want children, but is absolutely the best auntie on the planet and spoils her nieces and nephews silly?
Or the woman, that is unable to have her own - and suffers a lifetime because she feel incomplete - but would have been the most incredible mother ever?
In every corner, on every street, in all the cities around the globe there is a woman that is worthy of being honoured on this very special day, solely because she excels in the mothering department - without biological connections.
To all the unmothers of the world - this post is for you!
Is there an unmother that you remembered today?
Cheers, Jenny

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Hands at ten and two, please.

How many more young drivers would she see talking on the phone or texting before she came upon one that was actually just driving.
She honked and getting the girl’s attention she mouthed, “Stop that!” as she signed with her hands the texting motion.
The girl sneered and looked back down into her lap as the light turned green.
The old woman continued driving, focusing on the heavy traffic, and lost sight of the girl. When she arrived home she wrote down the licence plate and make of car, she had every intention of calling it in - she always did; not to be mean, but in hopes that it might save a life.
And, as luck would have it, the girl arrived home in one piece.
The girl was always home first given the time school let out and when her mother left work; time enough to raid the fridge for a snack - she knew dinner would still be a while.
The girl sent another text to confirm her earlier message that the evening plans had been fixed; they would all be meeting at their favourite club tonight.
A phone call and several texts later the knock on the front door aroused her attention. 
Almost bumping into a wall that had jumped out in front of her, as she texted her way to the front door, the young woman opened the door and thought, shit, that old bitch called the cops on me, damn, mom’s gonna be pissed.
Standing there, on the front porch, were two police officers, a man and a woman. They asked her her name and then asked if they could come in and talk with her.
The girl obliged and showed them into the living room; she figured maybe her luck would continue and she could sweet talk her way out of a ticket and have them gone before mom got home from work.
 The officers looked at her and at each other, simultaneously asking her to sit down; the female sat down beside her while the male officer turned his back to them.
He heard the breaking of his partner's voice and hoped she could deliver the news, she needed the experience - it would be tough.
“I have some very bad news, your mother was in a car accident,” the officer took a deep breath and continued, “she did not survive...I’m so sorry.” She inhaled and tried to steady her breathing - would giving such horrific news ever get easier.
“How?” was all that came out of the girl’s mouth as she began to sob.

“Your mother was hit, driver’s side, by a girl who was distracted while texting and didn’t see her,” came the chilling words from the male officer as he turned to face the girl.
He took a long heavy breath and paused, trying to mask his disdain, then continued, “And, she was texting reply to your invitation to go out tonight. We have the text on her phone.”
So, what do you think about texting while driving?

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Post Interview Happy Thoughts

If you have been following me for a while you are aware that I am a relatively optimistic woman.
I see my world through rose coloured glasses and my cup is half full, or more.
You may be thinking - it’s not possible to always be up and cheerful - and I would say you are right.

But that never stops me from having Happy Thoughts!

I’ve taken a little pause after the A-Z Blogging Challenge to visit other blogs and also drop by some of my “pre-challenge” followers to say hello.
On my travels around this blogosphere I made a little discovery...ahh, piqued your curiosity, good; listen up.
I have found that some of my blogging pals are feeling a little blue, not just the post-challenge blues, but blue from coming up to a writer’s block wall and struggling with what to write about.
I can add myself to this list.
This challenge, which I just finished, had pre-set requirements and a deadline - namely using the alphabet letters to write a post and then completing this challenge in one month.
I’ve been thinking about the deadline and the pressure it imposed, good and bad; and how that pressure effected me, and apparently others that I have been visiting. 
This tight deadline may even have been the reason some bloggers didn’t finish the challenge.
Here in Canada, April is a high pressure month because it’s tax time. I hadn’t thought about that prior to this challenge and it added greatly to my stress factor. 

Also, I noticed there were bloggers who liked the challenge premise, but found out about it too late and therefore didn’t participate.
I found out about it on the 30th of March, while popping over to Al’s place for a chuckle and made a really quick, last minute decision to jump on board. No regrets - but definitely it was a lot of extra work coming up with my posts, under pressure. 
Some bloggers had posts, written in advance, ready and waiting and I think that was a great boon for them and probably alleviated some pressure.
Now...(a little Happy Thought)

In such pre-set challenges we humans get the much needed guidance and direction we are looking for. Sort of like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, if you will - directions are given, now follow them - easy enough, and I think it’s what most of us live for. 
To those of you reading this that did not enter the challenge but thought it might have been up your alley, if your alley were just a few blocks longer (time restrictions), I say - go for it anyway! The deadline, as I see it, was more like a guideline. (even Johnny Depp in POC would vouch for that)
I would love to read what A-Z means to you and do it at your own leisurely time! 

