Friday, May 20, 2016

Reflections On a Time Warp In Mothering

I am the pleased and proud mama to three awesome homeschooled kiddos. All of them have followed the homeschool path for the duration, at least until they were able to begin their college courses. Tomorrow my oldest graduates, and I can't help but reflect and wonder where all the time has gone.
Three months old
I can't believe that I was chosen to parent this beautiful, brilliant, and resilient soul. I've been blessed beyond measure. We cut our teeth on each other- he, literally, and me, as a first time mother with precious little babysitting experience to bolster her maternal insecurities.

Early life consisted of singing, stories, and lots of NPR while rocking. Oh, and burp clothes, LOTS of burp clothes (to combat the epic GERD). It was a quiet, gentle beginning, and we both thrived in it. And he grew.

Before I knew it, siblings were added into the mix and excitement built. Our house was no longer quiet, but it was filled with love. Preschool began and we both adjusted to having a couple of hours apart. While I enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with his younger siblings, I missed cuddling with my boy. It was always a joy to pick him up and ask him about his morning.

Although at the time the days seemed to slip by slowly, in retrospect they were speeding. Goodnight Moon was replaced by The Boxcar Children, which was replaced by Peter Pan. I caught my breath when I saw he'd moved on to reading independently and fell down the hole that is Rosemary Sutcliff and Brian Jacques. I began to see that I was in a space/time continuum that was misleading. Time was moving too quickly!

Jacob continued to grow, develop, and experience new things. I tried to live in the moment. Too often, my head was spinning and I lost bond, to support, to simply dwell. There were just too many tasks to complete. Jacob moved, seemingly overnight, into teenage years. Astoundingly huge growth spurts, uncomfortable voice changes, and algebra all appeared (and eventually passed). I began to get hints of the future man that he would become, and I smiled then.

Growing up

Tomorrow Jacob graduates from high school. I can honestly say I've enjoyed every bit of the journey- the good, the bad, and the ugly. I've made more mistakes than I would like to admit, and if he ends up in therapy over them, I give him full permission to blame me. I have broad shoulders. I have loved him deeply. I have shared my passion for literature. He has a piece of my soul.
His acceptance letter to Stetson University.
In a very short time he will head to Stetson University where he plans to major in English and either Business or Environmental Science. Whatever he chooses, it will be wonderful. He is heading off to bright horizons. Jacob, I love you, honey. I'm so proud of you, and I will continually pray for you as you make your way in this big and frequently scary world. Make it a better place. Love deeply, serve God, and cultivate friendships. Be blessed. And remember to come home to visit me occasionally!



Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother Love

Mother's Day is a mixed bag for me. After all, my mother is no longer with me and I miss her more than words can express. A part of me bled when she died, and I am forever missing a piece of my heart. I will never get over her loss although the sharp-edged knife pain has smoothed and softened with time. But love lasts forever, and her love is still with me even though she is gone. To celebrate her and the other moms I love in my life, I decided to spend this day, our special day, doing something that she loved best.

Many years ago on Mother's Day, my sweet mother-in-law used to ask for the gift of time from her boys. She called it a "Work Party," and I decided to ask for the same, a work party in my sadly neglected garden. I bravely faced the backyard which nature has been stubbornly and decidedly taking over, but I wasn't alone. The kids and my husband were by my side. We got down to business.

It took several hours, but we gradually uncovered the beauty that was hiding there all along beneath the weeds and detritus of clay pots, broken bird feeders, and forgotten rugs. While it was warm, it wasn't Florida hot, and we had time and comfort to enjoy the process. As we hauled bag after bag of weeds away (it was a big job), I started to really see my surroundings. Looking around, I noticed some gorgeous flowers, and I couldn't help but think of my mother, mother-in-law, and grandmothers. Soon I began to mentally give unique flowers to each of these special ladies who meant (and continue to mean) so much to me. I snapped some photos, and this is my gift to these special ladies. I love you all!

For my mother, a single magnolia bloom. As big as a dinner plate, these blooms always delighted her.

I couldn't resist getting a close-up!
For my sweet mother-in-law, Linda. This flower reminds me of how
elegant you always look. You are beautiful both inside and out!

For my grandmother, Charlotte. An old-fashioned rose for an old-fashioned
lady. I love you always, Grandma!
For my other beautiful grandmother, Helen. You would have loved these
colors, and they would look so beautiful with your lovely, dark hair! 
These day lillies came from Nana's yard. When they bloom each spring, I am
reminded of Nana and her sweet Southern charm.
And a flower for me. Gardenias are my personal favorite. They starred in my bridal bouquet and their fragrance
never fails to draw me back to that wonderful day when I said, I do.
Taking a page from Mom, I found this blossom for my sister, who reminds me so much of Mother.
A fully opened magnolia blossom.

Finally, I found a flower for my daughter...

While she isn't a mother, she is part of who has crafted me into the mother I am today. I am grateful to her and my sons. Because of them, I can claim sisterhood with the greatest profession in the world... Mother.