Thursday, May 2, 2013

Mothering and Motherhood

Right before I left to pack up my son from his first year at Ohio State I finished the baby blanket for my new great nephew.  While working on this blanket I really spent a lot of time thinking about when my kids were little.


I remembered how holding them felt just right. They fit perfectly no matter how much they grew.  I remember thinking that I wanted to savor each step of their development, as they met each new milestone.  I have never been the type of Mother that felt she knew everything, and my goodness I have made a ton of mistakes.  I feel like I am a good Occupational Therapist, I don't question that, but Motherhood well it can bring you to your knees.  You wonder if you have done enough or maybe too much.  You are always questionings yourself, was this the right way to address this or should I have said or done something else.


I wonder if my Mother felt that way.  She was very good about not pressuring us and letting us move and develop on our own.  She always was proud of us even when we really didn't deserve it.  I sit by my Mother's bedside in the nursing home now and wish I had the opportunity to ask her more questions about how she felt being a Mother.  You know when you are young, you are the center of the Universe, you really don't take into account your Mother's feelings or her life challenges. She is just your Mom right?  She isn't a real person with thoughts, and hopes and dreams of her own.

My job as a Mother is changing.  I don't have little itty bitty ones anymore.  I don't have to worry about diapers, feedings and nap time.  I think as your children get older your sense of self changes.  I felt this way as my kids entered the dreaded teenage years, and I feel this way now as my oldest is becoming a man.  I helped him move out of his dorm, and felt that this year has escaped me so quickly.  As I drove him to his summer quarters he was giving me directions.  I took him out to lunch and we talked about lots of things.  I felt so strange, Columbus, Ohio is his place and I am just a guest.  I did not feel this before when visiting, maybe because we were consumed with swim meets, this is still a familiar place for me.  But on this visit I had a lot of down time waiting for him to take a test, do his laundry and start packing.  Downtime in a strange place gives you lots of time to contemplate things.  He is moving onto a life of his own, where I am needed less as a Mom and more as..........well I am not so sure yet. 

I am so glad he has made this wonderful University and city his home.  He walks around with confidence, like he belongs there and he does.  He still belongs at home with us, that fact I have to keep reminding myself.  As we flew back home, my lovely son was sleeping with his face towards me, I thanked God for letting me be this beautiful boys Mother.  I also said a prayer that as we transition from more traditional roles, that we can make it all happen smoothly.  I know a boy always needs his Mother, I see that from my husband who cherishes his 94 year old Mother.  It is just that things change, and change is not something I have ever been good at accepting, or welcoming.  

I am so proud of Mr. 19 year old.  He came home with his letter jacket, such a big thing for a freshman to achieve at such a great school.  He has tried hard, faltered some, and got back on his feet and finished his first year at school, far away from home.  He is home for 11 days before he goes back to train and eventually take a summer class.  I am happy for the time we have him here and so thankful that he is holding his own when he is not at home. 

Downtime also lets you do some exploring.  Besides the bookstore and Target for much needed bedding and towels for Mr. 19 year old, I found two very nice yarn stores.  The Yarn Store was exactly 6.8 miles from my hotel and  believe me I felt like I hit the jackpot.  An amazing store with so many different types of yarn and gadgets.  I picked up some Lamb's Pride to make an African Flower crochet bag and this lovely sheep that holds your scissors and hooks from Lantern Moon.  Believe me I will be returning to this store many times over the next few years. 

Oh and before I go I read an amazing book on my trip.  The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley.  It is a fascinating read, I was hooked from the first page.  It also involves motherhood and so much more.  I was so disappointed when it was over, I wanted the story to continue so much.  The only problem with finishing this book is that I read that this is the first book by this author, which is a shame because if she had more I would have bought every single one.

Enjoy your day.

 

34 comments:

Preeti said...

Loved reading your post ! :) best wishes to your son !
Your African flower looks beautiful!

TACIStudio said...

