Urgent scream from my three-year-old. Every single time he wakes up.
Eye-roll and extra long "o" sound from disgruntled seven-year-old.
I wuv you, Mama.
As my three-year-old places a hand on each side of my face and a sloppy wet kiss on my lips.
I love you the whole much, Mama.
Extra long hug from the seven-year-old at bedtime or anytime she wants me to linger just a little bit longer.
I love being a Mother. But sometimes I do wish I could change my name and hide. And maybe take a nap. Oh and potty alone.
Lately I've been thinking about the various moms in my life. Yes, there are many. Aside from the relationship I have with my own wonderful Mother - I am surrounded by mothers! I am inspired and driven by you. Encouraged by the way you live and love your children. I am not going to name any names here but I wanted to tell these ladies in an indirect way how they have inspired and amazed me.To my Mother:
Thank you. Thank you for the beautiful person that you are, inside and out. Thank you that you have always spoken your mind to me and shared your views of life with me - even when you didn't realize you were doing it. Thank you for inspiring me. Thank you for inspiring others to see and use their natural gifts and talents. Thank you for pursuing your dreams while we were growing up and teaching us the important lessons of perseverance and education and having goals in life. Thank you for putting up with me when I was a selfish brat growing up. Thank you for being involved in my children's lives - no matter the distance. Thank you for laughing with me and crying with me. Thank you for loving me and my brother just as we are - and just as we individually need for you to. I am sorry it took me so long to realize that we both had different needs at different times and needed correction and instruction and love in different forms. Now that I am a mother, I see that all too clearly.To the Mothers of my parents:
These women are both amazing in their own right. I have written about one of my grandmothers here and have been working on a little bio/essay for my other grandmother that will hopefully be published at a different date. These women are so unique and different in how they loved me... but both taught me the value of being true to myself and God and the importance of serving others. And both of my grandmothers were/are VERY good in the kitchen...To the Mother of my husband:
What an amazing woman. I miss her so much. She is one mother that I learned a great deal from and never really had the chance to fully appreciate until it was too late. She was an amazing mother to her children. She served others and she prayed for others. She did this quietly and privately. She was very smart. She taught others and never stopped educating herself. She raised four children and all are wonderful people in their own way - but I am pretty partial to her youngest son. She did good. My husband is thoughtful, sentimental, caring, helpful, and I know that she had a hand in making him the wonderful man that he is. I know that she was proud of her children and I am certain that she would be proud of all of her grandchildren. She loved being a grandmother and she is missed each and every day.To my "other mothers":
There are a handful of women that I still admire and think of as my "other mothers". These women were either friends of my mother or mothers of friends (and sometimes both).
I think it is important for children to be raised by loving and wonderful parents certainly, but I think it is equally important for children to know other adults in their life that reinforce what they are learning in their home. I was blessed as a child in that when I went to stay with a friend, it was in a home in which my parents felt comfortable sending me and they knew that I would have fun and be well cared for. When I was a teenager, this became even more important as we were usually up to something and would literally crowd around our mothers and sing in chorus, "Have we got a deal for you..."
As I have become a mother, I think fondly on these "other mothers" in my life. The Sunday School teachers, the grandmothers of friends that I would sit with in church because both of my parents were either singing in the choir or playing an instrument and I needed someone to "keep me in line", the carpoolers and picker-uppers. The camp counselors and teachers. As I grew up and moved away from home, I began to appreciate these wise and wonderful women even more. Now that I am far from home, more of these "other mothers" have been placed into my life for a hug right when I've needed one. You're never too old for a hug from a "mama".
As a mother myself, I am hoping that I am not only providing my children with similar relationships with mothers other than their own, but that I am doing what I can to be a good "other mother" to the friends of my children.To the moms that never had children of their own:
I was really blessed with a special group of women in my life that were a huge part of raising me. My great aunts. My grandmother had three sisters. Two of these special ladies were never able to have children of their own. That didn't seem to bother them because their other two sisters shared the love with them. It was like having 5 grandmothers! These women, in addition to my grandmothers, taught me so much about caring for others.
Each summer, these brave women would keep my brother and I for a week so that my parents could have a little time away. Usually during that week we would attend Vacation Bible School at their church. We would always go swimming at the community pool and we would eat veggies fresh out of their gardens. One summer they took us to an amusement park and one of these great aunts rode with me on my first roller coaster ride. While we stayed with them, we saw them take food to the sick, bake birthday cakes for friends, place flowers on graves, teach Sunday School at their church, and take vegetables to friends from their gardens.Thank you!
Thank you to the women that I've mentioned here and to the countless women that have "mothered" me at some point in my life. I truly believe that people are placed in our life at just the right time and place to help us become more than we ever knew we could be.
Jennifer Collins is a Graceful Mess.
Living a messy life, full of grace.
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