Front Row Mom with Cupcakes (Yup that's my Mom ;)

Yep, that’s me…from the day I gave birth to my first child at age 20 right up to my current age 70. These past few weeks I’ve been con-soul-ing my daughter as needed when her anxiety skyrockets. Sleeping occasionally at her apartment on what I fondly call “my blanket fort” on her brand-new red IKEA sofa. 

Blanket forts: little havens of darkened softness, privacy and pretend independence. When I deconstructed my grandmother Meadows’ couch and built a fort with the six large brocade cushions, I was purposefully building my very own sanctuary. Her home was a sanctuary in itself…an escape from the frightening chaos of my own home. I didn’t know the words alcoholism or abuse at age 5, but I instinctively felt fears gradually leave my body as I packed my red hatbox-sized suitcase with toothbrush, pajamas, favorite clothes and dolls.

A brief fifteen years later, I always arrived in time to sit in the front row for my children’s school concerts, plays, talent shows, graduations, etcetera. Being a June-Cleaver-like homeroom mother I baked and decorated 3-4 dozen cupcakes and cookies for their holiday parties. No store bought birthday cakes at home either until my daughter discovered the Barbie doll cake on display at the King Soopers bakery. Skinny naked blonde Barbie covered from her flesh plastic shoulders down to her webbed toes with pink and white frosting and layers of chocolate cake. Once the bakery case was discovered it quickly became a favorite spot and they were requesting toy or Disney themed birthday cakes every year. I acquiesced and sent store bought cakes to share with their schoolmates, but continued to make more creative and delicious cakes for the family party at home. 

My personal favorite was a hedgehog cake with hundreds of slivered almonds for its spines. More Judy Chicago than June Cleaver, perhaps I got a little too carried away with the cupcakes for my youngest son’s 21st birthday. Without getting too graphic…the cupcakes mimicked his recently pierced nipples. (Not Mo by the way. He’s still without piercings or tattoos. At least none I can see or that Tami has reported!) 

Now once again I find myself in a front row seat, but the storylines and scripts have become more unmanageable and unpredictable. No longer are my children youngsters on a grade school stage tossing water balloons or splashing in the bathtub at home or treading water in the deep end of a swimming pool at Disneyland. Currently, they are adults facing tsunamis-like waves of physical and mental challenges. 

Cupcakes are insufficient. Couldn’t swallow one anyway. My throat constricts and forms a lump as I watch from my front row seat as they courageously face and learn to navigate unfathomed seas of extreme anxiety, tremors, terrifying intrusive thoughts, anger, nightmares, sleeplessness, depression and more. 

No, cupcakes don’t help. My MA in art therapy doesn’t help. Even my 50 years of parenting hasn’t prepared me for this front row ticket in the theater of unknown outcomes. The tide has turned. I’m now learning lessons in humility, humor, and courage from my grown children. I’ll end with a song…for them…for me…for you.
pink martini - hang on little tomato (Click for song)  

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