“If you can no longer keep a conversation going with someone, then don’t expect to be able to keep the relationship going either.”
Back in the day when I was in Catholic school, it was mandatory to attend confession once a week. Every Friday without fail, Sister Mary Hitler would give us the fifteen minute warning to tidy ourselves up, have our confession letters ready, and line up against the chalk board for inspection. From there, she would walk the line back and forth three times while tapping each one of us on the head like in the game, “duck, duck goose” to see if everyone passed inspection. If anyone got “goosed” by Sister, they had to sit out confession and that was considered a cardinal sin in Sister Mary Hitler’s eyes. At that point, she made it her quest to make your life a living hell because her life was about to become a living hell because now, she had to answer to one of the “higher power” Sisters as to why all her kids didn’t make confession quota for the week. Yes, this was the slow death torture that filled our lives with, shame, lies and guilt which was also known as, the “Catholic way.”
Yes, I will be the first to admit that I was terrified to go to confession and talk to the “middle man priest” who told everything to Jesus. The best way to describe the way I felt going to confession was like Dorothy, when she went to go see the “Great Oz” in the movie The Wizard of Oz. Every week I would say to myself, “why can’t I talk to Jesus myself by cutting out the middle man? Why does this have to be so scary? And why do we have to follow these so called ‘proper etiquette’ rules just to go to confession?” This was something I never understood. Half the time that I attended confession, I made things up just to meet my “sin” quota for the week. Yup- liar, liar pants on fire; that’s all I ever thought to myself each time I left the confession booth and returned to my seat to repent my “fake sins” by saying two “Our Fathers” and three “Hail Mary’s”, that by the way never worked. I could remember one time sitting back in my seat and saying, “Dear Jesus this is bullshit, there’s gotta be a better way than this. If I don’t have anything to confess, why can’t we just have conversation?” But we weren’t taught to have conversations with Jesus, we were taught to wear the “Got Guilt?” shirt and wear it proud because guilt was the only way to Jesus. So for the most part, we all just did what we had to do to make it through. But some kids just couldn’t handle the heat. To some, this torturous task of weekly confession was like having electric shock therapy. And to be honest, I don’t know what was worse: confession or watching the way some of these poor kids suffered from the side effects that confession cursed them with. So as a kid I made a promise to Jesus and said, “Dear Jesus, some day it’s gonna be different, once I get the hell out of here.”
Well, after many years of wearing my “Got Guilt?” shirt, I decided that it’s time for a more realistic, “natural” type approach, which was just sitting down, pouring myself a glass of Jesus juice, and talking about my “true” feelings with Jesus. But before I began, I promised myself that I wasn’t going use the words, “God forgive me” and I refused to allow any of the poisonous statements that were told to me back in the day such as, “you can’t say that to Jesus” or “you should be ashamed of yourself for thinking that way” to my all time favorite which was, “you’re gonna go to hell for saying that” put a damper on my “sit downs.” Let me tell you, if I had a dollar for all the times I heard someone tell me I was gonna go to hell for saying how I sincerely felt, I would be a mult -millionaire. Once again, it was just another one of the “Got Guilt?” scare tactics that made me think that I was a bad person. Yup- I’m so done with the “Got Guilt?” thing.
The day I decided to live by my rule of, “no confession, just conversation” was the last day I ever confessed anything ever again. As I began to let out everything that was on my mind by using the “raw truth” as to how I felt, I began to feel better about everything in my life. And my conversations with Jesus were truly what they were, “happy hour.”
Today, I’m happy to say that ever since I have been doing happy hour with Jesus I burned the “Got Guilt?” shirt that I have been wearing since I was a little Catholic school girl who told lies in the confession booth and began to celebrate life guilt free. The days of playing “duck, duck goose” with Sister Mary Hitler and confessing my so called sins to the “middle man priest” are nothing more than one of my comical Catholic school stories that make great conversation pieces for happy hour.
