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Christian and Socially-Conscious…One Woman's Expression

Archive for the tag “mothers”

Mother’s Day Reflections

Mother’s Day is approaching, so naturally I find myself pondering the lives of my mother, my grandmothers, and so forth.  Interestingly, as I age, I find myself often thinking about the times in which the women of which I come from lived (and live).  As I continue to grow as a woman, my appreciation for their lives noticeably deepens.  No longer do my thoughts start and stop with gift purchases and activities when I prepare for Mother’s Day.  More so now than ever,  I have an awareness that the celebration of Mother’s Day is a celebration everyday.  I have my mom to thank for this.  I see how she shows her love for her mother daily.  Interestingly, because of her example I take note when I see other women and men do this for their mothers.  Their sweet gestures oftentimes are just between mother and child—unless the mother publicizes it, a child’s sincerity rarely does.

Mom and Daughter

As I observe the placement of women (our expected roles, the abuses many suffer, the stories others tell about us, the messages we tell ourselves), not only in this country but around the world, I search for indicators of better days for the girls of tomorrow.  I listen to the stories my mother tells, the stories my grandmothers tell.  I listen and I wish I heard them earlier.  Their successes make me smile.  Their struggles bring me sadness.  These women are wise and knowledgeable.  They are strong, stronger than I ever thought.  The lessons they share aid me in life, even our disagreements are not easily dismissed.  A younger me would insist to be heard.  Now, I am finding increasingly more value by listening.  Through their voices, I find abounding treasure.  In them, I find sources for obtaining honest, vast, intergenerational viewpoints from women.  Unfortunately, these expressions are regularly devalued in mainstream society.

As I think about my love for my mother,  I cannot help but to acknowledge my mother’s love for me.  I have seen her sacrifice for me.  Still, I know there are numerous sacrifices that she has made for me of which I will never know.  Without hesitation, she tells me to be me.  She supports my growth.  She believes in me.  She loves me.  I love her.

Mother’s Day…..a day when many will exchange gifts and restaurants will be full….a day when graves will be visited and memories will flood minds….Mother’s Day….appreciating her….everyday.

A Message From Grandmother

I had a conversation with one of my grandmothers this evening.  If we are fortunate enough, we all should take time out of our busy lives to listen to their messages.  Admittedly, we do not agree on everything.  To me, it is not important that we do.  Our love supersedes any disagreement.

Mother-Daughter

There was a time when I would feel the need to express all of my views to my grandmother.  If a subject matter arose and her opinion differed from mine, I would not hesitate to let her know it.  Naively, I thought we were just having a conversation.  What I had not realized was how passionate a speaker I can be at times.  (In addition, I had not learned the power of my words.) 

I am grateful to my mother, however, for her constant reminders to let it go.  How silly I must have looked to my mother.  There I would be, intensely arguing my position to a woman whose viewpoints were significantly shaped by decades of life experiences, not mere textbooks and news articles.  Because of my mother’s guidance and example, I have since learned that I gain more wisdom in the long-run by unilaterally agreeing to disagree in silence.  In truth, these disagreements do not happen much.  When they do, however, I am more mindful of how to express myself and when to let her talk without interruption.  By creating an environment in which she feels comfortable expressing herself, I can enjoy chats like the one we had tonight.  I can experience her telling me that she loves me, her laughter, her joy.  I can hear more of her life, her challenges, her victories, and her wants for my life.  She can bestow within me insight and hope for a better tomorrow; I believe in its possibility because I can see that her “tomorrows” are better.

Oh how I love seeing the brightness in my grandmother’s face when she smiles.  It makes me happy.  Her love is a blessing, as well as her honesty.  Without knowing it, she has taught me to always consider the BIG PICTURE of communication.  What is its purpose?  What is the heart of the speaker?  How important is the topic of discussion to me, really?

I do not expect, nor do I prefer, those in my intimate circle to be carbon copies of myself.  There are particular character traits that each must have, but I appreciate being a part of a diverse, mature circle.  I am stronger for it.  I am wiser because of it.  Certainly, I am more blessed.

