It occurred to me yesterday that although I miss my own mother at times and in ways that are often inexplicable, the mothers that are most important to my current life are the mothers of my students and the mothers of my grandchildren.
The mothers of my students provide me with a job I love and they tolerate my intrusion into their lives. I am constantly asking them to do something that adds to their work and stress. Homework and projects and extra handwriting practice require as much time and effort on their part as their child’s. Most graciously accept the extra tasks, and for that I am grateful. It is also my job to let them know if their child has a problem with skills or behavior and that is often news that is difficult to accept graciously. Mother’s don’t always agree with my assessment of their child and then we walk a thin line between tolerance and trouble. Some years dealing with angry mothers has proven to be more of a challenge than dealing with their mischievous children. But everything- the good, the bad, and the angry- has only added to my experience and my appreciation of the complex job of motherhood.
I wasn’t always a good mother. I would like to think that I did the best I could at the time with the knowledge and skills that I had, and that as I gained experience I improved. Maybe, maybe not. There are some things that happen in life for which there is no preparation, no experience that enables you to make the right decision or do the right thing. There are some things I did that in hindsight seem stupid, but I have to remind myself that I am a grandmother looking back and criticizing the actions of a woman who was barely more than a child herself when she started raising children. So I cut myself a little slack.
I do take some pride in my motherhood skills when I see what great adults my children have become- especially my girls, who are much better mothers than their own. I know that most of what they have accomplished and most of what they do is because of their genes and personalities and motivation and experience, but when I see who they have become I just have to take a little credit for providing the foundation for their futures. And as mothers themselves I think they will allow me that bit of selfishness.
So on this day set aside to honor mothers I salute the mothers of my students and the mothers of my grandchildren and wish them a day filled with love and hugs and the recognition they most certainly deserve!