As I look back at my life and how I've come to where I am as a person and now as a mother I am thankful for all that my mother did for me, mostly be being who she is and guiding me as she has done and continues to do.
The greatest gift my mother gave me was BELIEF. Not in the eternal sense but belief in myself. To know ones own strengths and weaknesses, to know your capabilities , to believe when you doubt, to trust your instincts, and to trust that being who you are and true to yourself will be your best guide in life, is not an easy thing to teach a child. I see this as my mother's greatest capacity as she not only instilled these values in me, but as a teacher I see her guiding the children in her care year after year and passing on her wisdom to those children and parents. I suppose being in a Montessori classroom for over 30 years now she has benefited from having the same children for 3 years to work her magic. And often she has siblings and relatives that also pass by. At home we joke that she is our "Strega Nonna".
This really struck me while I was preparing for my home birth with my second child. After she was born and my mother flew here to be with me, my midwife pointed out that I'm so lucky to have a supporting mother who carries with her the wisdom of the past, the wisdom of how to truly care for another person, and who understands the fragility of new life. She knew to be there to care for me so that I could care for my child, she knew to think for me and anticipate my needs before I even knew what they were. She knew to tell me to slow down and enjoy the peace and love of this new life in my arms, she taught me to respect my time with my child giving them undivided attention when nursing so that a stronger bond could be developed.
She was there for me with both my children, guiding and passing on what she had learned from her mother, a mother of 7. In her hands lay the wisdom of two generations and I hope that it goes from me to my children. My mother has only known the true and innocent love of children. In her lifetime she has only had 1 job, being an educator. My sisters and I joke, but it really is a beautiful truth that my mother carries with her the innocence of a child since her life is spent with us, the children in her class, and now her grandchildren. Her dedication to the child rivals that of Dr. Montessori in my eyes. As much as I can credit Dr. Montessori on her work, to me, the wisdom of my mother is far greater as it carries both the Montessori philosophy and also a cultural philosophy that is unique to my family.
The gravitas of being a mother is not in how we parent, but in what we pass on to our children. Who we are and how we are with our children are sentiments that are absorbed by the child, and that is what will be life-long. To preoccupy ourselves with the mundane rituals will only be a distant memory to them, as it is to us from our childhood.
The relationship a mother has with a daughter is one thing, but to raise a boy who will one day be a man is also worth acknowledging. I am fully aware that my husband didn't raise himself. So, for him to be an understanding, gentle, and kind human being is also the influence of his mother.
My mother recently said something that really struck with me: as a parent you spend the best times worrying about if you're doing it right and about the small things. As a grandparent you get to enjoy the grandchildren for who they are and and embrace the things you missed out in your children, as a parent. It's sad that you miss out on just enjoying your own children.
Well, this hit home. I don't want to miss out and not enjoy my children at this stage. Worrying about something I will ultimately have no control over is truly a waste of time and energy. I am thankful and lucky to have an amazing mother in my life. I know this, and I don't expect my children to feel the same about me, but I hope that if I treat my mother with respect and I honor who she is and what she has to teach me, then my children can bare witness to respecting me as their mother.
Like it or not, know them or not, only a mother brings us into this world, and simply taking a moment to respect and honor that another human being did this for us is worth a day.
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