Friday, May 7, 2010

Alison

I was in my first semester of college in 1970 when I learned I was to become a mother. The choice for me at that time was to get married and I was, three weeks later. There weren't even any other choices that I was aware of other than to get married and make the best of the situation. I became a mom just before I turned nineteen and I fell in love with my newborn and being a mom. I had a great mom growing up...supportive, fun, stern and caring so some of what I did was from her influence on me, but to be real honest, I just jumped in and tried to do the best that I could in every situation. I learned that much of mothering is instinct and the rest is love. Sure, I worried about lots of things with becoming a parent. I've always worked, so finding babysitters that I was comfortable with was always a concern and an ordeal. I moved 800 miles away from my family when this firstborn was only 15 months old, so childcare became even more important to me then. I've hired and fired more sitters than I care to remember. I'd sometimes have to arrange interviews in the evenings after I'd come home from work and send the problem babysitter home, until I found the right one and could just fire problem sitter with no notice.

Baby #2 arrived 5 1/2 years later and mothering was so much easier. I didn't jump with every whimper or cry. I enjoyed more and worried less. By the time baby three was born three years later, I had divorced and remarried, and having a houseful of children seemed second nature to me. I loved it. I was always busy.

Besides working full time, I attended college one evening each week for over 20 years until I received my Bachelors Degree, squeezing in homework after all three were bedded down. I remember having to read my textbooks aloud to be able to stay focused, and awake!

Early on in my married life, I spent most of every Saturday cleaning house and doing laundry. As the kids began to get involved in activities, I realized I was giving up time away from the house and with family. So I began doing laundry several evenings each week and cleaned one room every other day so that I rarely had to do the whole house at once....unless of course company was coming, then it was an all out cleaning!

From the beginning, we didn't eat out like people do today. Almost all of our meals were prepared and eaten at thome. I almost always had 1-3 kids by my side or on the counter of our very small kitchen helping me cook. Yes, it was inconvenient and messy, but it is one of my favorite memories. We had dinner as a family, eating at the dining room table almost all of the time. TV had to be turned off during mealtime and this is how we stayed connected.

We were also always "on the move". I loved taking the kids to parks, to have picnics and play, to festivals from spring to fall, and we enjoyed camping and many school sports together. I was fortunate to have had a job that allowed me the freedom to take off an hour at a time and was able to attend all the kid's school programs and events. It was important to me and to them.

When my youngest was ten years old, I divorced again and remarried a wonderful man who brought two adorable children to our fold...they were ages 8 and 2. We've been married 20 years now and both of us have thoroughly enjoyed our blended family. We made it our priority to make our marriage as easy for all the children as possible; after all, it was our choice, not theirs. All five are delightful adults now, kind, caring and their own persons. What could be better? They're all out on their own leading independent lives of their own and some are becoming amazing parents of their own children...our lovely, beautiful and talented grandchildren. Ah, the circle of life....

Throughout my life, I've struggled with "what I really want to be when I grow up". Unlike other people, this path was not clear to me. I've followed career paths in Human Resources and Retail Business because I landed jobs in these fields and I enjoyed them. But when I think about what I've most enjoyed an been most proud of, its mothering. I now find it enjoyable to be a sounding board for them if they just need someone to listen to, or someone they now ask advise from, or to have them call just to visit.

Here are a few final mothering thoughts:

I wouldn't trade the times we were just plain silly. We could make any day a party day. We'd put laundry baskets upside down in the living room and cover them with kitchen towels for "tablecloths" and have a special meal on our special "tables" while watching a special show on TV.

I would have yelled less and hugged more.

I wish I'd have stayed "in the moment" more with each child...wish I'd have slowed down a little more.

I would buy fewer toys with small parts. I've vacuumed up way too many Barbie shoes and Lego pieces.

I'd keep less toys and donate more.

I'd never regret taking the time to read books to the kids whenever they wanted me to.

I'd still demand correct grammar and spelling.

I'd still expect them to do their best, not taking the easy way out.

I'd pay more attention to my inner self along the way and if I felt like I was needed by one of the kids, I probably was.

I'd have kept more of the stories the kids wrote over the years and not given them back until they were 30.

I try to tell each of the kids how proud I am and that I love them dearly. They help make my life complete.

6 comments:

  1. Mom--You did and do a great job and I thank you for that! Even though we did not grow up wealthy, you always had an activity, festival, outing or fun event for us. For that, I feel rich. I see that Alissa is doing the same with Liam and all of their fun adventures. Obviously, the apple does not fall far from the tree. Happy early Mother's Day to you and all mothers out there. I love you dearly!

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  2. Alison- I love hearing Alissa tell stories about special things that you did with them and all of the fun memories. Now I know how Alissa is so efficient and fun! Happy Mother's Day!

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  3. Alison, It was wonderful to read your story about raising your family. What a great job you did, focusing on what was really important! Thanks for raising a great daughter, who we are now privileged to have as part of our family!

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  4. Thanks, mom. You are the best!!!

    I love the "laundry basket cafe". Ummm...if it were all up to me I'd make them a mandatory part of every day...maybe I will.

    Also loved all the festivals and activities. I always remember how great you made every holiday!!

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  5. @ Allison: Efficient?? Ahahahahaha. :)

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