Kelly the Culinarian: On mothers, mothering and Mother's Day

Sunday, May 8, 2016

On mothers, mothering and Mother's Day

Selfies with mom
Mother's Day is a holiday that has me reflecting in new and profound ways. I have always respected my mom, who raised strong, independent women in the face of many challenges. I never knew how deep her love for us was until I tried to follow her example.

We moved often in a time when it was hard to stay connected to family. I went to six schools before I finished high school, sometimes for as little as three months at a time. My mom was the critical backbone of our family that put on a brave face as we shipped off to countries I had to find on a map where we knew no one and didn't speak the language. Because of her leadership, I never feared moving, and instead of fear or anxiety, I was filled with anticipation for a fresh start, a new room and new friends.

My favorite story of my mom's perseverance was when my dad was offered a new job in New York on a Thursday, if he could start on a Monday. We lived in Texas. My mom was nine months pregnant with her third child. She had Katie on Friday, my dad started the job Monday and when Katie was six weeks old, we joined him in New York.

That, my friends, is a parent of true grit. Want to know where I get my tenacity and general Ironbitch persona from? It's in my DNA.

I won't be passing that DNA along to anyone, but I've come to realize that family is not as simple as people who share a bloodline. It's the people who show up and make a decision to share joy in each others' accomplishments, and provide comfort in their times of need. And in making a choice about who to include in my family, my respect for my mother has taken on ever many shades and nuances. In getting engaged, I've done more than decide to marry my other half. I've committed to join a family.

Mothers have a hard-earned sacred role. Step parenting is an ever-evolving world akin to trying to bore a tunnel through sand. You try to carve out a role for yourself in their lives, and in striving to do for these kids what she did/does for me, I know I was blessed with a mother that was often times better than I deserved. Thank you for pouring everything you had into raising educated, successful and happy adults. It's a gift I'm living every day, and I hope to pass on to my step kids. Thank you for continuing to mother me, and for teaching me how to mother.

A wedding scene from the six-year-old

No comments: