Thursday, May 11, 2017

One of These Things Is A Lot Like The Other

Note: I wrote this post late Thursday, then saw the word prompt for Five Minute Friday. Adding my link to the group there too. Visit Kate Motaung's blog and see what other writers had to say. Better yet, why not share your own five minute entry?  Today's prompt-Mom

As I was reading Hodgepodge answers yesterday I realized I didn't answer part two of question one, which basically asked how my experience as a mom was different than my own mother's experience. And since it's almost Mother's Day I thought I'd expand on that a little.

That's me with my mama. I guess I really am a brunette-ha! And apparently my obsession with beautiful weather started early.

I've been a mother for almost thirty years now, but when I think about Mother's Day it's my mother who comes to mind first, as opposed to my own role as mom. I know I'm so fortunate to have my mother still in my life, in my girl's lives, and soon in my grandson's life. Her first great grandchild. Course logistics are nuts, but we will find a way to introduce them face to face, and I know she's looking forward to that.

Me too, but this post is about her not me.

My mother loved us well. Really that is the thought that looms largest in my mind when I think about my mother. I have never once in all my life doubted the sureness of my mother's love. What a wonderful legacy and one I hope my children claim some day.

When I think about how our experiences differ a few things come to mind, but also a lot of similarities too. My mother raised four children and I raised two, so there's that. And she had a son which is not something I can speak to, although I will have a grandson which I know will stir up all sorts of new feelings in me.

My mom was a mostly stay at home mom and I was mostly a stay at home mom. We both worked off and on as our children grew, my mom as a librarian and me as a speech pathologist and later a teacher. We've both spent much of our adult lives volunteering in some capacity as well.

Back when I was in elementary school my mother was the phone chairperson for our area Christian Women's Club. I'm pretty sure her official title wasn't phone chairperson, but that's what we called it because she had to spend a lot of time on the phone taking reservations for a monthly luncheon, and handling some of the details. Probably more to it than that, but to a child's mind that was the gist of it.

No such thing as the Internet back in the day, so no online reservations or emailing information or avoiding human contact. It was all done the old fashioned way, and for you 'kids' reading here today, that would be a telephone attached to a wall that you dialed and that sometimes rang busy so you'd have to keep dialing until the busy signal quit.

And you had to talk to people when they answered because they mostly answered. We didn't screen calls and there was no voice mail. In fact I don't remember anyone having an answering machine of any kind, so conversation happened. Sometimes long conversations that had nothing to do with why you were calling. I remember we bought my mom  a little telephone for her charm bracelet that year because it seemed so fitting.

One of my favorite things as a school aged child was having my mother as room mom for my class. My younger sister was just one grade behind me, so she alternated from year to year whose room she volunteered in, but I loved it when she was in mine. She also dedicated countless hours of her life to filling various volunteer positions in our church and those are both things I enjoyed doing as a wife and mom too.

My mom was a military wife and moved a lot in her married life. I've moved numerous times as well,  so we have that in common. I think we both enjoy homemaking and handled picking up and setting down somewhere new pretty well. We would not call ourselves brave, but we can be when a job transfer calls for it.

My mother is an avid reader and was and still is a wonderful cook. Those are both activities I learned at her knee, and still enjoy. My girls also share a love of books and being in the kitchen too, and this makes my heart so happy.

My mother has an artist's eye and a gardener's green thumb. Alas I do not. I think these are things I associate with the role of homemaker because they were so much a part of my own mother and my childhood memories. In my head I have an artists eye and a gardener's green thumb, but in practice not so much. My mom has a way with flowers and can plop a bunch of blooms in a vase and they look amazing. I plop the same bunch and they just look plopped. Things grow in her yard and when I ask her how she says she didn't do anything special to make it happen. My mom sets a gorgeous table and irons linens like a pro. I do love a beautifully set table, but fall more into the 'good enough' category when it comes to ironing. My mother has made beautiful scrapbooks over the years too and while I try I never quite match her skill in those areas.

We both love shoes which has nothing to do with mothering, but seemed worth mentioning anyway.

