Midlife Mothers

Up Close and Personal: The Joys of Turning 50 – The Colonoscopy

Melanie in the waiting roomI turned 50 this past December.  It was one of the best days of my life.  My husband and son showered me with love and affection.  I received phone calls from family and friends, and got lots of Facebook love.  Topping the evening off was dinner out with Tom and one of my BFFs, Peggy and her husband Jimmy.  It was definitely a day to remember.  Leading up to it I was excited, and also pensive.

If I’m lucky, I’ll have lived half or a little over half my life and at some point I’ll probably write about how I’d prefer to spend the next half.  On turning 50, one thing I knew for certain was that I’d hear from the AARP and I’d need to get a colonoscopy.

My husband had one a couple years ago and I knew what to expect.  Drinking lots of liquids and spending a lot of time in the bathroom.  Everyone says the preparation is the worst.  Well, I’m here to say it wasn’t so bad.

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Unconditional Love and Gratitude Make Mothering Oh, So Much Easier!

mother juggling2When I was a busy professional, juggling multiple responsibilities on top of keeping up with my friends, my boyfriends, my social gatherings and my travels, I remember thinking what a good multi-tasker I was, to somehow keep all of this in order.

Those are now the days I look back on with envy for having so much “me” time. The days where I could focus on balancing work with so many other enjoyable activities.  (You know what I am talking about here, right, Mothers?)

Yet, with this envy of my mostly unrestricted past, I would never substitute my life, now, as a single mother of five precious children (who I endearingly call, my “Tribe”).  First and foremost, I get to enjoy unconditional love on steroids here!  And so, with this impulse, I have so much more to share with the world than just my personal wants, needs and pleasures. [Read More…]

From Death to Life (A Mother’s Circle)

Laura Jane Murphy's ashes IIMy sister and I were recently able to return my precious mother’s ashes to her birthplace.

Honoring her life, we traveled back to her hometown. This little dot on the map, reminiscent of “Mayberry,” N.C , was established in the eighteenth century by her ancestors.

Mom died almost four years ago.  At the time of her passing, my sweet daughter was only ten.  Losing her grandmother led to a profound questioning of her own heritage. I will never forget the moment when she spilled her guts out in pain. Grief unleashed the deep sorrow of loss and awareness that she was not of my blood.

In that rare moment of emotional release, crying and in between gasp for air, she asked, “Why?  Why wasn’t I wanted?”  And, added the sentence, “You don’t know MY PAIN.”  [Read More…]

Who Teaches Us How to Love? Mom

i love mom IIWhen I was a child, I remember my mother getting on the floor and playing Barbies with my sister and me. I admired the way she colored in coloring books – outlining the drawing and lightly coloring the inside. I appreciated how she comforted me (and got angry in my defense) numerous times when I came home from elementary school, crying after being bullied.

I miss the way she rubbed my head as I laid on her lap, how she braided my hair at night and how small I felt when she gave me a big bear hug.

As humans, none of us are perfect but there’s something about mothers. As little kids, we fall in love with our mothers – they are our superwomen. There’s an element of our mothers that will always feel just right – perfect – for us. It resides at our core. [Read More…]

A Girl’s Best Friend(s)

friendsI was observing a group of college friends over lunch the other day and it brought me back to my own college days.

I adored my university experience; it is where I met my lifelines, my Rat Pack. Nine of us met freshman year and eventually all lived together, crammed into a five bedroom house on North Henry Street. We ruled the world back then with our Discmans and fake ID’s. We had youth and hairspray on our side. We were unstoppable.

We have experienced so much since those beer soaked days of college 20 years ago. We have rallied around each other through divorce, miscarriage, infertility, and aging. There have been cancer scares, pregnancy scares (back when all of us combined couldn’t have changed a diaper), and a million everyday dramas. [Read More…]

11 Days to a New Midlife Mother’s – Day (A Carol Sung to “The 12 Days of Christmas”)










On the 30th day of April, Another said to me, “Good for You!”

On the first day of May, Another said to me, “What were you thinking?”

On the second day of May, Another said to me, “Why would you do this?”

On the third day of May, Another said to me, “When will you retire?”

On the fourth day of May, Another said to me, “Are you the Grandma?”

On the fifth day of May, Another said to me, “You’re how old?”

On the sixth day of May, Another said to me, “You are pretty selfish!”

On the seventh day of May, Another said to me, “Is this your first marriage?”

On the eighth day of May, Another said to me, “How did you do this?”

On the ninth day of May, Another said to me, “Who is the father?”

On the tenth day of May, Another said to me, “A lot of people are doing this.”


Limbo! Limbo, Limbo

Carmel Harrington's kidsThis was the song I was rudely awoken to at 6.30 am this morning, folks. My 3 year old son, Nate, had crept into our bed, natch’, along with the complete cast of Toy Story.

Trying to hold my reluctant leg a few inches up off our bed, Nate had decided to fashion it into a limbo stick for Woody, Buzz, Jessie and Rex. They were having a right old time. Slinky was sitting this one out. Lucky Slinky.

A version of this happens every morning. Mr H and I have now become accustomed to Nate’s unique, loud and sometimes painful method of waking us up. Yesterday, there was no limbo dancing under covers, but there was a plastic truck being driven over my body, with Woody in the driving seat.

Alongside the ‘beep beeps, oh no, I’m stuck, quick lets go before the monster gets us,’ he told us both over and over, ‘I hungry. It’s morning time. GETUPPPPP mama and dada!’ [Read More…]

I Shout, Therefore I Am

Surviving life as a mother of a preteen girl is not for the faint of heart. Most days, I feel like a robot mechanically repeating the same tired phrases over and over, only to be met with dramatic sighs and eye rolls. These slogans feel like rites of passage every matriarch must pass down to her offspring, sure to be met with the same indifference as the generation before.

While it is frightening to watch how effortlessly my daughter tells me EXACTLY how she is feeling every second she feels it, it got me thinking. What if I was brave enough to say what I really mean? I decided to give it a shot. [Read More…]

Hormones, My Son, and Me

Jo-Ann Rogan and oldest sonThere are a ton of hormones swirling around in my house.  Suddenly what was once my tiny sweet smelling baby is now a 11-year-old young man with very decidedly offensive odors.  The changes are coming slowly.

He is still devoid of a manly voice and beard and although the changes are subtle, they are happening. I notice he is quicker to anger than he was a year ago.

He craves more independence and I find myself constantly pulling on the reigns of the boundaries I have created at home.

One of the biggest fights we struggle with is about him wanting to be out with friends after dark.  Although we live in a lovely neighborhood, we live in the city, and being a former wild child I know that nothing positive happens hanging out after dark as a preteen. [Read More…]

Phone Folly (Three Short Parenting-A-College-Kid Stories)

telephone#1 – A phone call in the middle of the night is never a good thing.  On a mid-September night, I fall into an easy sleep, secure in the thought that my daughter Catherine is settling into college life.   A rude ring rouses me.    Mother’s intuition, fueled by my overactive, overprotective gene, shoots into overdrive.   I brace for bad news as my husband, Mr. Don’t Worry Be Happy, picks up the phone.

DWBH: “Hey, Catherine, how ya doing?  Good.  Yeah Mom’s right here.”

It’s midnight. Where did she think I’d be? At the mall?  Out for cocktails? [Read More…]

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