Mommy Dedication

Curiosity got the best of me. I guess it was bound to happen. The day finally arrived when I did the math and discovered my mom’s age when she had me. I was a student in law school thinking about the pressures of life—past, present, and future—when the thought snuck into my consciousness of what my mom was doing at my age.

Interestingly, prior to that moment I did not know her age at my birth. I could have asked her, but I never did and she never said. I guess it was one of those things that never comes up. Why would it? It was not a secret, just not relevant I guess.

In knowing what my mom was doing at my age, I thought maybe I could get some insight, some encouragement. Before that moment, I had much respect for my mother. Matter of fact, I would have argued that I could not have had more respect for her. I was naïve.

So, there I sat doing a mental calculation. Then, I used paper and pen. I remember doing the math twice, just to make sure. Suddenly I felt great emotions invade my body—those of significant gratitude, love, respect, strength, and admiration all bundled up in excitement. That was the day I realized that my mom has a life, a real life like those I have read about, with stories to share and that I should ask her to share them. It sounds crazy right? Of course she has a life full of stories to share you may be thinking. That part did not surprise me as much. It was the part that I should ask her to share them that gave me greater pause.

Mom and Daughter

When I thought about the stresses I was having at that time as a single, childless young woman during a time when this country had supposedly progressed in so many ways, I nearly cried at the thought of my mom’s sacrifices in deciding to have me and of her sacrifices I know she has made since my arrival. My mom was one of the first students to integrate the university of which she is an alumnae. Of course she has stories to share! Now, I ask her more questions.

In my mom’s strength, I became humbled. Now that I have become a woman, one knowledgeable of historical and modern day issues, I am able to appreciate her even more. She is so generous, always quick to lend a helping help with a smile. She is wise, patient, and smart. I love my mom and look forward to understanding the world through her lens even more.

It is funny that moms can be easily overlooked so often, in so many ways. Whenever I wanted to hear stories of how it used to be, I would ask a grandparent. Rarely would I toss the question to one of my parents. (My father would more readily share his experiences without the need for the question though.)

I have discovered that my mom loves to share her life stories with me and I love to hear them. If you have the opportunity, do not waste it. Get to know your mother, as both a mother and as a person. Let her know that you love her, as both a mother and as a person. Watch her smile.

Mommy Messages

I saw this Dove commercial and found myself thinking about what body image messages I may have internalized from my mother. In case you have not seen it, this is the commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pqknd1ohhT4
Truth is, I don’t remember my mom talking about her body much. This is not to say that she didn’t have insecurities. I just don’t recall her talking about them. I do remember, however, her commenting on how she loved her calves. It wasn’t like she walked around and said this a lot, but I can recall on several occasions when she would speak positively about them.

My mom played tennis as a child. When she would talk about her calves, she would also mention her involvement in sports. I, in turn, interpreted her conjunction to mean that the development of her calves were the result of her playing sports. Who knows if she meant it that way?

In high school I played sports. It was then when people would first begin to compliment my calves. All of those running and weight-lifting drills helped to bring them out (I guess). Admittedly, I have always loved my calves because they (are and) look strong like my mom’s. It’s funny how children pick up on the slightest things, both spoken and unspoken.

In thinking about it, my mom never made a big deal about wearing make-up. If she puts some on, it’s really light. This is probably why I have no problem being in public without make-up. I love my skin color and embrace my smartness. Yes, my mom loves her skin color and she’s pretty smart too. On the other hand, it did not take long for me to understand the importance of getting my hair straighten. I don’t know which came first, watching my mom get her hair straighten or sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen getting my hair pressed. Either way, I understood its messaging. Today, I do not put any hair straighteners on my hair. I actually prefer it in its natural state and have not worn it straighten in any style in years. This is not to say that I am opposed to it; I just have not. Again, I made this hair decision after my mom made hers.

These examples could be coincidental or they may illustrate that even in adulthood mothers are a powerful influence on body image messaging. I think mothers are more influential than the messages we receive from society and from our peers. I am not so sure if all mothers realize this, that it is a part of their legacy. Dove does and I appreciate its commercial. It made me think about myself and about the state of girls today. I wonder if they were asked, what their responses would be. I wonder if some mothers, based on their daughters answers, would try to rewrite the script.

Mother-Daughter

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