Inspiring Stuff

A Hoffmans Happy Mother’s Day!

My mother had a great deal of trouble with me,but I think she enjoyed it-Mark Twain

It’s mother’s day! At least in Thailand it is, since we’re in the future. To my mom, this will be an early “Happy mothers day”.

Man, I hope I never have a kid like me. Seriously, I am the worst child.

 

Newborn – 4 years:

  • Cried constantly because I wasn’t getting any milk via breastfeeding and was starving. Someone finally figured this out and switched me over to bottles and formula. I still cried for fun and attention.
  • Constantly worried my grandmother by flashing my fat tongue around. She knew for sure I was going to choke on it.

5 – 6 years old:

  • Got held back in Kindergarten for being too immature. Duh, what kid is mature at 5 years old?
  • Made out with a boy in class and got sent to the principle’s office. He said we’d be together forever, but ..well, I’m sure you know how that turned out.
  • Called the operator while mom was napping so I could have someone to talk to. Yeah, this was back when there were phone operators. Told her that my mom was asleep, I was 5, and that my dad was at work. I was about to tell her my address and social security number when my mom found me.
  • Threatened to record my mom’s singing and sell it to the Chinese as a torture method.

7 – 12 years old:

  • Made friends with everyone in school and had playdates constantly. Ran my mom ragged asking her if friends could come over and if she could take me to their houses.
  • Wanted to do EVERYTHING. Coloring, fencing, ballet, horseback riding, swimming, sleep overs, pottery, and piano lessons (okay so I didn’t want to do piano, I was forced). Made my mother the bad guy since she had to say “No” all the time.
  • Talked to strangers at yardsales and left my mom’s eyesight at the mall when I spotted the mother of a friend and I wanted to say hi.
  • Insisted we get a family dog and told several of my friends that we would take all their unwanted cats (this is how we ended up in the double digits). Begged relentlessly for a pony.
  • Constantly egged my siblings on and caused a ruckus, often embarrassing my parents, my mother grumbling under her breath “..the Hoffmans are here…!” because we would always cause such a scene they may as well have announced that we’d arrived.
  • Began to rebel against Christianity by skipping Sunday school and Wednesday night classes. Hid in the church bathrooms with my sister and colored instead.
Mom and Pop in Chicago
I take full responsibility for all grey hairs.

13-15 years old:

  • Started making friends with boys and having them all over to play Xbox and paintball in the woods. Asked for money all the time for Chinese food.
  • Had teenage rage-outs consisting of threatening to burn the house down while everyone was asleep in it, almost choking my sister out, and chopping down a tree at 3 am. The tree deserved it and was the root of all my problems. See what I did there?
  • Exercised insane creativity and resourcefulness to start breaking rules such as: not being allowed to have an email address, a cell phone, a horse, or LAN line connectivity after 9 pm. My dad even commended my problem solving skills (I was eavesdropping when he said it).
  • Fought with my parents so angrily and violently that my siblings would hide in their rooms during the arguments.
  • Read Harry Potter by nightlight, resulting in the loss of my door.
  • Vandalized my bedroom walls in pen with suicidal thoughts.
  • Snuck out and watched “Titanic” at a friends house, even though I wasn’t allowed to because it had boob in it. But didn’t I have two of those myself?

16-18 years old:

  • Got my first job and made friends with a nasty girl named Mia who was a terrible influence on me and guaranteed to take my life down the wrong path. Luckily, she moved to Chicago for college. *Mia and I are coming up on our like 13th year of BFFness*
  • Tried to jump out a window and was physically pulled back in by my father.
  • Asked friends to come over and help me move out of my parent’s house. Went to live with various friends and their families. Elizabeth and Mr. and Mrs. Smith: if you ever read this I am so, so grateful for what you did for me and how understanding you were. <3
  • Since I was no longer living at home, I could write my own absence notes for school, resulting in my almost never attending. Barely graduated high school with a 1.8 GPA.
  • Attempted to go to college and major in psychology (hey, everyone was doing it!), racking up tons of debt.
  • Continuously got and quit jobs, running through them like water and still not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up.

19-22 years old:

  • Left Xenia to move to Columbus. Moved in with my boyfriend shortly there after. Totally scandalous.
  • Decided to drop out of college to work on destroying my credit score instead.
  • Tried Marijuana for the first time. “She’s doing DRUGS!”
  • Still quitting and finding a new job every 6 months.

