Mothering Sunday

So here it is, my first Mothers Day. This whole “having a baby” thing still feels pretty surreal to me. Just a couple of days ago, I was thinking that the nights of dancing at the club, impromptu road trips, and late-night bull sessions in coffeeshops and IHOPS were not that far behind me, but they feel like they’re a million years ago. Now the late-night sessions are reserved for changings and feedings, and the “impromptu” road trips consist of destinations such as Target, Babies ‘R Us, or Wegman’s. Do I miss the pre-baby life? Sometimes. There was more freedom and I was less tired. But Zelda truly is a gift, and I love being a mommy.

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My mom and I enjoying some 99s in London, 2008.

This post isn’t really about me, though. It’s about my mom. I think most daughters think their mother is special, and I’m definitely one of them. My mom was born in Scotland, and when she married my father she left her home and family to start a family of her own. She reminded me, many times, that she and my dad figured out parenting all on their own. My dad was stationed in Hawaii when they had my brother, far away from the continental United States where his parents were and halfway around the world from Scotland. In the first couple of weeks after I had Zelda, I could not imagine trying to do it alone. It reminds me that my mother is made of steel, and I truly hope I can follow her example.

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My mom teaching me how to properly roll out a pie crust.

Since becoming a mother, I’ve truly understood everything my mother has passed on to me. I know my love for the small and kitschy, my love for shopping, and my quasi-dry humor all come from her. She’s got the dry humor down to a science, though. I love to bake, eat crackers and cheese, and drink wine, all things she loves, too. Some things, like the sewing and the knitting, which I did not pick up until I was 26, were passed to her from her mother. And it’s pretty cool, in my opinion, to think that the sewing and knitting are what connects me to the mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers of my family.

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Starting from the left: my grandmother, mother, great-grandmother, and two great aunts.

Now I can add being a mother to that list. After I had Zelda, my mom stayed with us for three weeks. Matt and I didn’t have a CLUE how to be parents. Hell, I didn’t know how to put a onesie on, change a diaper, or hold a baby bottle. Somehow, in that three weeks, she taught us all of that and more. She encouraged me when I got frustrated with breastfeeding, showed us how to swaddle, and taught us how to calm Zelda when she was inconsolable. She laughed with us through the massive blowouts and gave us the incredible gift of sleep in the days after coming home from the hospital. She showed me exactly what it is to be a mother, not just in the sense of caring for a baby, but in acts of selflessness and endurance. She gave me the tools to be a great mother, and for that I’m forever grateful.

I can only hope in the days and weeks and months and years to come that I will continue to take the lessons she taught me and continue to be a good mother. And, if I’m lucky, one day I can pass those lessons on to Zelda.

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My mom and I celebrating right after I successfully defended my dissertation in 2014.