Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Friday, February 03, 2006

A young mother I knew

I was going through old pictures the other day and found this one of my mom and I from when I was almost a year old. The inscription on the back notes that it was my first Easter, and that my mom had made the matching dresses we are wearing:o)

My first thought was: "Wow! Too bad I never learned how to sew (very well). Maybe I should would be nice to sew sweet little dresses for my girls (Lord willing) someday." I'm majorly impressed by women who can sew. I'm even more impressed by young mothers who manage to add something as thoroughly difficult (in my opinion) as sewing to their busy schedules.

My second thought was: "Either Mom was using some serious hairspray in this picture, or else it's just the shadows making her hair look so full and fluffy." Believe me...under normal circumstances, it would be pretty much impossible for her hair to look like that...I've inherited that hair, and I know!

Then, my thoughts began to drift, and I began to wonder what my mom's experience of motherhood was like in those early years. From reminiscences I've been party to, I've deduced that I wasn't always the perfect little baby, and things weren't always as easy as they appear in this picture!

As a new mother with a six-week old baby, my mom was uprooted from the Midwestern state she'd lived in since birth and transplanted to the "foreign country" of Texas. No friends or family nearby. No older woman to come alongside and give advice and support. Apparently, I did know how to be fussy, and I was also rather independent (ie, not Ms. Snuggles!). So I'm sure I didn't "give back" in the ways that warm a young mother's heart--cuddling contentedly in her arms, and begging to receive her attention and comfort.

In the years that followed, two more little girls joined our family, and new struggles arose. I'm sure I don't know or understand half of what my mom has gone through as a wife and mother and woman over the years. But I do know that no matter what trials she encountered, my mom has been faithful to her calling as a woman who loves her family and gives herself up for us. She was always there, and she was always giving, whether I appreciated it or not.

The woman in this picture, youthful and vibrant, could have taken on the world and nobody would have called her selfish. In fact, she might have garnered much praise for "accomplishing something important and wonderful," instead of passing her days away on a fussy babies. But she chose to share her days of youth and energy with ME. She chose to give me everything when I couldn't give back. To this day, she still gives me much more than I can ever repay.

Should I have babies of my own, I don't know if I will ever have the skill to sew precious little outfits for them. But I pray that I will have even half of the patience, love and creativity that my Mom put forth in her vocation as wife, mother, teacher and homemaker. I hope I won't give up when the going gets rough. I hope I will somehow attain the willingness to live for others day in and day out, in the hopes that I can pour true meaning and love into someone's life the way my mother did into mine. What a daunting example to strive after!

(Mom, if you read this, I hope I've sufficiently embarrassed you:o)


Blogger Carrie said...

What a lovely tribute to your mom! I love the picture, too. You and your mom look so much alike!! (I mean, you did as a baby too, but now as a young woman, you look so much like your mom looked in that picture!)

I enjoy sewing, but I don't know if I will have the patience to devote to making sweet little dresses like that, if I have daughters. I haven't been tempted to make anything for my boy--but girls would be a lot more fun to sew for. :)

8:02 PM, February 06, 2006  
Anonymous The Happy Feminist said...

What a beautiful photograph, and what a beautiful tribute to your mother! I feel much the same way about mine, so I can very much relate to this post.

The only picayune quibble I would have is that no one would have called her "selfish" if she had chosen a different path. Women who do not have children or who do not stay home with them are constantly accused of selfishness. Of course, women who do stay home are sometimes accused of selfishness too. Somehow, we women can't win for trying, but thank goodness there are folks like your mother who keep their chin up and do their best for their families.

5:03 PM, February 08, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Thank you, ladies:o)

Carrie-I take that as a compliment that I look my mom did!

HF-picayune quibbles never discouraged:o) I think people have varying value systems that determine what behaviours they consider selfish or not--so you're probably right that no matter what choices women make, they'll find someone to disapprove of them!

I think, though, that the prevalent cultural attitude during my mom's younger years was that it was desirable for a woman to pursue a career. (In fact, my mom was the only one on her street and one of the very few in her neighborhood home during the day, and her stories attest to the snubbing she often recieved because of her choices!) In fact, I think it may even be MORE culturally acceptable to stay home NOW than it was back in the early eighties!

11:48 AM, February 10, 2006  

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