I’ve read a few blogs about Mother’s Day and they’ve brought up a lot of memories. My experience was so different – and undoubtedly deficient (0n my part) – but with a good “rest of the story”. When I read about the immediate connection of mothers with their babies when they first see them, their pride, their deep, heart-wrenching feelings of love….well, it sounds like a fairy tale – a wonderful fairy tale. But not my experience.
I was barely 18 when my first son was born and I was clueless. About love, about mothering, about life! I vividly remember the mother of a girl in the other bed in my room showing her daughter how to nurse her baby. I tried to pretend that I wasn’t listening and clumsily tried to follow. Luckily my son was – and is – a fast learner…
That was in 1958 and the world was different then. Being unmarried (although engaged and then married before my son’s birth) and pregnant was not ok. My Dad was a minister for Pete’s sake. I should have known better – right? There was a lot of shaming going on – both from within me and around me. Needless to say, it was not a happy time. Three years later I had another son. I had not matured much, sorry to say. And five years later, my daughter arrived. Still pretty clueless.
For most of my childhood, my parents were in turmoil and ultimately divorced. Another story. Suffice it to say, neither was very “present” in most ways, during my early years. I think I was born without the “mothering” chip, no adequate role model and had huge lessons to learn. An older sister took me under her wing and taught me some basics about baby care. Another sister considered me a real challenge in dressing my son – and I admit, I’d leave the house when it was warm and forget to take warm clothing for later (in the Pacific Northwest no less!). He was often bundled in anything I could find until we’d get back home. Basically, I didn’t know how to take care of myself – let alone a helpless little baby. I loved him but yes…was clueless. But he survived. So did the other two.
They’re now all established, loving adults with families. And they love and respect me. Miracles happen. They are all excellent parents and grandparents. In fact, they amaze me. I’ve lived the “fairy tale” while watching them love and talk to the children in their bellies….eagerly awaiting births of my grandchildren. I’ve experienced my grandchildren doing the same with my great-granddaughters.
I’m so grateful that God protected them. Grateful that God entrusted these three great souls to me. This morning, my middle son called from another state to tell me how glad he is that he was born my son. Can you imagine the joy in my heart? I’m blessed!
My daughter is going through a very painful time in her 25 year marriage and she finds comfort in being with me sometimes. She knows that she has my undying love and support. We go for long drives up the Gorge or to the beach and find comfort in being together – sometimes talking, sometimes silent. Just being together is a special time to me. I loved her husband as my son and I miss him too. As adults, we are close friends as well as mother and daughter. I’m blessed!
I stopped by my oldest son’s home last night to return some fishing line that I had borrowed. He told me stories, updated me on his projects (he always has one going), joked and looked into my eyes – and held the moment – that look of knowing and understanding. A look of love. He’s a quiet man who enjoys time alone – fishing, hiking, being with nature. I don’t get to see him as often as I would like so these are special times to me. He stops by with freshly caught salmon, smoked salmon, a gift certificate for a massage…. occasionally…. and that’s enough for me to know…I’m blessed!
This all reminds me of where I was and where I am now in my mothering. I had a poignant realization that sometime over the years, I had developed the “fairy tale” feelings. I also have feelings of love and thankfulness for my “Nother Mother”, Ethel, for my sisters who have taught me so much about mothering over the years. I have a mother’s love for a young girl that I mentored at one time in my life who never forgets me. I’m grateful for my daughter’s high school friends who considered me a mother figure at times in their lives. I learn from them as well. And I’m so grateful for all of the information available to us through television, books and classes…and God!
Yes, I’m a happy mother. Not just on Mother’s Day. That’s nice and I always love hearing from my children on that day. I told them long ago that I don’t need – or want a gift. They are my gifts. I love hearing their voices and their knock on my door…any day. I love seeing them happy and healthy. I always appreciate acknowledgment and expressions of the love between us. I need it. I need to know all is well between us.
And because I truly think I have good answers…I love when they ask what I think. Once in awhile they do. Hmmm…maybe they do it because they know I like it so much?
I’m so blessed!