Wednesday, April 9, 2008

It Takes a Lot of Mothers to Bring up a Girl


"Mommy, today I told Mrs. Kopico I wished she was my mommy."

I gazed at 5-year-old Flannery over the kitchen table where we sat munching on after-school popcorn. She might as well have taken my heart and thrown it bouncing against the tiles of the kitchen floor like her Silly Putty. I was doing my damndest not to burst into tears. This sending your firstborn off to school was no piece of cake.

"What did Mrs. Kopico say?"

"Well, what Mrs. Kopico said was, 'I don't know what to say.' I don't believe she knew what to say. I wonder why."

Oh, my innocent daughter. Her delivery was as calm as that of a scientist who's announcing the latest lab results are statistically insignificant. Mrs. Kopico didn't know what to say. She wasn't sure why.

Well, Mrs. K and I had one thing in common. I didn't know what the hell to say either. Three days of kindergarten, and I had been knocked right off the Number One pedestal: my daughter would like to trade in her 38-year-old mommy for her teacher, the bright and shiny new Mrs. K. I wasn't about to ask her why; somehow I knew I wouldn't be up for hearing the answer. In my mind I was conjuring the fairy tale Mrs. Kopico--soft-spoken, blond of course, porcelain skin, wry little smile. Meg Ryan with a dash of Cinderella.

I wanted to change the subject. Quick.

"You know I think I like Jollytime better than the Orville Redenbacher," was my desperate topic-changing ploy.

It worked.

"Me too. This Awful Red-Biker is kind of greasy."

Thank goodness Flannery hadn't realized her mother's heart had just careened wildly from the fridge to the breakfast bar. Clearly, her intention hadn't been to hurt.

Cabrillo School Open House was two nights away. I had 48 hours to imagine every quality that Mrs. Kopico had for every quality I lacked. Of course Mrs. Kopico would come from old money. The modesty of a school teacher's wages would in no way, darlings, hinder her fashion statement. There would be a huge, pretentious scarf worn in an artful arrangement over her romantically attired, rail-thin, fresh-out-of-teaching-school body. Little girls were suckers for this kind of flamboyant dress. Mrs. K's gentle laughter would peal like temple bells in little gales of hilarity at kindergarten humor. My stomach turned over in anticipation of meeting this tart.

Friday evening rolled around. I wrestled into my Lycra-enhanced, stomach-flattening taste-exuding black-dress-for-any-occasion. We'll show this floozy a fashion statement. Terrorized, I entered Room 5.

A 40-something, slightly plump, bespectacled woman in a rather ordinary corporate suit was striding towards me, her hand outstretched, her eyes sparkling with warmth. "Wow, you must be Flannery's mom! I have really been looking forward to meeting you. Your daughter is just amazing. You must be an amazing mother." OK, so she could use a little help with accesorizing, but I knew I was in the presence of a wizard of emotional intelligence. I basked in that presence despite myself.

Beginning that night, I too was falling for Mrs. Kopico's surprising charms. She was pretty amazing herself. Not a breathy-voiced Snow White impersonator or even a Vanna White imitator, she was a middle-aged CPA in a sensible gray suit. She'd put in fifteen years at the Nestle Corporation, never had children of her own, and at the age of 40 decided she was ready to relinquish her life in feasibility studies and come back as a kindergarten teacher. Spreadsheets to finger paints. Profit projections to playground duty.

"Did you just not like accounting?" I asked her several months later at a parent-teacher conference.

"Oh, I LOVED it. I just knew there was more to me."

Indeed there was. And there was more to my little girl than perhaps even I'd realized. Mrs. K was bringing all of that out. Flannery had a knack for negotiating little disagreements between classmates. When she helped mediate one of these crises, Mrs. Kopico would issue a Positive Power slip. Every Friday Flannery could turn these in for bags of fresh-popped popcorn. My daughter was learning about earning and her mentor was a CPA who could show her a new angle, one I didn't quite have in my arsenal of mothering tricks. Oh what a relief--I wasn't on my own after all!

