A Mother’s Love

A Mother’s Love

A woman pressed her finger into the inky blue night sky.

You too left tiny fingerprints on my soul – a constant reminder that I am not myself only.

The two best aspects of my being walk side-by-side. They call me “Mom”.

My heart still beats beside you as it did the first nine months.

You are never alone. My thoughts are always with you.

We see stars that have extinguished years ago. Still burning bright.

When I am gone, may you still hear my heartbeat, feel the brush of my fingertips on your brow.

May the light of my love never burn out, but always guide you.

-Rachel McKee

guradian angel

Ever Optimistic

I participated in another Twitter Pitch party. I haven’t received and “hearts” on my pitch.

THE LITTLE PRINCESS + THE SECRET GARDEN

An independent girl takes a job at a whimsical greenhouse in hopes of a beautiful reward. She will have to rely on her determination and pluck to get through the mud, worms, and other messy challenges. #PitMad #PB

The road to publishing is long for most. I have a degree in literature, and I quit a career in technical editing and writing to stay at home with my children. That is when I started this blog.

I’ve been writing intensely for almost 10 years. To some that’s a lot, to others just a warm up to the publishing marathon. For me it’s joy and frustration, maddening and elation.

The bottom line is that I believe this is my path. I am suppose to write. Whatever that means.

I may not receive any likes on my pitch, but I did pitch. I had a screaming seven-month-old and a two-year-old vying for my phone and attention, but I pitched! I’m proud of that.

-Rachel

Parent’s Accomplishments and Failures: Why We Should Celebrate Both

Growing up, and even now, I knew how lucky I was to have my mother. She always put me and my brother first. Her patience was vast, but it was not limitless.

Sometimes when I have a “bad parent day” and I snap, yell, show my teeth and scream into a pillow, I think about my mother. Her ocean of patience. How she would help me solve all of  my little-kid problems. She was gentle, thoughtful, and loving.

Instead of this comforting me, or pushing me to do better, I feel worst about my own parenting failures. When I think of my mother’s near saint-hood I begin to wonder why I didn’t inherit those motherly genes. But the other day, I flashed on a vivid memory:

My mother slamming the front door hard enough to make the windows shutter. Her stomping down our front porch to go to the laundry room. (Our laundry room had a separate, outdoor entrance.) Throughout her mad march, she would swear and mumble things like, “Ungrateful, spoiled, frustrating.”. I would scream through my window as she walked by, “I can hear you!” She didn’t care and she didn’t stop, she just kept right on with her mumbling madness. The laundry room was on the other side of my room and I could hear her swear and pound on the washer and dryer with her fists, until eventually she would begin to sob.

I realized upon reflection that I relate to her most through her imperfections.

Her outbursts that at the time offended my seven-year-old-self, actually brings great comfort now that I too understand the stress of parenthood.

After her laundry room breakdowns, she would always come back inside and apologize. She would explain why she was mad and frustrated and we would talk about our fight.

Our reconciliations were perhaps the greatest lessons she could bestow upon me as a child. I appreciate them more as a stressed-out adult.

None of us are perfect and we all lose our minds at times. To pretend that we don’t would be a disservice to our own children. The most important lesson she taught me was to own up to my mistakes and show myself grace when I fall.

Her parenting techniques have stuck with me and are reflected in the care of my own children. I hope my children see the patience in me that my own mother wore like a shawl around her strong shoulders, but when I slip, as she did too, I hope I recover with grace and love.

Rachel McKee

Eat the Cookie

I don’t want to be the woman who has to lose 10 pounds. I’ve known women who “want to lose 10 pounds” for 10+ years.

I don’t want to deprive myself a cookie.

I don’t want to pinch my midsection in the mirror. I won’t do it.

Yet, here I am, skin between my fingers.

I won’t pull on my face, this way, that way. Watching the history that’s written on my face disappear for one superficial moment.

Most of the time I am not that woman, but I am not entirely immune to societal expectations. But, what are my expectations?

We must be skinny. No, no, no that’s not “in” anymore. We must be strong. Strong is the new skinny. Curvy, but not too curvy. Healthy, yes, healthy. Anyway, I definitely should not eat that cookie.

Has social media really made self-image worst? No, it’s our heritage, tradition, culture. We inherit our body obsession like the fattening family recipes we serve our husbands but never and I mean NEVER should eat ourselves.

Both of my grandmothers were thin, elegant, and beautiful. One had five children, the other six. Even after all of those children their waists still looked corseted. They made delicious pies, but I don’t recall them ever taking a bite.

Scrambling around the dinner table was the woman’s place. Never eating there, getting her fill. No, my grandmother would drink her coffee black. No sugar. No cream. Smoking a cigarette. This was expected.

I want my portion. Most of the time I take it. Sometimes I take more than my share and I’m back to measuring my sin with pinching fingers.

I remember a time when I had such restraint. Such control, but there was always a hunger.

How do I navigate these murky waters and lead a life where the scale doesn’t measure my worth? More important how do I steer my daughter away from an inheritance of self scrutiny?

If I talk about food and weight am I preaching? If I don’t broach the subject am I neglectful? What of my son? Men too are not immune from the warped looking-glass.

Everything in moderation I suppose.

-Rachel McKee

Mac and Cheese Meltdown

Mac and Cheese Meltdown

Staring at the pot,

willing it to boil.

Give me a bubble, a sizzle,

just cook.

He’s flailing on the floor,

screaming, “I want It now!”

He makes a dash,

I lunge.

Those skinny legs are fast.

He beats me to the box, noodles rain down.

Boiling water.

Turning off the stove,

I sink to the floor.

I curl up among the hard, yellow shells, and close my eyes.

His wails turn into the cry of a seagull.

Lying on the beach, I’m younger.

My name isn’t “Mama”.

My breath aligns with the tide.

Push, pull.

In, out.

I allow myself this moment,

to escape.

I open my eyes.

He is watching cartoons,

The Mac & Cheese forgotten.

-Rachel McKee

When I Grow Up

When I was five years old, I told people I was going to be a veterinarian, nurse, teacher, marine biologist, etc…

Little did I know that when I grew up I’d still be juggling career ideas. In fact, most people I know are still asking themselves “What will I be when I grow up?”….

I daydream a lot about what I’ll do/be when the little ones go off to school. Even what I could do while continuing to be a stay-at-home mother.

Here is my list:

Freelance writer (tried it but haven’t made any money).

High school English teacher.

Real Estate Agent.

Psychologist  (or family counseling).

I imagine myself in all of these roles, but I quickly talk myself out of all of them. For every career, I have five reasons not to pursue it. 

My heart swells over my dream of parenthood coming to fruition. Watching my babies grow and learn is incredibly fulfilling, but in the back of my mind I know that I can do more. I want more. I just can’t decide what that personal “more” is.

What are some of your “grown up” dreams?

-Rachel