Sunday, May 11, 2014

FYI: Mothers and Angels

"The errand of angels is given to women."

This is the first Mother's Day I haven't hosted a gathering of siblings to celebrate the mothers among us and the memories of the mothers who have gone before us. It's nice to not be so busy today but I also miss the gathering. Not to mention the distraction. It is such an amazing gift to be a mother myself. Nothing is better then the three smiling faces who greeted me this morning (even if it was a bit early for my taste). But there is still that twinge of missing my own mother. The one person who loved me the longest and most unconditionally, and who knew me the best. I miss her encouragement and honest advice and enthusiasm for all good things, especially her family.

I am awed today by the blessing of a good mother, and mother-in-law. I would have liked to have had them here longer but I had them. And I still have them. They are examples in so many large and small ways. I was thinking of my elegant mother-in-law yesterday when I was getting ready for a formal event. She was admired for her grace and style, but those weren't her best qualities. She was incredibly generous and smart and loving and a great sport! She raised an incredibly good son with whom I share my life. She was so thrilled to be a grandmother. Every child deserves a mother such as these and I hope I can emulate them in some way for my daughters. 

"One of the best ways to have a little bit of heaven in your home is to have someone you love in heaven."
My friend, Suzi, shared this anonymous quote with me today.

I know these women are parenting me still in ways I don't understand. I imagine them consulting with each other and cheering me on. I've felt them flanking me when I've felt lonely for them on my daughters' birthdays. I hope they will nudge and inspire me in the important things that lie ahead. (Please, oh please....) Parenting is the most challenging, rewarding and instructive thing I've done. Thank goodness for these influences.

"There are few things more powerful than the prayers of a righteous mother." 
source: Boyd K. Packer

My mother prayed me into my own motherhood. I know she did. And she promised me she would continue to pray for me after her death. Thank you, Mom. 

I love to think about the generations of women who preceded me. I wish I could chart the qualities, talents, personality traits and physical characteristics they passed on to their daughters and eventually to me. It's fascinating to think about how they've shaped me. 

My mother's mother, Verla, lost her own mother when she was eighteen. She was so capable and an incredible example of enduring to the end. What poise she had no matter her circumstance. She maintained high standards and was a woman of few words but we had some tender conversations in the years between my mother's death and hers. She was my confidante. I knew she loved me very much. And I owe her for the joy I find in sewing: she sewed for and taught my mother, who sewed for and taught me, and I cherish the handmade things she gave to me.

My father's mother, Lola, set a dinner table that was unparalleled. Food was a manifestation of her love. She made every sort of homemade relish and preserve and bread and cookies. I loved her sugar cookies with a slivered almond on top and her mustard pickles. She was a horsewoman in the mountain west and a dress model in San Francisco and after she was married went from a comfortable city life to the hard work of a farm. She raised a large family and never ceased taking care of them and worrying over them despite her own illnesses. She loved to read and watch basketball games and knitted sweaters for her grandchildren. I still have the monogrammed set she knit for me when I was a baby.

I envy the gathering of these women in a place I cannot visit. I envy too the gathering of mothers and daughters here. How amazing it is to be able to pick up the phone, or stop in and visit, to ask your mother for advice! 

Thank goodness for the other women who mother my children: My sisters and sisters-in-law who support me and all my funny ways, and love my family without judgement. My friend who watched Audrey from 3 months of age when I worked part time and has since cared for all my girls when I've worked or had an appointment or just needed some help. She is like a sister to me. My mother's best friend who remembers my girls' birthdays and lets them climb in her lap for teasing and hugs. A neighbor with an open pool for swimming and another who always has German candies for them. The woman who lives behind us and is teaching Audrey to quilt! The girls' great aunts who send emails and packages. Their teachers at school, church, swimming and music. I appreciate the individual ways they care for and nurture my girls. And I am so grateful for my friends who are raising children now too and teach me by their examples. They had wonderful mothers who helped them into the women they are.

Motherhood: It's the highest, holiest service assumed by humankind. It's the definition of selfless service. It's both a daunting responsibility and a glorious opportunity.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers and women who mother.

My "FYI" posts share news or a perspective about something that's been on my mind. You can read them all here.


Rima Family said...

Such lovely photos and a beautiful tribute to motherhood!

Nanna Chel said...

That was a lovely post to read about mothers. I am sorry you have lost your own mum at what must have been a fairly young age. My mum died a few years ago at 97 so I feel for those who lose their mum so much earlier in life. Your mum would be proud of you I am sure.

Glenda said...

What a beautiful tribute to women of all kinds. Your words are so eloquent and paints such a lovely story. I too lost my own mother 3 years ago and was especially missing her on Mother's Day. My heart goes out to you as my own children were much older than yours when we lost her. Nothing ever replaces the love of your mother. Your mother and grandmother are indeed looking down from above and beaming with pride!

Anonymous said...

Gracias por este post tan agradable, me has echo recordar a las mujeres de mi familia, que también han sido luchadoras y cariñosas. Tengo dos hijas mayores que las tuyas y he luchado por ellas, aunque siempre piense que podía haberlo hecho mejor, son dos mujeres nobles y muy apegadas a la familia y nos reímos mucho. Feliz día de la madre para ti y un beso desde Sevilla. Ani.

Elasha said...

This is a beautiful post, Anneliese. Your STYLO post and photos blew me away, but this one touched my soul.

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