Wow... You make me think about my life and this challenges are coming soon for me also.
I'm glad you had a little time to go to the knitting store and start a new project. That is always a good distraction :) I'm certain you are a great mom and your children are so very lucky to have such a great mom :)

Cache-Mire said...

What a lovely post. I share your sentiments about motherhood and child raising. Wait until grandchildren arrive. Then it really hits home! Can't wait to see your new project!

Hugs,
Terri

Jeanmarie DiTaranto said...

Such a thought-provoking post! I know I'm lucky that my mom is healthy and active, and that I can talk to her every day on the phone.

But until now, I never considered how fortunate I have been to hear her feelings on what motherhood was like for her. It was always just something we talked about incidentally when comparing my kids to me and my brothers and sisters.

This post reminded me to be more grateful for that opportunity. Thanks, Meredith!

Nana Go-Go said...

Cache-Mire (what a clever name!)is right. Grandchildren fill that humungous void which is created when you have an empty nest and the trick there is to stay in the background and come forward as and when you're required - the rewards from all concerned are priceless.You're doing a tremendous job as a Mother and the fact your boy WANTS to come home is testament to that fact. My own Mother was and still can be, a very difficult woman but I have learned very well from her mistakes and mothered my own children in a completely different way,i.e. MY WAY!I think they appreciate it. Great and thought-provoking most, Meredith.Happy visiting with your Boy.xxx

Nana Go-Go said...

ps What pattern (besides the African Flower!) are you using for your bag?

Stitchy Mc Floss said...

Oh Dear Mere, your words were so eloquent. I hope Mr. 19 year old reads your blog, if he does not, you need to send him this post. I am more than sure he has all these feelings you wrote about and more. I am sure becoming a man is something scary and yet awesome for him at the same time.

Your roles may change a little, but he will always need his Mother, everyone needs their Mother. But now he will become your friend, too. That is something that I am sure will become such a wonderful blessing to you.

You are a wonderful person and Mother. He will be ok. Let him use his wings to fly, and I assure you, he will come back, he knows that home is always there...and that's something that a lot of people don't have...so he is very blessed indeed.

I can't wait to see his face on the USA team for the Olympics one day! :)

Blessings and hugs always dear friend.

Dee said...

You write so beautifully (and honestly) of the challenges mom-hood brings.

DS turned 30 this week. He was recently laid off. I had to remember not to try jumping in to "fix" everything. He is capable. He is ADULT! LOL

I will have to check out that book. I'm ALWAYS looking for a good book. Are you on Goodreads?

Betsy said...

Meredith, I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes as I read your post. Thank goodness you finished with a yarn shop visit! BTW-I saw that exact sheep from Lantern Moon at Paradise Fibers yesterday. It's sooo cute.

I know how you feel about mothering. The part about it being their city??? Imagine being in Tokyo with your youngest, your baby, and he's guiding you all over this humongous city without a single wrong turn or mis-step! I fear my children don't need me much any longer and although I know that's what life is supposed to be, us working ourselves out of a job, I can't help but miss the "old days" of rocking them to sleep and kissing boo-boo's.

My own Mom died very unexpectedly of a heart attack when I was just 29. We had no warning, no time to get last words of wisdom from her and I so regret that. So, I try to spend as much time with our kids as their schedules allow and always, always let them know how much we love them. The last thing I want is to make them feel guilty for living their own lives.

Thank you for a though provoking post. And now, I will go dry my eyes and pick up my knitting needles!

Blessings to you my friend,
Betsy

Betsy said...

Meredith, I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes as I read your post. Thank goodness you finished with a yarn shop visit! BTW-I saw that exact sheep from Lantern Moon at Paradise Fibers yesterday. It's sooo cute.

I know how you feel about mothering. The part about it being their city??? Imagine being in Tokyo with your youngest, your baby, and he's guiding you all over this humongous city without a single wrong turn or mis-step! I fear my children don't need me much any longer and although I know that's what life is supposed to be, us working ourselves out of a job, I can't help but miss the "old days" of rocking them to sleep and kissing boo-boo's.