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23 years old:

  • Inspired by years of visiting ‘that-girl’ Mia, I decided to move to Chicago with my boyfriend at the time. Still scandalous.
  • Hit an 8 year old child with my car, resulting in over a year of court appearances and lawyer fees. Had to move back home to Ohio. Couldn’t drive for months due to anxiety and had to be driven to and from work by my parents, with me yelling at them that 10 MPH is “going too fast”.
  • Continued to be a drop-out, minimum wage-working disappointment who smoked a lot of weed.

24 – 26 years old:

  • Moved back to Chicago after getting a ‘big girl job’ working in the Chicago Loop (aka downtown). The office was in a skyscraper so you know it was legit. Had to live in my parents basement to save up for the move.
  • Put my father in the terrible position of having to cosign on a $5k+ dollar loan when the parents of the kid sued me for dental work costs. He must have gotten a whole new mouth.
  • Lived in the Chicago hood, playing the game “Gunshots or Fireworks?” on the weekends.
  • Decided to attend a festival in the desert with a bunch of people I met on the internet.
  • Rather than ‘just being grateful for what I have’, I requested a $10k raise by presenting my results-driven track record – and got it.
  • Asked my boss for a month off to be a gypsy, risking getting fired for sure. He said yes. Attended Burning Man for the second time, road tripping it out there on a communal-style-living hippie bus driven by some dude I’d met once named Cobra.
  • Vagabonded through California, camping alone at the Grand Canyon and spending a few days in Sin City (Las Vegas).
  • Started asking a lot of baby questions while making plans and putting together a savings account for the day when I am ready to have kids and be a single mother by choice (if it comes to that) no matter “how hard it is going to be”.

27 years old:

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And those are just the things I can think of off the top of my head.  Aren’t I just the worst, stress-inducing child? If you have children of your own, I’m sure you’re appreciating them more now, huh? In July, I’ll be 28 and I’m sure will have more terrible things to add to this list over the next year.

It didn’t always used to be this way.

When I moved out of the house and started living on my own, my parents and I were estranged. It seemed like they were always pushing on me. The harder they did, the harder I pushed back, until they lost me.

One day, I was at a friend’s house and we were watching Archer. I hadn’t seen the show before but was loving it. In this episode, Archer (the main character) is trying to get rid of Burt Renolyds because Burt is dating his mom and he’s not happy about it. Archer kidnaps him and is planning to kill him to solve the problem.

It’s a great cartoon for watching when you’re baked. That’s all it should have been…but no, it had to force an epiphany on me that would forever change the relationship my parents and I had.

Here’s a scene from the episode. Archer is trying to explain why Burt can’t date his mom and Burt retorts with this:

Archer-mother-quote
Okay now I’m crying a little while I write this.

Holy shit!” I thought. HOLY F*CKING SHIT! (sorry about the language mom, I know this is your post but I need to impress how serious this hit me).

My mother and father are people!

 

They have feelings! Fears. Hopes. Goals. Previous mistakes they’ve made. They had intentions..and those intentions were good.

My brain starts popping like a bag of popcorn and whirling around like a near death experience where your life flashes before your eyes. Back to all the crazy fights, the struggle for power, having to run on the treadmill everyday so I didn’t “get chubby”.

The absurd things like having to pay my parents whatever the price was of the gifts my high school boyfriend got me because they thought I was making him buy them for me and that that was a great solution for a deterrent. Even getting my door taken away so I couldn’t sneak-read Harry Potter because it was witchcraft –

All of those actions, right or wrong, were consistently coming from a place of love. That is what defines a good mother.

 

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It came on like a hurricane. All the resentment, all the hard feelings, all the anger, and all the desire to remain ‘fierce’ seemed to wash away like dirt during a rainstorm. The cool, soothing, liquid feeling of forgiveness and peace began to flow through me. I actually started freaking out a little bit and had to leave.

“Why don’t you ever support me?!”

I can’t recall when I contacted them after that. Not that we weren’t exactly in touch, but I always had walls up and immediately rejected everything they would say to me. My siblings and I always ragged on my mom that she wasn’t supportive of us because when we would talk about our dreams the first thing she would do was ‘discourage’ us.

“How are you going to pay for that?” “What about health insurance?” “Maybe you should think this through a bit more.” “But you NEED a job.” “You have to work Amberly.” “You’re throwing away something good.” “Mmmm”. 

