True (S)tori

I’m not going to make fun of Tori Spelling any more. At least I’m going to try my darndest.

When I talk about folks from my real life, I (usually) feel bad for gossiping / talking trash. But I seem to give myself license to make fun of celebs because they are public figures and many are so ridiculously privileged that it boggles my mind. I especially talk bitterly about those who have benefited from nepotism like Miss Tori Spelling of Aaron Spelling legacy fame, though my real beef with her was how she and her now-husband cheated on their ex-spouses to get with each other.

Both my boys were home with me today fighting a powerful cough once again. Micah is particularly susceptible to such cough attacks around this time of the year, but little E has also been suffering the past couple days. At one point, it would’ve been comical had it not been so pitiful – both of them performing a cough duet, fighting to be the one who gets to sit on my lap, not able to use their words because they were coughing so much. Just droppin’ ‘bows on each other and crying, grabbing at me.

While it was a tough day, I felt flattered by how much they just wanted their Mama. They won’t always want me and they are growing up so fast.

Kevin came home to relieve me after a trying day, gifting me with some halal cart food he had picked up to make dinner easier on me. The boys could hardly even drink their beef broth through their coughing so we didn’t force it. After tending to many cough episodes, Kevin declared that he, too, wasn’t feeling well and fell asleep with Micah in the boys’ room, both of them on the floor.

E is right next to me in our big bed as I type this.

Back to Tori Spelling. Because all the boys were down for the night by 9 pm, a rarity, I decided not to read my book and instead tuned into Truly Terrible Television.

“True Tori.”

Sure we’re both from Los Angeles, but our upbringings could not be more different. I could not relate to any of the issues this girl has.

Until tonight.

She was crying at her therapist’s office, talking about how she gives her daughters extra hugs throughout the day because they remind her of when she was a little girl and how she just yearned to be loved. How she felt starved for her mother’s love.

That touched me.

Don’t get it twisted – I felt loved by my parents even though they expressed it by working long hours at whichever small business they owned at the time in order to provide for us. They didn’t have to say “I love you” or always affirm me to make me feel loved. But as a sensitive and inquisitive kid, it would have been nice to have gotten more time with them, to just talk to them freely about my many emotions and thoughts, have them truly see and hear me more than their store hours would allow.

But, like Tori, I catch myself doing things as a mama to my beloved boys because I know I would have wanted those things when I was growing up. Affirming them, cupping their precious faces in my hands to tell them how much I love them and how they are the only Them in the whole wide world. And always apologizing when I mess up.

Also, take the holidays, for example. Why was I scrambling to order an Advent Calendar for Kids today in the midst of reading them library book after library book so that they wouldn’t think Sick Day meant TV Overdose Day? We even sat in our tiny bathroom with the hot water running to create a steam room, with piles of library books which I could hardly read through my fogged up glasses.

Because my parents had to work EXTRA long hours at their store during the holidays, it was understood that they wouldn’t be around much. I didn’t realize the deep melancholy that triggered in me until decades later when I became a parent. I suspected it earlier when I would feel funky as the holidays approached but after I became a mama, I would find myself in fetal position sometimes during this Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

While I understood that the holidays meant longer work hours for my parents, I never grieved the sadness and envy I felt during the season.

The holidays meant loneliness. Feeling left out from general merriment that the entire damn world seemed to be partaking in without us. Joining our second cousins for their tight-knit family festivities but feeling like outsiders as we weren’t truly a part of their crew. Watching my well-meaning relative slip some money into an envelope to gift it to me and my brother whispering to another that they hadn’t accounted for our attendance during the gift exchange.

Inevitably, we all fail in some ways as parents. Kevin’s mom once commented, “You’re so picky about how much juice or sugar the kids are allowed to have yet you and Kevin fight in front of them. That’s much more harmful than them having candy.” That stung because it was true.

We do what we do NOT want to do. And sometimes it just kills me that I can’t provide them with the most loving home environment due to our failings.

But that doesn’t stop me from trying again the next day.

This month, trying comes in the form of making their holidays magical. I want our family to spend extra time together this month, counting down the days before Christmas on their Advent calendar that should be arriving in a few days. I know I have to exorcise more holiday demons but I’m hoping that with lots of prayer and equipping myself with the Word, I will be able to gift my kids with magical holiday memories.

We are all broken. Whether you a skinny blonde daughter of a Hollywood mogul or a Korean-American daughter of immigrants, we have deep wounds.  Thanks to my children, I’m able to wrestle with them and move forward.

My dudes taking a hug break in between coughs.  Please Lord help me to do right by them.

My dudes taking a hug break in between coughs. Please Lord help me to do right by them.