Mrs. K was the first of many mentor/mothers who have entered Flan's life with beautiful frequency. They have each shouldered some of the work of bringing my daughter up to be the confident, responsible, multi-talented young woman she is today. There have been physics teachers and journalism mentors and RA supervisors and ministers and research directors and recovery center bosses. Sometimes along the way, I have been able to relax and close my eyes and let those outstanding in their chosen fields work their magic:

Today a very important new "mother" is entering my daughter's life. One Pilar Sanjuan, PhD, her new boss. This is a Significant Day for my little girl. Today she starts her first official, thoroughly grown-up job. The kind that requires a college degree. The kind that requires intelligence and independence and a diversity of skills. This is the job description:

A research associate position is currently available to work with Dr. Pilar Sanjuan of the MIND Institute on research in post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction. In this position, primary responsibilities will include coordinating the daily activities for these studies, such as coordinating recruitment and assessment of veterans, conducting face-to-face clinical assessments and experimental tests, managing and analyzing experimental data. This is an excellent opportunity for highly motivated individuals who are seeking to go on to graduate or medical school. Qualified hires will receive training in addictions and PTSD research with veterans, genomic data collection, and brain imaging data collection and analyses. Applicants must have bachelor's degree (or be expected to have completed a BA by June 2008) and excellent interpersonal skills. All candidates should possess strong interest, and preferably experience, in conducting PTSD, addiction, and/or neuroscientific/ neuroimaging research.

That would be my baby. My baby, who worked graveyard shifts at a recovery center the summer after her freshman year. My baby, who is currently conducting her own undergraduate research project on mental practice in the UNM psychology department. My baby, who will be accepting an Alumni Association Citizenship Award tomorrow night. My baby who is building one helluva medical school resume. Flannery, who ran her first half-marathon a couple of months ago, as though we didn't already know she's in it for the distance. That sparkling woman has come a long, long way since that kindergarten afternoon.

I too have come a long way. I look back at that afternoon and I now know that Flannery wasn't looking to replace me with Mrs. K. She was acknowledging in her five-year-old, emotionally precocious manner, that other women were entering her life, women who had certain things to offer. I am 100% secure in my status as Flannery's much-loved mother. I bask in that status and in that formidable love. But today I am having glowing thoughts of all the other "mothers," some of them male even (and certainly not excluding her incredible father), who have polished the varied, beautifully complicated facets of this young woman I am so proud to call my daughter. Thanks to these many mothers, for Flannery, life seems to come as easy as pie.

132 comments:

Mima said...

San, what a beautiful post, you have every reason to be proud of Flannery, not just for everything she has achieved, but also because she sounds like a wonderful, well-rounded and sensible girl who has steely determination. It sounds as if she has a wonderful life ahead of her.

If she was writing this she would not only be thanking her mother figures, but also her Mom, who has been there all the way through and shown her how to bring out the qualities in herself that have lead to where she is today, and has always been there as a shoulder to cry on, and to jump with joy in celebration with her. She is very lucky to have you.

lime said...

you know, i can remember sending my oldest off to kindergarten and watching her disappear into the building with 'another woman.' i can remember thinking, there are other people who will influence her now. i too have been so grateful for the good ones who have helped shape her.

flannery sounds like an amazing young woman, due in no small part to your mothering but how wonderful too that you recognize so gratefully the others who have helped mold her. congratulations to flannery! and thank you, san for a reminder as i come up with mine behind you.

San said...

Oh Mima, I am basking in the sweetness of your comment. You know all about family ties and how important they are, don't you?

San said...

Lime, it's an adventure raising children, trying to balance the letting go with the holding on.

Thank you for sharing your own experiences. That's special.

andrea said...

Beautifully written and a testament to a job well done. A great relationship with your mother is the jumping off point for so many more satisfying female relationships. You done good. Interestingly, this post is the best thing I've read for helping me understand my edginess around women and my joy/relief that I had boys rather than girls -- and my unexpressed feeling that I've missed out on something important. Thank you for that.

John-Michael said...

My Darling Friend, please forgive this intrusion … but knowing your compassionate Heart, I am compelled to send this to you. Please read it, and follow your Heart’s leading. I have unwavering trust in that. I Love You, Your Servant, John-Michael

Oh my darlings, you sure know how to make a girl cry. I have just come home briefly to check in, there are too many messages to answer but I appreciate each and everyone one of then so very much.

Unfortunately, I have been given a bit of a bum steer in terms of Jack being able to stay in Hospice with me. That is actually not the case, apart from a night here and there, so the woman that told me it was possible has really got a lot to answer for as I pinned all my hopes on this. Anyway, Jacks Dad came down and can stay at my place this week at least but that's it. After that who knows and yet they are saying I need to be in Hospice for a lot longer yet.