My mother established so many wonderful family traditions around the holidays, and I think we're alike in that way. We want to make special occasions feel special and we both probably cling a little too tightly to some of that, but we're learning. We've both loosened the reins there in recent years, and Christmas still comes and it's still marvelous.

And we still bake too many cookies because some traditions are meant to be held tightly forever and ever amen.

Technology. This is one of the ways our experiences have differed, but more as we parent adults rather than small children. She didn't have to deal with a lot of technology in raising children, and even my generation mostly bypassed the craziness parents today have to navigate. When I was a kid we had a couple of phones in the house, and four channels on the TV. I don't remember it being a big deal, and although a couple of my friends had a phone in their bedroom, we never did. Even the friends with a phone in their room still shared the same line with the rest of the family, so not really 'your own phone'.

Social media was in its early stages when my girls were in high school and college so technology wasn't a huge deal in the heavy parenting years. Unless of course you count me trying to understand how it works-ha! My mom has email but uses it sparingly, and she loves to read my blog so at least she has her priorities straight.

My mom and I like to talk about spiritual things. We pray for our families, pouring out all the fear and worry, hope and gratitude, we feel for our children and our children's children, and in that way we are are very similar. I enjoy conversations with my mom about scripture or discussing something I've read in a book or puzzled over with my ladies Bible Study group. My mom thinks I'm a good mother and I appreciate that so much, even on the days it's not true.

Especially on the days it's not true.

My mom has been a superstar grandmother and has showered her grandchildren with love, prayer, and quality time. This is something I hope we share as I join the world of grandparenting this summer.

I think all mothers feel they've managed some aspects of parenting well, and some areas less so. There's regret over situations or seasons with our children where a mother wishes she could get a do-over, one more chance to make everything perfectly perfect. I feel that myself as a mother, but as a daughter?

As a daughter I never expected my mother to be perfect. Her love for me was perfect and that's always been enough.

And in that way I hope I'm exactly like her.


  1. Awe, such a lovely and thoughtful post and I am beyond certain that you girls will one day be able to say the exact same things about you. Have a wonderful Mother's Day!

  2. Thank you for sharing about your Mom. She sounds like an amazing person. I love the last line of your post, and I hope that is true for my own daughters (and my son.) I hope that my imperfect love is something that brings a smile to their face, and warm memories to their minds when they are adults.

  3. Joyce, you had me wiping away a few tears with this beautiful tribute to your Mom. That's not an easy thing to do.

    And Christmas is for making WAY too many cookies!

    #1 at FMF this week.

  4. Beautiful post, and beautiful photos. What a rich history of a strong woman you have had to set an example for you.

  5. I, too, am a mom to two girls :). And we became grandparents in August. You'll love it! Grandbabies are the best (have your daughter check out the TinyBeans app--our daughter lives 13 hours away, but we get to see our grandson every day).

  6. I also wrote about how I am like my mom and unlike... thank you for the lovely timeline in your post as you talk about the differences of experiences down through the years. I could especially relate to the part about how the role of the telephone has changed in our lives - seems ironic that the more frequently we use our "phones" in this day and age and less genuine conversation seems to happen... Thank you again for your post! Your mother sounds like a wonderfully gentle and caring woman of God.

  7. I can feel your heart and soul in this post. A beautiful tribute to your mom! Joyce, this isn't the first time I've seen pictures of you and your sister as children and at first glance I think it is your two girls. Those genes run strong!!!

  8. So lovely. And, a beautiful tribute.

  9. I thoroughly enjoyed this! Your mom and you have a very similar relationship to what my mother and I shared with MANY of the same differences and similarities. How blessed you are to still have her. I am anxious for you to begin the grandmother role as I just know you are going to find it the best role yet. Wishing you a happy Mother's Day!

  10. Sweet post. Your mother sounds really great. You are so blessed to still have her.

  11. This is such a sweet post. Happy almost Mothers Day to you!

  12. Beautiful post Joyce. I'm sure you're going to make a great grandmother. You've had such a great example.

  13. It sounds like you learned a lot and such a wonderful life to hear about in both the case of you and your mother. You're fortunate to still have her with you. I relate to so much of what you described here so I guess you and I are of a similar age. Your post brought back some great memories to my mind.

    Happy Mother's Day!

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out