Sharing the Love – of Mothers and Sisters

Valentine’s Day focuses on expressing your love – greatly for romantic partners, but also for friends, family members and other loved ones in our life. Two of my anthologies share many stories by a diverse group of talented authors of the love for their sisters and mothers: In Celebration of Sisters, and In Celebration of Mothers.

To share the love, during the month of love, for the next ten days, you can purchase a set of both books directly from me and SAVE $10!

One of the essays included in In Celebration of Mothers, ‘OMG! I’m Becoming My Mother’, takes a humorous look at the things that pop out of my mouth as I get older. Originally published on Scary Mommy, it’s reprinted in this anthology. In In Celebration of Sisters, I highlighted some of our many differences in ‘Not Two Peas in a Pod.’

For a few chuckles to lighten your day, here is OMG! I’m Becoming My Mother!

OMG, I’m Becoming My Mother

Trisha Faye

I opened my mouth the other day, and my mother popped out.

This was not supposed to happen, ever—at least not when I am still this young.

My sister and I used to joke together, back in our younger days (like, in our 30s) about how our mother was turning into Grandma. We’d chuckle that self-righteous laugh, because we knew that was never going to happen to us.

But somewhere along the line, we grew older and slid into another decade. We didn’t recognize that fact, at least not out loud and not to one another. After all, those odd stray gray hairs appearing at the most inopportune moments can be covered up. That “middle-age stretch?” Well, that’s what blousy tops and jeans with spandex are for. We can still rock it with the best of them…mostly.

Then one afternoon, after a particularly aggravating argument with a teenager, my lips parted, and my mother came hopping out: “Jason Patrick Dean (name changed to protect the not-so-innocent), if all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?!”

Oh my God.

There are no appropriate words to describe the look on my face when I recognized the momentous event that had just happened. How many times had I heard this same exact phrase throughout my own teenage years? I called my sister to commiserate. “I know,” she said. “I’ve already heard Mom’s words come out of my mouth too.”

For the record, although she is several years younger than I am, my sister started her family earlier, so she was slightly ahead of me on this downward slide. “I was afraid to say anything. I hoped it wasn’t happening,” she said. As we started talking and comparing notes, we came to the conclusion that we’d been guilty of this for more years than we cared to admit.

“Don’t make me come in there!”

“Don’t use that tone with me.”

“It’s for your own good.”

“I know all. I have eyes in the back of my head.”

“As long as you live under my roof…”

“Close the door. Do you live in a barn?”

“Do as I say, not as I do.”

“Do you think money grows on trees?”

“Because I’m the mom.”

“Because I said so.”

The statements varied with the ages of the children. There were the standard responses we used on the younger ones, and then as their years advanced, we gradually slipped into the intermediate course of Mother Talk, rapidly earning credits that would have us graduating with honors.

The day when that first phrase leaps out and you recognize that it’s your mother talking instead of calm, rational, grown-up, independent you–I think that’s your graduation day, the day you take the mantel (whether you want it or not) and carry on down the road. That’s the day when you realize you’re on a long, slippery slope and you’re sliding down it much faster than you ever expected to.

Not that we’d ever wished to move on down this road. During our 20s and 30s, we thought we were immune to this syndrome. We were strong. We were invincible. We were our own women, not ones who would parrot our mother for the rest of our lives.

“I’m going to give you to the count of three.”

“I’ve had it up to here!”

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

The memories of words spoken long ago come drifting back through my memory. That’s when I realize I’ve been my mother all along. This change didn’t magically appear in my 40s. I’ve been her. I’ve just dressed her up in different clothes and makeup to disguise something I didn’t want to acknowledge.

“I’ll treat you like an adult when you become an adult.”

I guess I am now officially an adult.

I’m sorry, Mom. I’m sorry for all the times we laughed about how you were becoming more like Grandma Jones every day.

While we’re on the subject, I may as well apologize for all the times I talked back to you. For the times I didn’t clean my room—instead, I shoved everything under my bed. For the times I lied to you about where I’d been or what I’d done. For all the times I didn’t appreciate you or the sacrifices you made to give us what you could.

“If I told you once, I told you a thousand times…” Yes, you did probably tell us a thousand times, just as we’ve repeated to our own children.

I take a look in the mirror. A slight twist, a slight squint of the eyes. Yes, there she is—my mother. Maybe this growing older part isn’t all as bad as I’d thought.

***

Did you miss getting these books when they first came out? Here’s your chance to pick up a set of them – and Save $10! FOR TEN DAYS ONLY!

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Iona Mae Burk, the mother that inspired these words

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In Celebration of Sisters #sisters #newrelease

In the world of sisters, there are joys – there are frustrations. There are happy moments – there are moments that make you want to pull your hair out. We’ve got too many of them – we don’t have enough of them. Sisterhood is full of amazing and diverse moments. In Celebration of Sisters is a new anthology with stories and poems from over forty writers reflecting on the fascinating world of sisterhood.

To give you a taste of what’s included in In Celebration of Sisters, here’s my own story – Not Two Peas in a Pod. I’d love to share more with you, but we only purchased first, one-time rights from the other authors, so in fairness to them, I’m not free to share them here. Here’s a bit about my sister – the many differences between us, yet we find as we get older, we’re not all that different after all.