The pain last night, defied description I have never felt such pain in my life including child birth, I was a sobbing mess, eventually they had to knock me out and I finally got some rest. Anyway they are comparing scans and trying very hard to work out what is best to do. I know I desperately need chemo, the longer I go without it, the bigger the tumour is growing and pressing further on the nerves. So now not only do I have megga pain that is not responding to treatment, I have a child not welcome at Hospice and my life is completely screwed.

I spent the night in tears and most of the day too, I don't have think I have any left but who knows, I will let you know how tonight goes. I am a broken woman.

There is talk about Jack having to move up with David to Warragul and change schools and everything. I said NO WAY I am not giving him up when I am not ready to die and I am not giving him up twice. I will work something out. There is no way he needs to go to another school, he needs the security of his local school here and his friends and having close contact with me.

Anyway my friends, it is a lot to contemplate tonight, I will do my best and I will not be letting my son go away from me no matter what. Please keep praying and sending me your love and care, I need you all so desperately right now. I hate to have to go, but I must leave now to go back to Hospice as they need to medicate me there, it is too dangerous to be on the medication I need to be on at home.

I will be thinking of you and I will post again either tomorrow or the next day, I promise.

Love to you all, my heart is full of you love and hugs to each and every one of you. Xxxx

posted by Jen Ballantyne at 18:40 on 9/04/2008

Sparkling Red said...

I am busting my buttons with pride for you and your daughter!

San said...

Andrea, I am touched by what you have to say here. HUG. I'll bet your boys are incredible too.

San said...

John-Michael, thank you for forwarding Jen's post. I went over to her place and left a feeble comment. She will be in my prayers.

San said...

Spark, that's just like you! Thanks.

WILSONART said...

Fabulous post, fabulous news,,fabulous daughter San!
What would we do without our girls? (mine's name is Meredith, by the way)
:-)

And,,,,if or when Flannery's life road encounters a bump or two, you also can bask in the knowledge that she is equipped to handle any obstacles. What more could we ask! Well done, my Lady,,,well done!

Akelamalu said...

What a lovely post. You must be so proud of your daughter. So many people influence our children's lives, thankfully most of them good. I'm sure you have been the most influencial of all.:)

Kim said...

Once again, San, you bring tears to my eyes! I know all of those worries you experienced. My guess is our girls are about the same age, so I do so very much get it. All of those experiences have been given to us so we may become stronger and supportive of these beautiful young women! You have clearly learned how to be strong for her along the way. Once a very wise Asian woman told me she could always tell the kind of mother a person had by just looking at them. I believe she is right...it clearly took an incredible mother to have such an incredible daughter!

As Babs says..."what would we do without our girls?" (and mine's name is Elizabeth) :)

Thank you San!

Shrinky said...

Oh san, written with such wisdom and love - yes, no child is raised in isolation, we are all products of the (often accidental) people who have moulded us along the way - be it for the better or for the worse.

Flannery is flying, she is a wonderful reflection of the positive influences and caring guides you have allowed in to her life, nuturing her as she grew to be the strong independant woman she has now become.

david mcmahon said...

As a parent, I hear you loud and clear. But I share your attitude of giving thanks for mentors in our childrens' lives.

Maybe that's why the acknowledgement page of my first novel lists the teachers who were special to me.

I sent the first copy of my book to my grade five teacher .... as a heartfelt thank you.

San said...

Thank you, Babs. What would we do without these wonderful girls indeed?

I'll bet your Meredith is a wonder.

San said...

Akelamalu, thank you for your honoring words.

San said...

Yes, Kim, Flan and Elizabeth must be about the same age. Made in the Eighties. ;-)

I am so glad you got what I was trying to express here. Thank you.

San said...

Shrinky, that's what she's doing. My nestling has taken flight!

Thank you for your celebratory words.

San said...

David, no doubt your fifth-grade teacher treasures your book. It's something she can hold in her hands on a day she's feeling uncertain, a reminder that she's done a lot.

Indigo said...

It sounds like you've got a wonderful daughter and that she has a great teacher. I'm happy for you!

