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Posts Tagged ‘Mothers’

my-beautiful-mother

When I was very young, she showed me how to feed day-old orphaned kittens from a medicine dropper.  She taught me to walk quietly, watching for wildflowers and listening for birds.

Mother valued integrity over comfort, and never betrayed the confidences of her family members or friends.  She ignored pettiness, and refused to react to crass people skilled in the “art” of dispensing insults.

Her chin was high but not arrogant, chiseled but not cold.  Her pleasantly mild outward appearance caused unthinking observers to believe she was pliable and soft. 

But anyone with discernment realized that her keen, penetrating mind commanded a backbone of unflinching steel.  She despised gushy sentimentality, and reserved her displays of affection for people she loved.

Of Celtic descent, Mother loved most things Scottish:  the diligence, thrift, reserved attitude, and bagpipes–but not the whiskey.  She had no use for that. 

She was a classical musician.  Her piano refrains are emblazoned in my soul, where the magnificence of Mozart and poignancy of Chopin will endure forever.  I cherish my legacy of Mother’s antique poetry books.  I think of her as I gather armloads of lilacs and let their heady fragrance brush my face.

Although some of the people she loved didn’t know a finger bowl from a flower pot, Mother valued social graces and lovely deportment as marks of consideration for others.  She schooled me in walking with a book on my head (to improve my posture), chewing with my mouth closed, and setting dinner plates one inch from the edge of the table with the designs facing the person dining.  She taught me to use my forks from the outside in–salad, main course, dessert.  She tried to teach me not to talk too much, too often, or too fast.

Despite my love for running barefoot in summer, despite my scruffy knees scabbed over from numerous roller skating spills, despite the fact that I spent much of my girlhood climbing trees, Mother managed to infuse me with her passion for elegant frocks, dressy hats, and gloves.

Alzheimer’s notwithstanding, Mother’s last years reflected the poise of her lifetime.  Not given to ranting and shrieking as some older people do, she sat smiling serenely beside the nurses’ station day after day.  She was dearly loved at the nursing home where she was known as “Ruthie”.  It was my privilege to do her laundry, hold her hand, and sing for her, as she had done for me for so many years.

As her time of dying approached, our youngest daughter and I spent her last two days at her bedside singing spirituals that she loved:  “Where, Oh Where Are the Hebrew Children?”, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, and “I’m Going Home on a Cloud”.

At the age of 93, Mother went to live with a King.  Someday I’ll join them for supper!

Margaret L. Been–All Rights Reserved

NOTE:  My Mother’s Day tribute appeared on this weblog a year ago, and I am repeating it.  I can’t imagine a better mom than the one God gave me!  MLB

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So much has been written about women and their multiple roles, that I hesitate to approach the subject.  Only because I have enjoyed being a woman (and girl!) all of my life, do I feel qualified to hold forth on the myriad aspects of WOMAN!

Like countless other women I moved from the role of daughter, to college student and young adult making my own decisions, and then on to the significant step of becoming a wife.  Because I married the most wonderful man on earth, I’ve never looked back with regret.  What a blessing my husband has been and continues to be.

Motherhood came easily for me.  I had traveled some as a young person, and I had worked hard at home as well as at school and volunteer jobs.  I had studied diligently, and matured so that I was ready to settle into being myself in the midst of new responsibilities.  

Even as a very young wife and mother, I realized that human relationships were not enough to complete a life.  I knew I should never bank my “happiness potential” on other people, as they—like me—were not perfect.  It would never work, to lean on other people for my ultimate fulfillment as a person.  Thus, I went on being me.  I discovered that homemaking provided the perfect setting for continual growth as a person. 

Music and writing had always been a huge part of my life—and I realized I had to continue being involved in music and writing to stay whole.  As time passed, I acquired additional creative hobbies and some community outlets.  The “busier” I became as a wife and mother, the more I needed to spend at least a few hours each week on personal areas of interest.   

Perhaps that’s why the feminist surge of the 1960s seemed so strange and utterly stupid to me.  Who on earth could possibly have more freedom to live creatively and individually than a stay-at-home wife who was blessed with a fine, sensitive husband—and a mother with children to love and nurture? 

