Many years ago, we were riding in the back seat of a car, with my best friend in the front passenger seat with her husband driving. I forget just where the four of us were going, but we were not going smoothly.
The two in the front were bickering about some fairly small item, mostly in a good natured way. However, about two minutes into this discussion my friend mentioned his mother, and immediately he yowled, "Now wait a minute. How did my mother get into this?"
Well, it seems we mothers are always "into it" one way or another. And not just mothers, but grandmothers, godmothers, mothers-in-law, and let us not forget those wicked step-mothers, too.
As a matter of fact, one of the nicest Mother's Day cards I ever received was entitled "To The Most Un-Wicked Step-Mother in All the Land." It had been a long and rocky-road getting there, and I appreciated the compliment. I had never expected to be in the role of a step-mother, and felt like a tremendous failure at it, until I read Catherine Marshall LeSourd's account of her own experiences in the role, and how God brought her through.
This past week, my husband's grandson and his wife, become parents to twin girls, and thus, I am once again a great-grandmother by marriage. Oh for the days when my new step-grandsons said upon meeting me for the first time, "You don't look old enough to be a gwandma." Of course, they were only 3 and 4 at the time, so what could they know?
My mother, always used to sign her cards to her daughters' husbands, "From the Godmother" - and she meant it as a riff on the Godfather movies, not as in "Fairy Godmother." :) Each of her sons-in-laws held a healthy respect and a dash of trepidation where my mother was concerned, and rightly so, as she was no one to mess with.
My own three children have given me no small source of pride over the years, and occasionally they have been kind enough to let me know they felt the same way about me. But it is in watching my only daughter parent her three children, that I have the most soul-satisfaction as a mother, because she is the best mother I have ever known. She is creative and caring, and she knows when to "reel 'em in, and when to let 'em run awhile."
Grand mothering is a wonderful vocation. I love it. My mother was too intimidating to be a warm, fuzzy type of grandmother. It may have had to do with all the years she put in as a no-nonsense nurse, but whatever it was, my kids knew not to test her. But their "Grandma Lucy", their paternal grandmother, was the quintessential grandma. They could always count on more cookies than they needed, more TV than they should watch, and more candy than I knew anything about, when they were at her house.
Back in the day, I sometimes resented her circumvention of what she knew my rules were about such things. But looking back, and especially when I hear my kids talk about her, I can smile and be grateful she was in their lives.
Her approach to being a grandmother was along the lines of, "What are grandparents for, if not to support questionable choices in their grand kids activities, and provide unlimited sugar intake?" :)
So as we approach Mother's Day, I am reflecting on what it means to be a mother, step-mother, grandmother, and now even a great-grandmother. How did I get into this, indeed?
Happy Mother's Day to any and all of you who fit into any category of mothering, be it by blood, marriage, friendship, or whatever. God bless you on this Mother's Day.
(I will be off-line for a few days as we travel north to another granddaughter's college graduation. )