Oh... and thanks for visiting my blog today. It probably will make more sense once you know that Indigo, Thistle, Halo, Ashen, and Willow all occupy the same physical body as alters in a dissociative system.

Thanks again! :)

San said...

Thank you, Indi. I appreciate your positive support!

Wishing you unity...

murat11 said...

I love the pictures, and what a great tribute to all you wonderful mothers (smart woman that you are, you pay tribute to those male mothers of us out there, too). Beautiful storytelling and what an elfin finish with the final line and pic.

Totally relate to your Silly Putty heart, and your discoveries that came through surrender and trust. Way back in the past century, I spent four years as a stepfather to a young girl—we had a wonderful relationship, but I constantly struggled with the reality that, regardless of how strong our relationship was, I was not her father. Though I knew how to play the blended family game, inside I was a wreck, somehow wanting to claim “most important” father figure as “my” title. Plenty of crazy dynamics riding that hobbyhorse, of course: my own fatherlessness, my own stepchildhood, my own struggle to find my way at the tender age of 24. Then one summer, I was down in Corpus Christi to pick up Toni from a summer with her dad. She was in his apartment getting ready with her mom and new stepmom, and her dad and I were out on the landing just making small talk about the summer’s activities, and suddenly grace fell: I experienced the deep deep need for her to be able to claim this man as rightfully hers, rightfully her father, and all that jealousy and hoo-haw just fell clean away. All of which, of course, just strengthened our relationship all the more—without the chafing of the invisible bridle bit.

We passed out of each other’s lives for 17 years, but since Tina and I have been together, Toni and I have found each other again: 33 years old and living in Phoenix.

Lee said...

Fantastic post, San! And a fantastic daughter!

Congratulations Flannery! May your first job carry you to wondrous places and give you amazing experiences and fantastic skills.

Hope! & Joy!

CrazyCath said...

Oh San what a beautiful post! You had me catching my breath at the start with pain for you - a pain all mothers know - and then gradually, slowly realising that of course your baby is grown. How proud you must be. What a testament you write to your daughter and all the people in her life who have shaped her.

But the most significant person who has done that is YOU San, you who stepped back and allowed her the freedom to discover who she is, to gain the guidance she needed from whoever she needed it from. That takes courage, love and understanding.

You are one amazing mother! One amazing woman.

Rhea said...

Ok, you totally suck! (and I mean that in a nice way!)That has to be the sweetest, most wonderful post I've ever read. You'd better get her to read it. I need to go call my mommy now and hug my children. That was great!

Sandi McBride said...

Well done, San...you and the entire squad of people who directed, molded, sanded and painted an absolutely beautiful child into this exquisitely divine young woman...but I still believe that 98 percent of the work was yours
Sandi

Momma said...

Oh, this is an absolutely wonderful post. You should be David's post of the day!

I fully agree that it takes a village, so to speak, but the way you wrote this made that go from a trite cliche to a fully-actualized concept. You are one lucky mother, and she is one lucky daughter. What a gift you gave to the world!

Peace - D

Carol said...

A sweet post, San!

I think that it's great that your daughter will be working with veterans, PTSD, and addiction. What a great service!

Thanks for sharing the photos and the story. Your daughter, like you, is making the world a better place.

GPS said...

Hello. This post is likeable, and your blog is very interesting, congratulations :-). I will add in my blogroll =). If possible gives a last there on my blog, it is about the GPS, I hope you enjoy. The address is http://gps-brasil.blogspot.com. A hug.

DVD e CD said...

Hello. This post is likeable, and your blog is very interesting, congratulations :-). I will add in my blogroll =). If possible gives a last there on my blog, it is about the DVD e CD, I hope you enjoy. The address is http://dvd-e-cd.blogspot.com. A hug.

Maggie May said...

San ..... That was a really beautiful post. nearly had me in tears! I went through that pain at the beginning & it stabbed at my heart too! Just the beginning of many little hurts ........ but it all comes out well in the end. Well done!

HMBT said...

Wonderful wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing. Your family is amazing too. :)

Bruno LoGreco said...

That's an incredible post San. Thank you for sharing. I bet there were some really mixed emotions the first day you met Mrs. K. - It's an amazing feeling when we can get let our insecurities go.

San said...

Thanks, Paschal, for sharing your own silly-putty-heart experience with Toni. Clearly, it's something you're reflected on deeply and how wonderful that you and she are connected again.

