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The latest in Regge's series of Endless Mountains ghost stories is available on Amazon:

The Boy in the Toy Room: An Endless Mountains Ghost Story

Nora is haunted. She's haunted by the past, haunted by the future, and haunted by the boy in the toy room. Wanting desperately to fall back in love with her husband, Nora moves back to the country to work on building their dream home. Building dreams isn't easy, though: she'll have to fend off a drunken ex, contend with an interfering mother-in-law, and try to keep a battered rental house from falling down around her.

Meanwhile, someone has been breaking into the house, and her daughter's imaginary friend, the boy in the toy room, seems to be trying to burn the place down. While the men around her rage and bluster, it's Nora's job to hold things together and keep her daughter safe, whatever the cost. 

 

And don't forget Waking Up Dead: An Endless Mountains Ghost Story

If Deidra Shay had known she was dead, she might have made other choices -- but she didn't. When her best friend, Jesse, finds her body and is pulled away screaming and crying, Deidra follows her home and all hell breaks loose! Friends and family are pulled into a maze of love and sex, revenge and redemption as Jesse and Deidra struggle to figure out how to go on living after waking up dead. 

This is romance, a testimony to friendship, and one answer to what life might be like beyond the grave for both the person moving on and the people left behind.

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Sunday
May112014

I Wish I'd Been a Better Mother

"I wish I'd been a better mother. I wish I'd been as good a mother as I was a grandmother." Those were some of the last words my own mother said to me. "Can you ever forgive me?" she asked. I wonder if every mother feels like that? Like there are regrets, words they would like to take back, decisions they would make differently in retrospect, now that it's too late to be "better."

We don't get a second chance at parenting. Maybe that's one of the reasons being a grandmother is so special. We get that second chance, and most of us are better at it than the first time around. We have all those regrets to inform us and it makes us kinder, more patient, more willing to listen and hear what a child has to say. 

But back to the subject of getting it right. It isn't as if there is one way that is right for every child. Just when you think you've got something figured out, a second child comes along and they have different needs and different opinions and different ways of reacting to any situation. You've just gotten the "puppy power" game perfected that laughs your son into picking up his toys and along comes a child who doesn't want to play that game; a child who wants nothing more than to be next to you and work if you do and not do anything independently. You have a child who reads Though the Looking Glass on his own before kindergarten, and another who refuses to read at all, even though they know all the words, because they want you to continue reading to them. One isolates, one throws temper tantrums; one won't lie no matter how dire the misdeed, one lies about anything and everything just for the fun of it. My son was a monster until he went to school, my daughter was perfect until she went to school. 

And those stereotypes! They didn't fit. Girls do like to get covered in mud from head to toe, play with trucks, have sword fights, eat dog food. Boys do like poetry and music, dressing up, and bright colors. Now the grandchildren come along and suddenly the stereotypes fit like a glove. How is a mother to know these things before they jump up and hit you in the face?

And all those mistakes. I have the most wonderful adult children anyone could ask for, and sometimes, often actually, I wonder how I got them. There were temper tantrums of my own; days when I just wanted to run away; times when my anger at their father spilled out onto my kids; times when I called sisters, neighbors, my own mother, anyone for help because I was afraid of my own anger and frustration. And always, even at the moment, there was self-loathing because I was doing it wrong and I knew I was doing it wrong and I couldn't stop myself. 

I wish I could say I shielded my children from the adult problems, but I didn't. They heard fights. They were told about financial difficulties. They were moved from place to place as their parents, first together and then apart, sought opportunities and new beginnings. As children they were told too much and as young adults they weren't told enough. By then I was too afraid of losing them and they had full power over me. I had figured out that I couldn't control their lives and lived in terror that if I disagreed with them they could and would leave me, and if I wasn't there to protect them, who would? I knew enough about life by then to realize how many pit-falls there are, how many things can go wrong. Motherhood is a wild, careening roller coaster. 

I want to stop for a moment to say that my children and I had a community of mothers who made life better and even wonderful. On those days when I needed them, friends, sisters, and sisters-in-law stepped up and provided the much needed breaks. While our kids played we talked about our short-comings as wives, housekeepers, and mothers, and gave each other advice and a chance to laugh at our own frailties. We drank a lot of coffee, smoked a lot of cigarettes, and sometimes, I admit, drank our wine out of pretty glasses while we sat around a kiddie-pool and watched our children play. We had one thing in common: we loved our children and desperately wanted to be the best mothers we could be and time after time we felt like we were failing. We supported each other, believed in each other, and helped each other be better in a million ways. 

Life wasn't dark. All those stories and fond memories you read about in magazines and books made up the majority of our lives. We slept outside on hot nights and found star constellations. We built dams in the creek so they could swim. We made Christmas cookies and decorations, dressed in crazy clothes for Halloween, had thirty people at the table at Thanksgiving, and celebrated birthdays. We cooked together, making huge messes in the kitchen while kneading bread, got excited about the antique toaster that rolled bread through instead of popping it up, and canned and froze our vegetables from the acre size garden we planted together. And music. We played the piano and sang songs and danced around the living room. Cousins came and played guitars in our living room. Our house and lives were full of aunts and uncles, cousins, and friends. We had endless conversations, sometimes loud, about science, history, religion, philosophy, politics, and anything else that came up. My daughter set the front porch on fire while experimenting with a magnifying glass and sunshine, and made an electro magnet for show-and-tell in kindergarten. My son learned everything I ever knew and started teaching me. We made up poems, stories, and songs. Children were never excluded. I don't think it even dawned on us to leave them out. 

And the one thing I did the most right: I loved my children beyond words. I loved them every minute of every day. I knew they were spectacular, incredible, unspeakably precious. Every real-life decision I ever made, I made with them in mind. I marveled at their beauty and brilliance. I was proud of them. I was humbled that they could be my children. They amazed me, and it hasn't changed.

My children surpassed me in every way long ago. Now I drift toward Earth and watch them fly, and wonder if I could have really done so much wrong if these are the kids I raised. I have also come to accept that they are not a product of me or how I raised them, but rather they are their own entities, their own true selves, and they are truly spectacular. If I had any part in that, I am proud.

So, to my mother on this Mother's Day, and to every mother out there, I want to say, we all could have been better. We all punt and hope for the best. There is nothing to forgive. I guess the important thing to remember is that we don't raise children to be like us; we raise children to be their best selves. And we love them. Love them for all of life and beyond. I have regretted many things in life, but I have never regretted being your mother.

I love you, Frank and Angela. You bring me more joy than anyone or anything else in life. Thank you for loving me back. Hugs, babies.

 

 

 

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