Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day

It’s been over a week since I last posted because I’ve been on vacation, but I didn’t want to let Mother’s Day pass by without saying something about the women in my life.  I have a number of women who are mothering to me, some related to me and some who aren’t, most are older than me, but curiously, some are my age or even younger.  You know who you are and I am ever so grateful to you for pouring your wisdom into my life. 
I come from a long line of really strong women.  What I know of my paternal great-grandmother was that she had 6 children and had to deal with a husband who had many other simultaneous “families” as well.
One of her daughters, my grandmother was VERY headstrong.  To illustrate this point, the day she died, she was told that I was coming to visit.  I had been the only one who hadn’t seen her in a while even though she had been asking for me.  When I got to her room, she was fighting for her last breaths and willing her eyes to open to catch a last glimpse of my sons and me.  It was only after I held her hand that she relaxed and in 5 minutes went to her final sleep.  I believe she knew me well enough to know that if I had missed seeing her one last time, I would feel guilty and she did NOT want that for me and so she battled death itself to wait for me.
My maternal great-grandmother had many children and birthed my grandmother en route between Mexico and California and probably not in a hospital because my grandmother’s precise birth date continues to be a mystery.
Her daughter, my grandmother was quite head strong and strict and survived a tough childhood, a difficult marriage, breast cancer, a large tumor in her abdomen, and had severe dementia for over 25 years before passing away last year before Mother’s Day at the age of [roughly] 103. 
My own mother, although just as tough, is in so many ways very different than her own mother.  Thank God, my mom is so much more patient!  Had she not been, I doubt my brother would be alive today!  When I was very young, my mother instilled in me a love for reading, responsibility towards those younger than me, and high moral values.  When I got older she taught me how to dress tastefully (I certainly did not learn that from my Dad!), and TRIED to get me to act more like a demure young lady.  I’m pretty sure she was less successful at that last trait than she intended, but perhaps that’s why I ended up with sons instead of daughters! 
I remember several distinct moments in my life when I REALLY became aware of how much I appreciated all that my Mom had done for me and for the loving caretaker that she continues to be.  The first time I got really sick with the flu after I had moved out; the day I had a miscarriage; the day I was in labor with my first son; the day I had my second son; the days when both kids and I were sick; and the day my oldest had surgery for a torn ACL and all those days in between when I vacillated between wanting to kill my kids and feeling guilty…….for wanting to kill my kids!  I’ll NEVER be the patient, calm mother that she was and is but I’m hopeful that that trait may skip a generation.  Sometimes I’m sad that I’ll never get to be the mother she is to me to my own daughter because I have sons, but then maybe I wouldn’t have been anyway since we’re so different.  I just hope that in the long run, I make her proud no matter what.
And so, we celebrate all us women who are Moms whether we have borne children from our own bodies or not; those of us who sow seeds of love into one another and who see each other for whom we really are.  I honor you and consider it a privilege to speak into your lives.  Happy Mother’s Day everyday!

-Tessa L. Charles

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