As to the "male" mothers, yes, probably Flan's most powerful, supportive mentor in her undergraduate career has been a male. He has supervised her work in the cognition lab and now he's supervising her independent research in mental practice and he nominated her for Outstanding Senior, etc. etc. He was the one who informed her about this new job possibility. A door-opener and abiding well-wisher! As I know YOU are for your own fortunate students. You're helping them unlock the doors to their imaginations, their sense of what's possible.

I call that "mothering" of the highest order.

San said...

Hope and joy right back at ya, Lee!

Flannery and I deeply appreciate your abiding well-wishing.

Daphne said...

OH San what a lovely post.

My son is five and I am thirty-eight so we share the same ages as you and Flannery in your story.

And if I lived near you I would be happy for you to be one of Caleb's mothers. I can only imagine the wonderful things that would come out of that relationship.

I woke up one night when I was in grade one calling my teacher "Mommy-Michaelchuck" instead of
"Mrs Michaelchucck". I suppose that was the beginning of my mother figures...

San said...

Cath, you understand these things. I appreciate your reading so deeply.

You're an amazing one.

San said...

Rhea, what a sublime compliment you've left on my doorstep. I love waking up to that!

Thank you so much.

San said...

Sandi, "squad" is the perfect word to use here. And as much as I'd love to take 98% credit, I'll have to share that with my partner in crime, Bennie. He was right there in the squad car with me. We worked the graveyards together.

BIG HUG to you.

San said...

Momma, thank you! Lee emailed me that the post did acquire that honor from David. I'm on my old laptop at home and his complicated site won't load on this machine, so I can't see for myself. Curses.

Peace to you, and have a beautiful day.

San said...

Carol, Flannery's goal is to work in the field of integrated medicine with underserved populations. This experience will be invaluable to her.

Last night we talked on the phone. She loves her new workplace. Apparently, they're a very positive team. She is most deserving. She's paid her dues.

San said...

GPS, a very warm hug to you too. Now go jump in the lake and take that cohort of yours along for the ride.

San said...

Oh Maggie May, thanks for reading this with your heart. I am happy to report that the incident with Flan's teacher wasn't really the first of many little hurts but the first of many little triumphs, leading to bigger ones. Growth can hurt a little at first, but you're right, it all comes out well in the end.

San said...

Heather, thank you, as ever, for your warm words.

San said...

You're so right, Bruno. Letting go of the insecurity lightens the load considerably. Much easier on the back.

San said...

Daphne, I would be overjoyed to be one of beautiful Caleb's mother figures. Ever think about moving to Santa Fe?

Mommy-Michaelchuck, that has a nice ring at that.

Thank you for your endearing commentary. Joy to you!

self taught artist said...

i dont normally do this but i've given you an award

kate smudges said...

I loved reading this post. How inspiring it was. There have been many wonderful women who have been influential in your daughter's life, none more so than her beautiful mum.

All the best to Flannery as she begins her new work!

the mother of this lot said...

There is no cut quite as deep as the one when your little girl 'falls in love' with her first teacher!

San said...

Paula, that is one cool award but not half as cool as the donor. Thank you!

San said...

Kate, Flannery and I thank you much!

San said...

The Mother of This Lot, yours sounds like the voice of experience!

Angel... said...

San, what a lovely post. you must be proud of your daughter. Your family is wonderful.

Thanks for sharing honey.. I love seeing all pictures of your family

thank you

Jeanne said...

OMG what an amazing post. Tore at the heart of this mom. You must be bust your buttons proud of your girl. {{HUGS}}

wbtt said...

We have, in fact, raised an amazing daughter, though I will admit your relationship with Flan is deep and on a different level than mine. Just as it should be. I'm convinced your sensitivity to her needs and understanding of the person she is, is what has been most postively influential in her life. You've taken that perspective and gently guided your first born. But I've also seen you be assertive and strong when it was required. And all this guidence occurred with a regular outpouring of love--because of love. Yes, Flannery is a great joy in our lives, we are so proud of the young woman she has become. And I'm equally proud of you.
We have this great daughter because we trusted in her judgment early on and because we loved her unconditionally. And because we have always loved each other, through rough times and good. Yes, it is the journey, and the company we keep.

VP said...

Loved your post San. I found it courtesy of David Mcmahon - well worth the award :)

John-Michael said...

