Saturday, May 12, 2012

What kind of Mother are you?

I used to describe my upbringing as being almost military in its discipline.  And yet I have memories that are more like Downton Abbey or Little Women.  I don't know what kind of Mom my son will think I am when he's an adult.  I do my best, sometimes.  But I do know the Moms I admire.  So here's a tribute to those mothers who have shaped me, and those who I hope to emulate in some way.

My Mom:  I am blessed with a wonderful mother.  She has done her best, and that's pretty darn good, to raise her 12 children in a way that was strict, but loving and leading us to the right paths.  When I was theater major in college, she suggested I should be a teacher.  At the time I thought she couldn't be more wrong, but I was a moderately rebellious young adult.  When I eventually became a teacher, I knew I had found my life's work.  My mom also gave me a love of cooking.  She would make everything from Sauerbraten to Sukiyaki, and taught us to love the fruits of her table.  I remember learning the proper way to tear lettuce, or to bake, or to make pasta...  To see my elegant Mother, you would think she spent all of hr tie shopping and hiring caterers.  But that would not be true.  She is elegant, and has a real gift for interior design.  The greatest gift my MOm has gievn me as an adult is her prayers.  But I must also mention her love for my husband.  My husband calls her "Sweetie-pie".  It is sometimes annoying to think about how they coo and tell each other "I love you," but really, she is a Matriarch of the highest order.  I am proud to be her daughter, and wish I could emulate her in so many ways.

My sister Mary:  If the proof of the strength of the tree is in the fruit it produces, Mary is as solid a woman as any Catholic family could wish for.  Her daughters re lovely, brilliant, frankly amazing.  Her son who is in the seminary is a source of joy for all.  Hard working, stately, Mary is a Mom beyond measure. 

My sister Meg is a woman I honor more than she probably knows.   Her strength in the face of enormous adversity puts me to shame. Her sons and daughter are calm, self-sufficient, and really good company.  When trouble struck, she lost what most people would have thought most important, friends, money...  She held her family together in a way that leaves me in awe.

My sister Monica has three of the most wonderful children in the world.  Smart, kind, generous, thoughtful...  you know they were raised by a firm and loving hand.  She too has fought adversity in her life, and has, through faith, love, and hope, become a woman I admire more than I ever say.  I guess I don't say how much I admire her because she clocked me once too often when we were children. (I hope that makes her laugh if she reads this!)

My sister Amy:   When we were in school we used to say, "A is for Amy."  Amy is an intellectual force that disproves the notion that those who choose to leave powerful careers for motherhood never would have made it anyway.  Her six children are some of my favorite people on the planet.  We talk on the phone several times a week about educational issues, the culture, politics, our faith.  We spoke for an hour yesterday, jumping from subject to subject, as she made connections and tied it all together.  Then her son Joe, age three, talked to me about his black shoes.  That's life for a mom.  She thinks about the great philosophers and theologians she's read while folding the laundry or emptying the Diaper Genie.

So today I say a prayer, and pay tribute to my sisters who are moms,  and  my Mom.  May God hold them gently in His hands.  I am grateful for you all

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