Friday, May 8, 2015

Thoughts on Motherhood {or Flowers for Mom}

by Dotti

There are many watershed moments for those who are mothers. First, of course, is the moment of bringing a new life into this world. Even though we're proud and happy, we cry when we send our children to preschool, then kindergarten, then high school … and so on.

This time of year, there are mothers everywhere getting ready to see their children graduate from high school or college, ready to leave the nest. It’s truly a watershed moment for any mother. I well remember the heartache I felt all summer long in between my only daughter’s high school graduation and her departure for a college that was six hours away. Yikes! And the four hours it took me to stop crying as we returned home after depositing her at her dorm.

So when I read about or hear friends talking about being at this crossroad in their lives, my heart goes out to them all. We spend their whole lives from birth until high school graduation preparing our children to be independent but when that time comes, we want to hang on, we don’t want to let them go. We wonder where, wherever did those years go?

My mother is a strong, determined woman, one who has relied on her strong faith through all of life’s challenges including motherhood. I can remember two watershed experiences in my own lifetime that I often recall at this time of year.

My father was very old-fashioned, a second-generation Italian and he had much of the Old World in him. He didn’t see any point in sending me to college since he declared I was just going to get married and have children. No, my mother said. Our daughter is going to college. And so it was, my parents drove me from northeastern Pennsylvania to central Kentucky where they deposited me at my dorm. My mother told me years later, when I took my own daughter to college, that after they left me, they said hardly a word to one another for the whole 700-mile trip home. And by the way, there wasn’t a prouder father than mine at my college commencement!

Fast forward five years later. After college, I moved home for a year to work and save some money before moving back to Kentucky to join my then-fiance. But you know what they say about the best laid plans ... After quitting my job, as I was preparing to move, we broke off the engagement. My father, ever true to his Old World protective instincts declared that I would not go to Kentucky. My mother said, no. She must go. It’s time for her to make her own way in the world.

When the day came for me to get on the plane to fly to Lexington, my father couldn’t {wouldn’t?} take me to the airport, so my mother drove me alone. Those were the days when you walked across the tarmac and mounted the outside steps to the plane. {I think only the President does that now.} When I reached the top of the steps, I turned to wave at my mother and I could tell she was crying buckets, as was I. Yes, she was strong. But she also struggled to let me fly from the nest, just as I struggled to let my daughter fly from the nest.

Just as mothers everywhere are struggling to let their sons and daughters fly from the nest.

This is what it means to be a mother. But isn’t it grand?


Carol said...

The stories of our lives are always the best stories! Your mother was ahead of her time, and weren't you lucky to have her? Her decisions and her strength changed the coirse of your life. As kids, we are so busy being excited to get on with it, and we assume Mom will get over it -but we don't inderstand the depth of the struggle intil we live it with our own. It's that old joke -our parents get so much smarter after we become parents! This is a nice piece, Dotti!

AFishGirl said...

I loved reading this post, Dotti. Beautiful. Your Mom sounds a lot like my Mom. And hey, I still get to walk across tarmac to planes. In Newfoundland I do that and on some small planes I did it when I flew to New Brunswick. Really small planes. Like, with propellers. Happy Mother's Day!

Carol said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carol said...

And I forgot to add - these pictures are stunning!

terriporter said...

I enjoyed this so much! My father was of the same mind as yours -- girls don't go to college. I'm so glad that viewpoint has changed and that girls now are as likely to go to college as boys are. And as proud as we are of them, it is so hard to watch them go off! Mine were only two hours away at college and yet they weren't under my roof anymore. Such a hard struggle between pride that they are making it on their own and sadness that they are gone. And I just KNEW they would all meet girls from other places and end up moving away permanently! Well, two of my three came back here and the third is about to! My chicks are returning, but not to my nest, to the one they are making for themselves. I am a happy mom this Mother's Day!

Sandra said...

Happy Mother's Day! I loved your story!

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