In the last day I have signed my name to three paintings of three women who are among the most influential role models of mothering in my life.
Amy and I met when we were in a childbirth class and expecting our first children. After the boys were born (one week apart) we, along with another friend from the class, started meeting regularly for play dates. I am not sure how much 4 month old babies really gain from a play date but what we have gained as moms is immeasurable. We exchange advice and discuss parenting issues. We encourage each other with housework and faith. To have other moms at the same stage of parenting who support and encourage and inspire is so important.
Amy makes housekeeping seem effortless even though I know she works hard at it. Her home always seems peaceful and fun. I love the fact that we feel comfortable enough to correct each others children when they step out of line. She is a good example to me of Catholic mothering. Being a convert to Catholicism I often do not know how to incorporate Catholic traditions into daily life but she has lots of great ideas.
My cousin Lisa's is raising five children (including my niece). She homeschools and has grand adventures with her children. She is an example of calm, patient mothering. She always tries to address the heart issues with her children and teaches them to love and follow God.
I often call her when I am feeling particularly overwhelmed with mothering because her advice always helps. She is dedicated to being available for her children when they need her and trusts God to provide what they need. She has also taught me about "the gap." When parenting there are always areas that you let go of in order to tackle what is more important at the moment, and different mothers are good at different things.
My grandmother who is almost 99 years old has raised 5 children, has 12 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. She always makes us feel loved and welcome. Her home was filled with handmade quilts, afghans, ornaments and other projects. Her table was bountiful with homemade breads and jams, soups and venison roast. Her arms were always ready for a hug and a soft word. She had attics of old treasures to explore and every Readers Digest and National Geographic for the last 50 or more years. She helped me learn to love books and reading, and even though she looked over my shoulder I am sure she helped me to love Learning. She now lives in a retirement village and has downsized her stuff but the love is not downsized because she is still there. I want my home to be filled with the love that hers is.
There are several women missing who have been even more influential but are not yet represented on canvas. My mother who is always there when I needed her and is always gentle and kind. And my sister who's bravery in facing a limited time on earth as a mother to her two children, was an example to all who knew her. Those two have shaped the way I mother in every aspect. I call my mother for advice on a regular basis and ask my sister to pray for me from her spot in heaven.