We are on the heels of Mother’s Day, when there has been much reflection on mothering and motherhood and many have taken pause to recognize the women in their life.
At our house we went on a couple of rides testing out our new bike trailer – a huge hit with my son – enjoyed blueberry pancakes and take-out sushi.
After many years waiting tables, I have no interest in spending Mother’s Day in an overcrowded restaurant.
But for reasons far beyond this commercialized recognition of a critical vocation, motherhood and its greater implications have very much been on my mind these last few weeks.
And as I write this I’m doing the ultimate juggling act of a working mother, home with a sick little guy while doing my best to meet deadlines that wait for no fever or runny nose. Thank goodness for the technology that allows me to do this, along with very long naps and early bedtimes.
Earlier this month I was a guest at the Philolectian Society Tea, to take pictures of the recent scholarship recipients. Seven young women from area high schools were awarded $1,200 scholarships from this local organization that celebrates the love of learning.
There was no doubt, as we heard the background of each of these accomplished young ladies, that they are destined for great things. They gave me such a great feeling of faith and pride in this younger generation of girls.
But the best part was looking at their moms in the audience while their daughters were being introduced. They were absolutely glowing.
I wanted to know their secrets in raising such smart, well-spoken girls.
Is it nature or nurture? I’m expecting it’s a little bit of both.
I met another amazing mother a couple of weeks ago – Kari Olavson. I spent some time on a Monday afternoon at the Anoka apartment she shares with husband Kirk and her son Jake. We have a lot in common – both moms of 3-year-old boys with husbands who work long hours in manufacturing jobs.
But Kari’s role as a mother is so much more than most of us experience. Jake has a severe form of epilepsy that has denied his brain a chance to develop.
Her days are spent caring for a 3-year-old that is developmentally an infant.
I was in awe of her attitude toward caring for a child that has extreme special needs.
When I left the Olavsons I pledged to go about my own mothering with a little more strength and a lot more grace. So far I’m batting about .500 on that one.
My own mom would have turned 61 this weekend, but her life was cut way too short when she died at the age of 34. I would never choose this for myself, or for anyone. But her absence has meant I have learned from so many different kinds of mothering over the years. I have watched closely as my girlfriends became mothers, hoping to pick up their tricks of the trade. I’m not afraid to ask questions. I think that it has also made me go about my own mothering differently. Time together is not guaranteed.
So, if you can give a mother one gift this year – give her a break. Maybe it’s a break from the daily grind. Or maybe just a break from judgement. There’s more to every mother’s story than most of us will ever know.
Mandy Moran Froemming can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org