As time progressed, I did need to do extra work—as a bookkeeper and secretary for the construction company which my husband and I formed in 1967.  Although my duties required long hours at a desk, my heart was always at home.  Fortunately my body could be at home, as well, most of the time.  Our office was mainly in our home during those fledgling years of the business.  I soon learned to pen an occasional poem in those small breaks from typing bids and balancing pages in the ledger.

Later my realization that I must continue to be myself, within the perimeters of home and job responsibilities, became a lifeline.  Our family experienced years of heartbreaking circumstances and trauma.  Apart from God’s Grace, our family could have been permanently devastated in the onslaught which occurred back then.  During all that time, God used His gifts of creativity to pilot me through various phases and years of a living nightmare.  God kept me focused on “whatsoever things are good”. 

Here is the proverbial bottom line.  Since human relationships sometimes falter, and adversity often claims our attention and energy, there has to be something more:  first and foremost, a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and then an outworking of His serenity and beauty through those God-ordained creative, upbeat facets of life which will be there for us “no matter what”!*

Meanwhile, when grandchildren arrived, I entered a whole new aspect of life—one that I have enjoyed to the max, and continue to enjoy as our grandchildren grow up and become interesting adults.  What a privilege and joy to be involved with grandchildren.  My cup is continually running over!

Grandmothering implies things to be learned as well as fun to be had!  Unless circumstances demand an exception, and grandparents are called to raise a grandchild, we grandmothers must never usurp the role of the mother.  Mother is Mother, and Grandma is Grandma—or whatever else we might be named. 

We learn to bite the tongue, whenever unsolicited advice wants to fall freely from our mouths.  A talking woman is often a pain in the you-know-what, and a grandmother who advises unnecessarily is especially hard to stomach. 

Only when faced with issues of absolute ethics, morality, human decency and respect, spiritual truth, or proper nurturing and health do we grandmothers have the right to tell a daughter or daughter-in-law what to do regarding their children—and then we must speak up!    

Finally, I’m now exploring a whole new-to-me aspect of WOMAN:  great-grandmothering.  This is a tricky one, as my child-nurturing instincts are with me for life.  As a great-grandmother, it’s easy for me to want to be a grandmother.  But I’m learning!  My daughters are the grandmothers now—and they are doing a fabulous job of it. 

I’m trying to do the Miss Marple thing:  just sitting around with my knitting.  Fortunately, there are no “in house” crimes to be solved so I’m not a “Miss Marple” in that respect.  And there are many times when a Miss Marple can be useful.  I can cook nice meals, and I love to read to the great-grandchildren.  Maybe someday I’ll teach them to knit!  Miss Marple would do that!  🙂 

As we mature, our womanly need to nurture is filled more and more by pets!  Although I have loved all of our dogs and cats over the years, our Baby Dylan receives here-to-fore-undreamed-of attention because he is my “late in life” doggie!  He is almost a person in his own right! 

My current aspect of WOMAN—the aspect of maturity—is tremendously enjoyable.  Joe and I have time, freedom, and sufficient energy to savor our moments together.  We have our family, friends, and hobbies within the context of our home.  And as always, I love being a girl!   

*Years ago one of our daughters (newly married at the time) told me something I’ll never forget.  Our daughter said, “Mom, I’ll always be thankful to you for showing me that a wife and mother can still be a person.” 

What more can I say?!!  Feedback like that makes me close my eyes and lift my heart in praise to our Lord who has made all things beautiful!

Margaret L. Been—All Rights Reserved

NOTE:  In keeping with the above topic, here is info on a soon-to-be-released book by my Seattle friend, Lydia Harris:

Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting, by Lydia E. Harris, AMG Publishers, is scheduled for release in June 2010. You can pre-order now at amazon.com or Christianbook.com.
  
This six-week Bible study is suitable for grandparents at any stage of the journey and can be used by individuals, couples, or groups. It can be extended to twelve weeks or longer.

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