I might even mention that, in my own humble and unsolicited opinion, the A-Z Challenge would have been really nice if had a two month deadline - thereby allowing me to not only participate as a writer, but as a reader too.
As talented as I am (little bow) I am still not able to be in two places at one time! 
That was really the hardest part for me - neglecting blogs I really enjoy popping in on and, with wine glass (or coffee) in hand, sitting back and vicariously participating in the life and times of bloggers on my reading list - in particular some of my original Followers. (sorry for neglecting you)
Time is a pressure I don’t need applied to a passion! 
Again...I loved this challenge and I would easily participate again - but maybe the top line of my challenge posts in the future will read: 
New posts on Monday and Thursday - gone fishing the other days! 
I love fishing, really I do - deep water and fly - both float my boat. (well, maybe not fly fishing - little inside joke)
This next bit...right for one or two of you struggling with negativity about your writing and posting skills - DON’T - just have fun!
Imagine you’re sitting opposite a good buddy (or me!) talking about life, love and the universe, and all things in between - then post it! 
I’ll definitely be by to read it - because I am Following you!
Here’s my final Happy Thought…
I am going to challenge myself. (and feel free to join me)
I liked having some structure and direction, so to that end I have decided to make a posting pot!
In this posting pot I will put all the letters of the alphabet, pets I’ve had, men I’ve loved (and not), adventures with my daughter and any other thing that jumps to mind. 
Then...I will reach in and pull out a topic and write about it! 
See...I can think outside the box all by myself. 

What are you doing to challenge yourself?
Happy Thoughts to all of you!

Cheers, Jenny

Sunday, May 01, 2011

A-Z Challenge Aftermath and Interview

AHH…so this is what life looks like after the April A-Z Challenge!
Blue Sky
Delicate Floral Fragrances
Birds Chirping it Spring?
WOW! Where did the time go…

The following interview will summarize my experience with this writing challenge and the impact it has had on my existence.

HRH: So, Jenny...what made you want to enter a writing challenge in the first place?
JP: Well, ever the glutton for punishment I figured what the heck let’s see how much more I can pile on my already over burdened shoulders before I break.
HRH: Really, that’s a bit dramatic, don’t you think?
JP: Look who's talking about drama! But, generally speaking, it's how I do things. You’ve heard the saying, “If you want something done, give it to the busiest person.” Well, as busy as I was I just wanted to give this a try and see what happened.

Besides, I love being challenged. 
HRH: Well, I see from reading your posts, for this challenge, that you seemed to have a theme going on?
JP: Bright little light aren’t you?
I started off with every intention of enlightening my 55 Followers about my work world; but I soon realized even I didn’t find it that exciting and trying to fill twenty-six letters with my career would be a stretch at best, and torturous for my 55 loyal, devoted, amazing and awesome Followers.
HRH: You seem a bit stuck on the number of Followers you have.
JP: Look, you may not know this, being all cooped up in a castle and all, but Followers are the cornerstone that hold this whole blogging world together. So, yeah, I’m stoked that I’ve got 55 Followers. 
You know, when I started this A-Z Challenge on April 2nd, I had 26  Followers - yeah, that’s right 26, don’t look so stunned.
HRH: WOW! Gee...that’s pretty amazing. You’ve gained 29 new Followers...WOW!
JP: You’re not very good at this interviewing thing...haven’t you ever talked with someone that had fantastic stuff happen to them. Like, am I the first person you’ve ever interviewed?
HRH: Ah...well...kinda’...they don’t let me out much, you know, to mingle with the commoners, so it’s a little hard to know exactly what to talk about.
But, I think it’s really cool that you have doubled your Followers because of this challenge.
JP: It true, getting this kind of exposure with like minded bloggers, all wanting to be seen and read, is pretty gratifying. The folks that put this together are an impressive bunch as well. 
HRH: And who might these folks be?
JP: You're getting better at this, feeling more comfortable with the questions, eh? 
Here, I’ll give you the list of the hosts and maybe you can work it into your article.
Arlee Bird's Tossing It Out 
Jeffrey Beesler's World of the Scribe 
Alex J. Cavanaugh Alex J. Cavanaugh 
Jen Daiker's Unedited 
Candace Ganger's The Misadventures in Candyland 
Karen J Gowen Coming Down the Mountain 
Talli Roland Talli Roland 
Stephen Tremp's Breakthrough Blogs 
HRH: Pretty impressive list - I’ll have to check them out, during tea!
JP: You do that...and tell them Jenny sent you! Oh, and while you’re at it check out the very long list of excellent bloggers that entered this challenge.
HRH: Have you been to visit all of them?
JP: I’ve been too busy walking on water! What, do I look like a miracle worker to you? Really, give your head a shake there were over 1200 blogs on the list. 

Okay, okay...truth is I am making my way through the list and because I finish what I start I will get to all of them come hell or high water.
HRH: So, what do you think is next, now that this is over?
JP: You know that tall drink of water I was talking to you about, back in March...the one with that fast car? Well, I’m going to take him for a spin!
HRH: Be careful, there are lots of roadblocks out there and you may have to take a detour en route to where ever it is you are going.
JP: That’s half the fun, not knowing what’s around the next bend.
HRH: Thanks Jenny, for sharing your feelings with us about this challenge. Is there anything else you wish to say to the millions of readers that will see this article?
JP: If you already Follow - thanks. 
But, if you are one of the folks that leaves a COMMENT you are truly the icing on my cake! You are the SWEET stuff - the YUMMY part of this whole experience. 
You - dear commenter make this all worthwhile!
Cheers, Jenny