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Not Two Peas in a Pod

“You may be as different as the sun and the moon, but the same blood flows through both your hearts. You need her, as she needs you.”

George R.R. Martin

 As different as night and day.

Just like two peas in a pod.

Both are clichés, which writers are advised not to use. Yet, one of the phrases describes my sister and me perfectly. I’ll give you a hint—it’s not the one that references a green vegetable.

Our lives growing up were rife with differences.

I was fair. She was dark.

I was quiet. She was—not.

I liked dogs. She liked cats.

I was afraid to talk to boys. She always had a string of admirers.

I lived with my nose in a book and loved school. She was smart, but she found school, especially the tests, more of a challenge.

I was the older sister, but more timid in nature. She, the youngest of three, with a brother sandwiched between us, learned early on how to bat those eyes and quiver that lower lip to get her way.

I had one friend at a time. She had a neighborhood full of friends.

 

Healthy vegetables of a certain color are only one of many differences between the two of us. I could live on them, especially the green ones. My sis? Not even. As few veggies as possible pass her lips. She may have an occasional salad. Maybe. Sometimes a helping of corn. But if the doctor told her she couldn’t eat another vegetable again, she’d be ecstatic with his verdict.

My favorite long-ago story is from when she was a little tyke. She was very young and I was just three years older, so neither of us truly remember the incident. We only know the tale from the family stories that get repeated through the years.

In those days (not quite back to the dinosaur era, but our children may claim differently), children were expected to eat what was put in front of them. The story opens with Sue (Susie back then) sitting at the kitchen table having a stare down with a noxious green vegetable she refused to eat.

Dad insisted. “Eat your peas.”

She plainly stated her refusal. “I ‘frow up.”

Dad, in his fatherly authority, persisted. “You will not. You will eat them.”

Sue finally complied. And then, promptly stood up and did as she’d promised.

Our birthday parties differed vastly, too. My parties were smaller events, with only a few friends, but Sue’s parties were quite different. I recall one of her birthdays when she was in fifth or sixth grade. This is one that our mother likes to bring up, now and then, to tease Sue about. Picture a garage full of grade school children standing around, packed elbow to elbow. In trying to keep the party manageable, and keep expenses lower, Mom made ten invitations for Sue to pass out to friends.

That created a situation for the young socialite. She had more than ten friends. So even though her invitations ran out, she kept inviting friends anyway. Fortunately for Mom, Sue shared this news with her before the day of the party. I can guarantee she was batting those big brown eyes furiously while she shared her dilemma about why she had to keep inviting people.

More than once well-meaning, but nosey, acquaintances asked Mom if Sue was adopted. Mom had the stretch marks and labor memories to prove otherwise.

As we grew up, our relationship changed. Not immediately. Certainly not as I entered High School and she was still in Junior High.

One year during this period, we lived in Arkansas and shared a bedroom. I spent a lot of time reading. As I laid on my bed engrossed in my book, Sue laid on her bed, across the room, surrounded by a small army of stuffed animals. Bored, she launched one at me. Then another. And another. One at a time, she kept it up, enjoying every moment, relishing every fling of her ammunition. She laughed as she watched the steam build behind my ears until I got so angry I grabbed my book and stomped out of the room.

Time passed. We ended up with a common adversary. We were back in California, and our brother, Butch, decided that he was our boss. He vowed to protect us—especially from the young boys in the neighborhood that began to hang around. He spied on us from the upstairs balcony—when he wasn’t annoying us by walking by and mussing the top of our hair.

Sue and I banded together and started to grow closer. At least at home. Definitely not at High School, where I was an upperclassman, and she was just a young pup freshman.

We still had a lot of differences. I took all the Home Economics classes I could and loved every one of them. I learned to sew. Mom taught me how to knit and crochet. Meanwhile, Sue’s favorite method of hemming pants involved either a stapler or a roll of Scotch tape.

Gradually, year by year, we moved from a sister-only status to sisters and friends. Those differences between us seemed less important the older we got.

When Sue married and entered the motherhood game first, our roles flipped. She, now enjoying her moment in the older sister role, began to save toys and clothes from her two boys for my two younger ones.

Along the way, I became more confident and more social. Sue became—well, no, she didn’t become quieter. Never mind. I won’t go that far.

Once her children, now four in number, were older, she returned to school and got her college degree. She discovered she was smart. She could take tests and excel at school.

We’re still not two peas in a pod. But, through the years, we’ve discovered we truly are friends—not just sisters. We’ve learned that we do have one major thing in common. We share a heart. We come from the same roots, but we’re just two different plants growing in the same pot. We hold each other up, comfort and encourage each other, talk, and laugh. Together as sisters, we experience the trials and the joys of this earthly life together. I wouldn’t trade her in for all the gold on the planet.

Thank you for stopping by and reading this tale of two sisters. You can check out In Celebration of Sisters here:

Amazon Link for In Celebration of Sisters: https://www.amazon.com/dp/154828212X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1510619064&sr=8-1&keywords=In+Celebration+of+Sisters

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