For the very first interview in The Mom Next Door Series, it seemed obvious that it should be an interview with my own Mom. Now that I'm a Mum, I see my own mother through a new perspective; daily reminding myself in moments of the sheer frustration and deepest joy of parenthood that many years ago, it was my mother who did this exact thing for me. And despite that, because I am still her daughter; there lingers a tinge of indignation; part of me that doesn't see her as just another Mom ("just like me"), but rather "My Mom" said with all the bravado and exasperation of my 13 year old self.
Reading my Mom's interview has given me a greater insight into the Mom she is (and always has been) to my sisters and I. Like looking at her with the fresh eyes of a stranger rather than someone who has known her my whole life.
I always say that this blog is the way that I ensure that if (God forbid) something would ever happen to me, my kids would have my posts to read and get to know who their mother was; what she cared about, how she felt, and what mattered to her. I am honored today to also include a bit of my own mother here now as well, forever.
Who are you? I am a 53 year old woman/wife/daughter/Mother/
|My husband and I with our grandkids at the county fair last year|
What would your pre-mom self be surprised to know about motherhood? No matter the books that you read, or advice that you are given, no one can really tell you how it feels to be a Mother until you are blessed to assume that role. It is one of no greater title. You are the keeper of a tiny person(s) that you gave birth to and your entire life will be spent making sure that person feels the love that you have for them. Your choices and decisions may not go as planned, and your days will seem never ending because of the overwhelming feeling of fatigue. Sometimes you feel like there is so much to do and everyone wants something from you. You are not a 'you' anymore; you are the Mother with all of the responsibility that comes attached.
At times it feels like an eternity of changing, grabbing, packing, hauling, unloading, washing, picking up, sweeping up, wiping tears, fixing boo boos, and constant worrying regarding their safety. Unbeknownst to you at the time, your children are growing and all of this so called chaos is slowly fading away right before your blinking eyes. You just don't know it yet because your days are so full of busy, caring love.
In the years of 1985 and 1989, I was able to realize again the wonderful magic of child birthing upon receiving our middle daughter Kayla and then our baby girl Tasha, respectively.
|Dropping Tabitha off for her first year of college - 2001|
What would your pre-mom self be proud to know about you in motherhood? I grew up the youngest in my family. My Mother was truly a Saint of a lady who had juggled her life around my two older brothers who were in the ''70's Experimental Era' and a husband (my Father) whose life revolved around alcohol and gambling. My years growing up were mostly that of a long (sometimes frightening), confusing phase of childhood. Although I loved my parents, I always felt that if I could just do a little bit more; our home life would somehow turn into a 'normal' life like all of the other kid's lives were.
My Mother loved me from the bottom of her heart and praised me like there was no tomorrow. She truly was the rock that never gave up on the pounding ocean that seemed at times wanting to just swallow her up.
I realize that not all families are fortunate enough to have both parents but with ours, my husband and I were dedicated to working together as a team raising our daughters. Growing up, I knew my relationship with my husband and our teamwork together would be an important role in creating as much as a 'normal' life as possible. We didn't always agree on each other decisions but we chose to stick together with those decisions and I really think that made all the difference during our daughter's upbringing. We truly are so proud of the women that they have become and every now and again we pat our selves on the back with how we have raised them.
|at my daughter Kayla's wedding this year|
We also enforced that there was nothing they could try to get away with that we hadn't already tried ourselves. We spent countless hours playing outside, taking walks in the woods, and fixing up our yard. We believe it built their character, taught them how to handle things, and work and play as a team.
We wanted them to know the importance of small joys; for example that receiving a card or letter in the mail is important because someone had thought about them and made the effort to let them know. Going out to eat at a restaurant was a treat and reward and not a normal way of life. Gifts and presents were at a minimum when money was tight but it was the thought that always counted; our girls learned that money didn't buy a happy family, our togetherness did.
Buba and Jedo worked very hard with providing for their children despite their lack of education and poverty status. Their love and caring ways emanated from both of them and the amount of lessons that they have taught their children and their children's children (including myself) was undoubtedly priceless. I spent many a day at their house watching and learning as it was my safe haven to escape my own family's disarray.
With all of Buba's teachings - as simple and as pure as they were - they completely grew in the core of my being. I was truly amazed that a woman who was practically an uneducated child when she wed, managed to give birth and raise 14 of her own children with no help as we would have in today's world. This lady who was able to teach all of her children to have respect for themselves, respect for others, how to work together as a unit and get life's jobs done. Remarkable in every sense of the word. I can remember when I was about 8 years old, my Buba told me to, "Be kind to your Mother. She is the only Mother that you will ever have". It wasn't until I was older that her advice would truly resonate within my soul though.
|Myself, Buba, and my Mother with baby Tabitha in 1983|
In the year 2010, my own Mother passed away. It was a day I will never forget. It is a feeling that over time may not be as potent, but it is none the less a feeling that still lingers within me every day. A Mother's love is like no other but the love I had for my Mother was just as equal. I miss her more than I ever thought humanly possible. Not only am I truly grateful that she was able to be a part of my life but that she had the opportunity to be a part of my daughter's lives as well. It was on this day, that my Buba's advice when I was only 8 years old finally became crystal clear.
|My Mother with my daughters and I at Tabitha's first baby shower in January 2010.|
|Me and my girls|
The memories I hold dear in my heart are those times I just stopped my everyday chores just to observe them through a Mother's eyes. I was so blessed to have had three little, precious girls. How I miss hearing their innocent little voices and that wonderful sound of them just giggling their own way through life.
|on vacation in the Outer Banks, NC in 1999|