Never the same love twice – Longmont Times-Call

All week I’ve been tumbling some words around inside from John Denver and F. Scott Fitzgerald like a dryer tumbling a damp, tie-dye t-shirt with a cocktail dress.

Pam Mellskog / Mommy Musings

At first, everything seemed heavy, lumpy, and incompatible with a topic I am obliged to write about as a parenting columnist: Mother’s Day, which is tomorrow.

Why would a campy folk singer popular in the 1970s and a debonair writer from America’s glittering Gilded Age in the roaring 1920s come to mind now? What made me wait on the tumbling in order to pull their words fresh out of the dryer and wear them again?

It’s because my favorite quote from each works so well to explain why, for me, celebrating mothers as a daughter is a joy and celebrating mothers as a mother can trigger some inconvenient soul searching.

On this special day every year it helps that my mother and mother-in-law give their best to their role as mothers (and grandmothers). They nurture in their own ways, and because of that I am confident of something precious.

They relish our time together and cherish who I was and who I am.

My mother-in-law, who is a super organized person with very little tolerance for clutter, helps me tackle this unmanageable part of my life.

When her superpower meets my kryptonite, I make great progress in this department. But not without some serious growing pains.

In the midst of one decluttering jag we launched, we found a stack of unopened mail that included a handwritten valentine written by her mother to me three years prior.

I am still not sure whose heart broke more over the discovery, given that the valentine writer had since passed away.

My mother-in-law and I powered on, though. And I have never doubted that her eye on me remains a loving one.

My mother shares other superpowers. She listens so patiently to me, a verbal processor, as I hash and rehash my problems, frustrations, and my many wonderings. My mother-in-law reaches a saturation point much faster than my mother.

But in their own ways these moms both have shown so much support throughout our long relationships that I wonder if I will ever grow into motherhood the way they have, if I will ever give my kids what they have given me.

Perhaps many other mothers wonder the same thing, wonder how they can make sure their kids feel cherished and become capable of cherishing others.

Until my two older sons turned into teenagers, I figured I was on the right track. Now, I’m not so sure.

One unfamiliar kiddo with the effects of alcoholic beverages drank too much at an unsupervised party earlier this year, and I slept beside him on two chairs at the Children’s Hospital in Broomfield during the overnight observation.

Our other in-house teenager walks into the kitchen when I am fixing dinner and without a word to me tells Alexa, our smart speaker, to play AC/DC’s 1979 “Highway to Hell” hit to throw me into orbit.

He still forgets to brush his teeth and his hair — possibly on purpose to deepen his grunge persona. He cusses when upset, and he would much rather play his drums than talk with me about anything going on in his life.

This boy who once made a leprechaun trap to put on our porch on St. Patrick’s Day now keeps most of his drawings, ceramics, and 3-D art expressions to himself.

I don’t feel the love some days…many days…

So, writing about Mother’s Day this year seemed like a chore until I started humming a lyric from John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” hit in 1972

This song is not my favorite one in his collection. But it holds my favorite lyric over his energized strumming from him: “He was born in the summer of his 27th year, coming home to a place he’d never been before.”

That captures how settled I felt when I held each of my three boys after their birth. Their birthdays were my birthdays, too. Fresh starts for both of us as long as we both shall live.

So goes the simple message from me to you today — that we need to grow as much as we hope our kids (by birth or any sort of formal or informal adoption) grow, which is what makes motherhood such a marathon for an impatient, idealistic , closed controlling mom like me.

Still, maybe I am on the right track more than I know. Maybe all my fretting as a mother means next to nothing to my kids who live in the moment almost entirely.

They likely hear my complaints and concerns about our relationship during these turbulent teen years like cartoonist Charles Schultz’s feature character, Charlie Brown, hears his teacher — in unintelligible “wa, wa, blah, blah, blah” speak.

My middle son, Andy, now 14, comes across as so uncensored these days. So, how could I doubt the kind words he wrote on the birthday card he drew for me earlier this month?

Oh, F. Scott Fitzgerald — someone famous for helping us see that all the glitters is not gold — thank you for helping me cherish my sons like I have been cherished as a daughter. Thank you for writing words worth remembering in another context, on Mother’s Day 2022: “There are all kinds of love in the world, but never the same love twice.”

Pam Mellskog can be reached at or 303-746-0942. For more stories and photos, please visit

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