Saturday, January 12, 2013

New Year's Tribute: Mammom

In keeping with my New Year's tradition of honoring someone who makes my life and work possible  (see previous year's posts here and here), I pay homage this year to my mother. 

I've mentioned some ways my mother is amazing in the past, including descriptions of how she modeled Doing the Right Thing when I was young and nurtured my own development as a mother

My mother is the touchstone of our large family; while she forgot her Facebook password and reads versus sends email, she talks to nearly all of her children by telephone during our morning or evening commutes each day.  It's apparent we all want to talk to Mom, a lot.

I have benefited enormously from living close to my parents, and my mother has assisted in the raising of our children from the start.  She was in their delivery rooms, at the hospital with us when Big Sis had surgery, and since the girls were young, watched them at least once a week for special Mammom Days.  She used to bring my infants to me at work so I could breastfeed them in the middle of the day; now she picks them up from school, takes them to the library,  oversees homework, and teaches them to play jacks and construct paper airplanes.  She attends their games and recitals and award ceremonies. 

My babies and their cousins have been guests at my mom's coffees with friends, in strollers on her walks, and in her grocery carts at the commissary. 

My mother reassures me at every turn.  This is normal, she reminds me.  You will get through this, she encourages.  You are not a terrible mom, she shakes her head.  She anticipates my own anxiety and works to alleviate it.  What can I do? she asks. 

She pays attention.  She knows my husband's habits and passions, saving her kitchen compost for his gardens and lauding his attentive fathering of our girls.  She listens to Big Sis and Little Sis and gently clues me in when an adjustment might be made here or there. 

She supports my decisions and endeavors, even when they're made with more heart than head, even when I doubt myself. 

She reminds me that she loves me, that she's proud of me, that she believes in me. 

She helped me develop self esteem, and she helps me sustain it.

In her I have a model for marriage, for retirement, for empty nesting, for grandparenting.  At the twilight of her career as a nurse, she embraced new habits and friends, joined the gym, and established new weekly traditions with my dad.  She dedicates herself to her children and grandchildren but ensures time for herself and husband. 

Thank you, Mom, for your role in my personhood, womanhood, wifehood, careerhood, and motherhood. 

I love you. 

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