“Got Guilt?” Well…it’s nothing that a little wine and conversation can’t cure. Cheers!
People say they can’t live without family, I think wine is more important.
When I became a mother, I made “rank” to enjoy the benefits of the ultimate holiday for all mothers: mother’s day. From that day forward, it was up to my husband and kids to honor this day and to never forget it for the rest of their lives.
New to motherhood, I thought that I was supposed to feel different on mother’s day; kinda like I was waiting for something to happen but it never did. The day didn’t feel any different to me. I still had to get up and take care of the kids just like any another day. Lots of times I found myself periodically looking up to the sky like as if I were waiting for a sign from above to appear, like an airplane flying by with a specialized banner made just for me that read, “Hey Leanne, Happy Mother’s Day,” but there was no such luck. So I wondered to myself, when the hell am I supposed to feel like a true “Queen” on mother’s day?
As the kids got older and were in school, mother’s day started to feel like something to me. The cherished gifts they made for me that touched my heart, like the handmade cards with love notes inside, the numerous bouquets of paper flowers, plants, magnets and drawings were the start to finally feeling something different.
But, it always seemed like even though I was a mother, I still felt the pressure of making the “other mothers” in my life that were of “higher rank” first in line on mother’s day before myself. Yup- my life would be a living hell if, I didn’t make “the rounds” and pay my respects to them on mother’s day. So once again, my queen for the day recognition was put on the back burner because they had seniority over me.
Through the years, mother’s day seemed to take its toll on me. From what I experienced, there was no other day of the year where more “guilt trip spells” were cast out to the world than on mother’s day. At this point, I felt like I was lied to by everyone about mother’s day because I was slowly figuring out that this day was never gonna be my own until the higher rank mothers honored me and allowed me to be part of the team. . . And we all know that wasn’t gonna happen anytime soon. I remember getting so mad one day while picking out mother’s day cards, to the point where I had to leave the store because frickin Hallmark was pissing me off. “When you care enough to send the very best” is bullshit, especially to a rookie mother, because the love these cards were sharing was something I sure as hell wasn’t feeling.
One day while looking at the calendar I became aggravated because mother’s day was quickly approaching, so I poured myself a glass of wine and I said, “Why the hell does mother’s day have to be so damn complicated? And when the hell am I ever gonna make queen for the day?” As I sat and pondered these questions, a loud voice from above said, “Start makin the announcement and things will change.” So I stood up from my chair, held my wine glass up high and said, “That’s it, I’m makin’ the announcement!” It was the bitch slap I needed to start honoring myself as a mother, because if I don’t then no one else will. I then blew a kiss to the sky and said, “Thanks Mother Nature, as always, you have my back.” She is one woman that makes it her quest in life to make sure that no mother is left behind. From that day forward I decided that I’m makin’ the announcement to everyone that mother’s day is now going to be done my way.
As mother’s day countdown approached, I began making the announcement to my husband and kids (because I care enough to send the very best) by giving them clues as to how I expected my “queen for the day” extravaganza to be played out; and I wasn’t gonna settle for anything less than the ultimate Hallmark experience. So I said, “Read my lips people, next Sunday is mother’s day so not only do I want to ‘feel’ the love, I want to ‘see’ the love. So you’ve got one week to get your shit together. And all I can say is, God help you if you don’t all pull through because not only will I never let you live it down, Mother Nature won’t either and she’s one broad you don’t want to cross, now get to work!”
Back in the day, like most new mother’s, I took whatever was given to me and did whatever I had to do to make the day special for everyone by sacrificing myself because I was new in the game. But after I started making the announcement, life changed. I got what I wanted and became the queen of my mother’s day.
And so my dear sisters, let me leave you with one final announcement: May you be honored for the mother you are with the ultimate gift, the “Hallmark Gold Crown”, the official queen for the day pass that defines the true meaning of a mother, “When you care enough to send the very best.”
Happy Mother’s Day, Cheers!