My own Mom died very unexpectedly of a heart attack when I was just 29. We had no warning, no time to get last words of wisdom from her and I so regret that. So, I try to spend as much time with our kids as their schedules allow and always, always let them know how much we love them. The last thing I want is to make them feel guilty for living their own lives.

Thank you for a though provoking post. And now, I will go dry my eyes and pick up my knitting needles!

Blessings to you my friend,
Betsy

Tree Hugger - Suzan said...

The ever changing stages in our life!! It's so exciting when the kids graduate from college and get that "real" job with medical benifits. But then the house becomes too quiet and soon you miss the comings and goings of your kids. Your 19 yr. old is going to a great school - my husband is a 3rd generation buckeye!! Enjoy your summer and your holidays! Just keep the lines of communicagtion open and they'll be around forever!! Have fun!

Plain Jane said...

I'm right there with you. Big Sis is just about to finish her first year at university and we were expecting her home for the long summer hols - now she and her friends are looking for somewhere to rent starting in July - oh! She is absolutely loving London and I am so pleased for her - each time we see her now she has grown that bit much more independent but last time I did have to stop myself welling up when she mentioned going back as going 'home'. As mums we can take pride that we have brought up such well adjusted beings - well done us! Jane x

Bridget said...

This is a lovely post, Meredith!

And your blanket looks so great, I love the colors.

What a nice reminder of your yarn store visit, with the little sheepie tool holder.

serendipity said...

This bought a tear to my eye. I know exactly how you feel. While my eldest was at Uni and coming home quite a lot it still felt like this was her home. Now she's working in London the balance has shifted and she's all grown up. We just have to let them go and hope they're ok!

kathyinozarks said...

I enjoyed your post very much-I am not a mother-except over the years to many fury animal critters and lots of exotic birds-so I could still relate in a small way.
I really love your baby blanket, and always so fun to find a new store for our art and crafts-hugs

Gerda said...

Thank you for your post.I loved reading it,it gives words to my thoughts. My eldest boy is now on university for his second year,and I still miss him, and I'm so proud of the way he is coping with everything.
Groetjes, Gerda
(love your baby blanket)

by Teresa said...

The things you're feeling and thinking, those of us who are mothers have all thought them too. You never know if you're making the right decisions, you parent by the seat of your pants. You have college graduations ahead, watching them find a career and job, finding a spouse, marriage and grandchildren, then you can worry about a lot more things. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Ladybird Diaries said...

What a beautiful post. My daughter is only six but I feel she is already growing up so quickly and it only seems like yesterday she was a wee baby in my arms. Your post has really made me think and really appreciate my time as a mum and also think about my own mum. Thank you.
M x

Joy said...

Thank you for a beautiful post Meredith - for sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings, and I wish your son the very best - as well as you and the rest of your loved ones. Joy x

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Oh, Meredith... reading your post brings back so many memories... yes, our roles change... our self-concepts change... each phase has its challenges and its rewards... sounds like you have done a wonderful job mothering so far... I am sure you will continue to do so in this next phase... blessings and hugs ~ tanna

gaia said...

Having two sons;one a teenager and other only four years old keeps me busy and reading your lovely post really helps.Best wishes... GAia.

Delia Ryder said...

Oh Meredith I am sat here and the tears are rolling down my face and I cant actually speak I know just how you feel you did an amazing job raising your son he sounds like a wonderful son and very grounded. You should be very proud of your self. hugs, dee x

Gail said...

Lovely baby blanket. I have a 19 year old too, and he is my oldest. He is at home still, we live in England so he is working and doing classes from the University of Maryland, but he is growing up so fast. And talks of moving on and I absolutely hate the idea and dread that day but know it will come soon. Lovely post.

Crystal Rose Cottage said...