The ‘Mmmm’ is the worst. I didn’t get any better at following their advice after this (I still quit my job and am still on the other side of the world), but I began to recognize that their wisdom and objections were all seated out of a place of love and concern for my well-being. I began to listen to, and respect, their opinions and thoughts. This new attitude and perspective on my part changed our whole dynamic.

It’s been several years now and our relationship is healthy and strong. I talk to my mom every day. Yes, EVERY. DAY. Even in Asia. Maybe I’m making up for some lost time.

To some, this is weird – after asking around I found that most people only talk to their parents every couple weeks or so (now THAT is weird)  – but my mom talked to my grandma everyday at least once. I must get it from the Lykins side of the family.

I grew up listening to my grandma say “Don’t ever put me in a nursing home”. One day, she had a stroke, paralyzing half of her body. The family just wasn’t equipped to care for her at home – her biggest fear had happened. My mom demonstrated amazing love & compassion by being there every hour she could – never missed a day until the end.

Mom, if you are ever in that position, I want to be like you. I will be there everyday. I know it was hard for you with grandma and that you wouldn’t want to put me through that, but I will be there.

Okay now I’m crying a lot. Happy mother’s day to you too grandma, we miss you. I know you can hear me. Tell grandpa I’m the boss now.

Even though my mom and I have had our differences, and still don’t see eye to eye on many things, I know she loves me. Having accepted that I’m just going to do what I’m going to do, we have a very strong bond.

The day I left for Asia

For those of you who only call your mother once a week, Step. It. Up. *valley girl voice* “Oh but what would we talk about? I don’t have anything to say…waaahhh”. The conversation is not the point. Making the effort, and being able to simply enjoy one another while you can, is the point.

Mom, I enjoy you so much – even your singing and cooking. I wish we hadn’t teased you into stopping.

I’m having a blast, but I still miss you. No matter how far I am, we’ll always be together. I got a big tattoo on my face that says that. Just kidding!

You’re the best momma in the whole wide world, and I’m so glad you’re my momma!

I gotta go eat my feelings now.

xoxo <3

12 Comments

  • Reply

    Debbie Klaich

    May 7, 2016

    Tears, laughs and a very special thank you to a mom that brought up such an
    adventurous daughter, who is full of life, and has enough self confidence to live it the way she sees fit. That Zoom is the gift.

    • Reply

      Zoom

      May 7, 2016

      Aw Debbie I’ll pass this along to her 😉 So glad you enjoyed it! Hope your kids (and Duke) are treating you well this mother’s day!

  • Reply

    Karen

    May 7, 2016

    So… I didn’t know half of this. Whew, you are a handful! 😉 hehe. I think it’s such a beautiful thing that you and your mom can push the past aside and be in a good place, a place where she’s not just your mom, she’s also your friend. Hugs!

    • Reply

      Zoom

      May 8, 2016

      Hahaha if Aunt Joan ever gives you shit, tell her to read this and be grateful she has you 😛 LOL I’m so glad we’ve come so far, wouldn’t have it any other way now! <3

  • Reply

    Sue Gossett

    May 9, 2016

    Your Mother deserves a Very Happy Mother`s day!!! lol

    • Reply

      Zoom

      May 9, 2016

      LOL I know – bless her heart. I owe her my everything <3

  • Reply

    Eric

    May 12, 2016

    Awwww You and your b/f on the bench make a lovely couple

  • Reply

    Eric

    May 12, 2016

    Wishing you a Happy “belated” Mother’s Day Monna 🙂

  • Reply

    Eric

    May 12, 2016

    HOLY F*CKING SHIT! I love bad ass Archer

    • Reply

      Zoom

      May 14, 2016

      Isn’t he the best?! We really need to get Chelsea on the Archer bandwagon 😀

  • Reply

    Chelsea Hoffman

    May 13, 2016

    I think you’ve made up for it now! You stressed her out in childhood but now you’re ‘easy’. I was easy as a kid and now I stress her out. The poor woman can’t catch a break!

    Love you, Mama.

  • Reply

    Lauren

    May 19, 2016

    OH so many thoughts & feelings came out of this one! I would be afraid to write this post, because the exercise of recalling all of the awful things I did to my parents would be a horribly shameful experience. I admire your candor in documenting those things, and in sharing bits like “Tell grandpa I’m the boss now.”

Don't be shy!