This took me three attempts at completing my reading of it. So rich in style, heart, and content that my emotionally drained (this has been one of 'those' weeks)Being was in tears from nearly the beginning of each of my attempts to read all of this wondrous tribute to Love, embracing, celebration, and rejoicing. Your artistic "gentle laughter would peal like temple bells in little gales of hilarity" stopped me in my tracks with admiration and enjoyment. San, my Dear Friend, you are simply amazing ... and I love You!

Old Wom Tigley said...

Thank you for the visit and the comment. It was great to get a mention off David, and after looking around here and reading this very touching post it is I who is honoured to be sharing Post of the day with you... or any mother... Mothers Love holds no bounds...
Thanks again
Tom

LZ Blogger said...

San ~ What an extremely cute and absolutely heartwarming story! I hope that at Mrs. K's retirement (some day), that your Flannery will be there with one of those "Hallmark" Teacher Retirement cards for her.

PRETTY GOOD JOB you did there yourself MOM! ~ jb///

CrazyCath said...

Hi San - you are not the only one who can give out the appreciation! There's an award for you at my place. Pop over and pick it up.

Ms. Creek said...

Jeez, you have a lot of people that post comments on your blog! you write so well!

i just wanted to go back in time and whisper in your ear, "That doesn't mean she didn't want you as her mother, anymore!"

Lynette said...

Omigosh, what an absolutley wonderful post San and true words of wisdom. I can imagine how you felt that day when she said that! I bet you are an amazing Mom and I know you are so pround of Flannery!! She must love and cherish her one and only true Mom!!

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

This is a wonderful post of celebration, San. Thank you for your words.

Calamity Jane said...

Oh that was wonderful. It brought a smile to my face and a glow in my heart. What an accomplished young woman your Flan is. Good job San.

SandyCarlson said...

That is one amazing, heart-wrenching, powerful post that speaks of you as a mother and a friend and a darn good, kind person. You made my morning. Thank you.

San said...

Angel, I always enjoy your visits. Thank you.

San said...

Jeanne, I appreciate the hug so much.

And here's one for you:

(( )) !!!

San said...

Wild Bill, partner in this wild life, thank you for writing those words to me.

As we sat last night at the awards ceremony alongside Flan and Oaks, I was so proud of both of our children, and I kept thinking how blessed I am to be accompanied by a mate who does more than show up for awards ceremonies. You have been there when the times felt less rewarding. And yes, that constance is reward in itself.

I LOVE YOU!

San said...

Thanks to you, VP, for coming over and leaving such a kind comment. Please visit again.

San said...

Well, John-Michael, I have had to read and re-read and re-read your glowing comment. First, I am sorry that you are having one of "those" weeks, but knowing that you are makes the fact that you invested energy in reading this post all the more special. Thank you!

And I am heartened by your singling out a passage for praise. You were reading very closely, and I am touched.

Much love to you, man.

San said...

Thanks much, Tom, for returning the visit. I hope your presence won't be scarce here in the future.

San said...

Cath, I've now ventured over to your place and cannot wait to have my lovely award ensconced on my blog.

You sweetheart you!

xoxoxo

San said...

Oh, Ellie, how I wish you could have moved through time and space just to whisper those words. But I am happy to hear them now, especially coming from a schoolteacher whose students must adore her.

Thanks, babe.

San said...

Lynette, OMG, what a glowing comment. THANK YOU!

San said...

And thank you, Nick, for your acknowledgement.

Hello to Alex.

San said...

Jane, I always love a visit from you. Thank you!

Give my best to Captain Scarlet.

San said...

Sandy, I'm reading your comment the morning after you wrote it. So I will echo what you said: you've made MY morning.

San said...

JB, how could I miss your comment? I thought I was posting responses in the proper sequence. Don't report me to the Blogger authorities. That kind of thing can follow you around on your "permanent record."

Your idea for the Hallmark presentation is priceless. I'm already picturing a middle-aged Flan, card in hand, approaching a doddering Mrs. Kopico. Mrs. K stares at her over her glasses. "Do I know you?"

Angel... said...

San,

I just stopped by again to see your family pictures again..I love seeing it

Very nice

jennifer h said...

Flannery is lucky to have you, and all the women who helped to shape her. This was beautiful, and beautifully written.

b2 said...

