Thursday, 10 October 2013 00:00

Legacy of Motherhood

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family storytelling, motherhood, legacy, family traditionsI have the best and the worst job in the world. It is intimidating. Most days, it feels impossible. Every day it's terrifying. Like, Russian Roulette terrifying. But I love it. Every second. And I wear my job title with boastful pride: Mother.

 

 

 I have the best and the worst job in the world. It is intimidating. Most days, it feels impossible. Every day it's terrifying. Like, Russian Roulette terrifying. But I love it. Every second. And I wear my job title with boastful pride:

Mother.

 

I don't mind saying that—not every day—but most days I'm good at my job (we won't get into my personal and tipsy scale of what qualifies as 'good at'); but good gravy, I am always deeply grateful for any help that comes my way. My favorite help is my personal heritage.

I come from a long line of incredible women. I love that their blood runs through my veins, giving me strength to tackle the scariest, most precarious mothering moments. Bed time. Bath time. And between 4:00 and 6:00pm.

My paternal grandmother was separated from her siblings when during the Great Depression they were dibbied among aunts and uncles to live until things became more stable at home. Her father had gone to pursue his dream of becoming a film director in Hollywood, leaving her mother to provide as best she could for her family. She and her siblings maintained a strong bond throughout the ordeal, remaining friends into adulthood. Her mother - ever the picture of calm gentility - held that family together. And my grandmother is no less devoted to family; evidenced in every breath she takes. She is no less calm and gentle; though I have it on her authority that she used to be the hot-headed, impulsive spitfire that the red-hair of her youth would suggest.

My maternal grandmother was afflicted with polio as a small child. The nearest hospital to their home was a day's journey - and so she was left there alone, receiving a visit from her family only once a week (as often as they could come) for an entire year. As a result of her illness, she spent her youth, her young adulthood, her adulthood, and her golden years in a body bent and weakened. An entire life spent in the echoes of pain. Yet she remained undeniably beautiful, exuding a personal strength and conviction of character only compounded by her care and dedication to her personal appearance. I never saw her without her hair perfectly fixed and her lipstick in place.

Ah, my grandmothers. I could tell such stories.

I often picture them as mothers to young children, and wonder: were they as baffled as I often am? Did they chase after freshly bathed nakeds with a towel? Did they shut their eyes and grit their teeth and feel that staggering loss of control as they were thrown up on—again—and felt the resulting pile of laundry bulging threateningly in the corner?

I picture them staring down their problematic cupboards as the dinner hour rushes at them near the end of a hectic day, threatening to destroy their calm. And I roll my own sleeves up.

This is my Legacy of Motherhood; continued in my own great Mother and some day - hopefully - emulated by me.

 

Last modified on Monday, 25 November 2013 12:46
Stepper McCrery

Stepper grew up in the desert, but is a child of the rain. She lost her heart to Seattle (both to the place and to the boy who grew up there). She loves to write and draw, and used to get in trouble for doodling all over her homework. She graduated with a Bachelors degree in English Literature from Utah State University. She loves to sing, play the violin and guitar, and is learning the mandolin. She bakes a mean spice cake with pinoche icing, hates caramel, and has a real thing for old keys. But her very most favorite thing in the whole world is her cute husband and three amazing kids.

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