Oh Meredith, you are going through this time as all of us mothers have gone through who realize their kids are not children anymore and the time is coming to le them go and fly on their own. I always tried to remember that our purpose as parents was to give our kids wings and let them fly. They will come back to you....believe me they do! The next time you are in town or if you have some more down time, we should make arrangements to meet at the Yarn Store. I think you are speaking of the one on Kenny Rd? I used to work at that Target near campus when it first opened. I didn't work for Target but I was a rep for another company and called on that store twice a week. After you left Tuesday the weather has been just perfect! I love your border on the baby blanket...the colors are great together! ~Hugs, Patti

Karen said...

Meredith, this is such a beautiful post. It brought tears to my eyes. I'm in the same transition, trying to figure what my role as mother is, now that my kids are leaving the nest. Being a mother never ends, but this stage of our lives opens up so many possibilities for other things, too.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams said...

Transitions are such a great part of life, it's wonderful to be a part of them as they happen, and not just to look back and realize they had happened.

I love a good book, so I am going to check this one out at the library.

Jen

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

Hi Meredith, you often voice the same things I am feeling. We are still making our summer plans for the States and Yusef is just that much closer to starting his first year of college. It is a very strange time. I think as long as we question ourselves and consider where we are, then we are doing the right thing and growing and changing as we should. Hugs to you, Tammy

Kris said...

Oh Meredith, I have not been online much for a few days, and I missed this post. What a touching, and heartfelt post this was. Every Mom can identify with those feelings! And you are so right when you say that Motherhood can bring you to your knees. Oh how it does!
Congratulations to your son. What an accomplishment for him. His jacket, his first year away from home, freshman year under his belt....what a lot of growing up he has done!!
And the yarn shops....a nice bonus. Enjoy your time with your man/child while he is home. And I will look for that book I am almost done with The Last Summer. LOVING it!!!
xo Kris

Grayseasailor said...

The transitions of motherhood as I am experiencing them are different than your experiences because I foster parented two girls for three years, had a miscarriage, adopted two sons and had two daughters naturally, and am a good bit older than you as well, but we certainly share the wonder of motherhood: I wonder how to care for this uniquely wonderful child :-)

Since I lived in NY and my parents lived in CA for most of the years our kids were at home with us it was challenging having deep conversations about our parenting experiences, but I am grateful for those we had...getting to know my parents as much as they were willing to share...

I looked up the review of the book you just finished and can imagine that it would be very thought provoking. I just finished a much lighter read, Debbie Macomber's Starting Now: A Blossom Street Novel which I read mainly for her characters love of yarn :-)

Hope you are yours are having happy days together...making more good memories!

Love with hugs,
Gracie

Hanne said...

What a beautiful post, every word is so true. I have 4 kids, 3 boys and 1 girl from 25 to 17 years. We will always be their mother and and its such a joy to see them grow into wonderful young people, though I miss the time when I could kiss them as much as I wanted to :)

Liz said...

This was such a sweet post. I could picture you with your son and it reminds me to cherish every moment of Ireland's childhood. I looked back at photos of the day she was born this morning. I wish time would slow down...I know I will be a basket case when she goes off to college and gains more independence. Oh well, what can we do? Thank you for this post...it will motivate me to spend more quality time with Ireland today.

Rose Red said...

What a great post. Thank you for writing this and capturing what it is like to be a mother (and a daughter). My mum is coming to visit next week (just in time for Mother's Day, as it happens) and I will be sure to talk to her about some of these things.

kathy b said...

THE COLLEGE back and forth is so trying on our hearts I think.
Mr. sounds great!!! I enjoyed your musings....

I LOVE that sheep and I may have to go find one

THe purple crochets are the BEST Meredith> I love them and wouldnt hang them on a tree!!

kathy b said...

THE COLLEGE back and forth is so trying on our hearts I think.
Mr. sounds great!!! I enjoyed your musings....

I LOVE that sheep and I may have to go find one

THe purple crochets are the BEST Meredith> I love them and wouldnt hang them on a tree!!