I fell in love with Flan's luminous spirit the very first time I met her. She had it as a babe in arms, and she still does. She's bright and kind and good and loving. Your nurturing has given her the strength, the roots she needs to fly. You are both wondrous women, and knowing you is a blessing for which I am most grateful. xoxo

Velvet Ginger (Rubye Jean) said...

You certainly have much to be proud of, and you WILL have lovely grandchildren someday! You have a beautiful daughter...a touching story...and I like you much better than any fairytail characture you could describe!

whimsical brainpan said...

Wow! That is quite a daughter you raised there. I know you said you had help but you were her foundation.

I wish her luck in her new job (but somehow I don't think she'll need it :)).

This was a beautiful post San.

jsd said...

how awesome for Flannery - way too cool, and wow is she an accomplished individual already.

Your story made me think of when my children first came to the wife and I, becoming instant parents to two scared and beautiful children...we worried about them bonding to us, and learning that it was ok for them to bond with their daycare provider too...oh those ties that bind are mysterious indeed.

San said...

Thanks for popping in, Angel.

San said...

Jennifer, thank you. I am lucky to have met you here in blogland.

San said...

b2, one of my biggest blessings is your friendship. And to think it all got started in Intermediate Intensive Spanish, when we were the age that Flan is now!

San said...

Ruby Jeane, you have made my morning! You like me better than a fairytale character! You are sweeter than Cinderella, milady.

San said...

Whim, Flan ALWAYS appreciates good-luck-wishers. Thank you!

San said...

JS, yes, those circumstances would add yet another layer of uncertainty for you and your wife. I can see that. And look at you several years later--a family that rolls together, up and down, on the beautiful arc of your life.

And thank you for applauding Flan.

Flannery said...

Wow, I don't really know what to say. Thank you and I love you. This is beautiful. It makes me sad to know that I can never express how much I love you and Dad in words, and can never tell you how much you have done for me. But perhaps that fact brings me great joy as well.

San said...

Flan-O, your life says it all. You say it every minute by being you.

XOXOXO

Indigo said...

Indigo Incarnates.

Hi San! I'm just dropping by to wish you a nice weekend. It's been good in Indigoland -- I did 9 miles of exercise today and burned 1,100 calories! Yay! :)

San said...

Indi, 9 miles! That's great. I sometimes walk 5 miles in the early morning. Today we woke up to 2 inches of snow, and I didn't get out. I'm ready for spring to take hold for good.

Celebration of Life said...

What a wonderful story of a beautiful daughter, an amazing mother-daughter relationship and a mother who loved her daughter enough to let her grow! You are a rare and precious jewel, San!
Jo

The Moody Minstrel said...

An excellent read, as always. If my daughter had said something like that to my wife, she probably would have gone ballistic! As it was, my wife still doesn't seem to have totally forgiven my daughter for the time that she said she preferred her grandparents to us (because they let her do whatever she wanted). Of course, my daughter was only four at the time, and is nearly twelve now, so I don't know why my wife won't just get over it.

Jealousy can be such an unproductive thing.

Stinking Billy said...

No wonder you have almost 100 comments on this post. You are an excellent writer and possibly the best I have ever come across. Just love your style, rhythm and SOH, and I'll be back.

Swearing Mother said...

You are so right San, it does hurt when your child says they'd like another certain person to be their Mum, even though they mean in addition to, not instead of. Actually, I think it's the ultimate compliment to you because that's the highest honour any child can pay to someone. It's not until they get their own kids that they realise that Mums don't want to share that particular honour with anyone else!

Ah bless.

CrazyCath said...

Woo hoo! Iam comment number 100!

Do I get a prize? No? Ah well.

You're tagged lady. Come see!

San said...

Jo! You must be back from Utah. Back from visiting the newly arrived "rare and precious jewel." I cannot wait to hear all about Brooklyn.

San said...

Moody, my heart goes out to your wife. Grandparent dynamics can be weird indeed.

And thanks for complimenting the post, man.

San said...

Billy, you sure dispense some sweet words for one with such a stinking moniker.

THANK YOU. (Check's in the mail.)

San said...

Blessings back at ya, Swearing Mom. You know just what I'm talking about.

San said...

Cath, you deserve a prize of some sort to be sure. I will have to dream up something special.

Tagged? Who? Me?

Meg Wolff said...

San,
Enjoyed this post. Liked the line,

"She might as well have taken my heart and thrown it bouncing against the tiles of the kitchen floor like her Silly Putty."

Nice that she felt confident to share this with you! I too felt that the more people around to love my children, the better.

I bet Flannery's friends said similar things to their mothers about you?

Angel... said...

Hey I am 107.....can i get a prize ahhaha

Indigo said...

halo incarnates

we did not get any sleep. racing thoughts. tired. did not sleep. sad. we did not cut. we did not hurt the body. we did not hurt ourselves.

San said...

Indi, sorry to hear you didn't sleep. Hope you rest better.

San said...

Angel: Why not?

:-)

San said...

Meg, let me take that sentiment a step further: did your own progeny's friends say such about you??

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

Yor dorter an yu both sownd wunderful an I'd like to com over an giv yu both a big hed hug.

An then, can i hav sum ov that pie?

;@}

Daryl E said...

Oh San .. what a fabulous post... I dont care how many other inspirations Flan has had .. its clear to me you deserve to take a bow! Brava to both you & Flan .. totwo amazing women!

Indigo said...

Indigo Incarnates.

We're feeling better today. I got some sleep and thistle got to fly today.

San said...

Indi, it's always interesting to get an update from Indigo Central.

San said...

Bob, come on over any time. We will exchange hugs for pie.

;-D

San said...

Daryl, you must be back from San Francisco. I want to hear all about it.

Celebration of Life said...

Good morning San!
The coffee sure tastes good this morning! It amazes me that you take the time to answer everyone's messages! It got up to 60 degrees here yesterday but we have another snowstorm moving in. Spring is just teasing me! Have a marvelous day!
Jo

San said...

Good morning, Jo! I just poured my cup of French roast and was thinking the same thing.

A couple of days ago we awoke to two inches of snow, but it melted within hours. This morning the birds are singing and I'm hoping for a sunny, mild day, although so far it's overcast. I've been home for a few days painting--no update to the blog, but I have fun answering the comments. Keeps me out of jail while I'm waiting for layers to dry.

Cheers. (Lifting my coffee mug.)

Celebration of Life said...

It was a beautiful sunrise this morning San. You give me inspiration to get my easel out again but I am still working on this baby quilt! One day, I will surprise you and produce a work of art! (well for me anyway) lol

Peter said...

Hi and congratulations to you and your daughter. Having three fully grown children of my own (alas no daughters), who have also done very well, I can understand how proud you are of your daughter. I look forward to further news of her great work.

Take Care,
Peter

david mcmahon said...

Great to see so many comments on a wonderful blog, San.

Patty said...

San, you have written a very touching testament of the love between a mother and daughter. Flannery sounds like an amazing young woman. I know how proud you must be of her. And, likewise, how proud she is of her Mother. Well done...my friend.

Cestandrea said...

Hi San, a wonderful post, and you must be so proud. I like the way your story explains the headline:) so touching.
Good luck to your daughter in her new job, and you all look wonderful:)
andrea

The Wisdom of Wislon said...

Great pics, children are amusing huh? x

Velvet Ginger (Rubye Jean) said...

San, I just stopped to say "hello".
The most important & strongest influence on a child is whether positive or negative is the "same sex parent", so you have nothing to worry about re: your Flannery!
Have a wonderful day!

Barbara J. Gill said...

Oh that they grow up. Lovely sharings. And yes, it takes a lot of mothers. We spoke of that in a circle this winter. A small circle. Barbara

Meg Wolff said...

Hi San,

Today is my blog birthday … I invite you for cake (or a look at a cake)!

I’ve listed your blog as on of my favorites this year and I’m adding you to my new blog roll side bar.

Cheers!

Indigo said...

Hi! This is Indigo! :)
I'm just dropping by to wish you a nice weekend. have fun!

Celebration of Life said...

Hello San! It's a beautiful blue sky day in Wyoming today! You must be busy creating another masterpiece! Please have a wonderful weekend.
Jo

jameil1922 said...

awwwwwww!!!!!!! my mother likes to hide her feelings. i would love to see her glow like this about me. i have to catch it in driblets since emoting is not one of her strong suits. i try to make up for it for her. :)

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

Me agen!
Just to let yu kno that the Sunflower Race has startid over heer! COme see our video! Wa-hey!

:@D