the nest

the nest

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mama love...

The last 2 weeks, I've been absorbed in the process of fostering and then ultimately giving up a very large, very sweet, very protective Cane Corso (Italian Mastiff).  Her name was Daisy and she outweighed my teenage daughters.  I'm still not sure what compelled me to even consider taking her in... I've never been a "big" dog person, and with my children, husband and the dog we do have, my hands are plenty full!
She was sweet, beautiful and her eyes looked so sad.  Her owner died suddenly and somehow she ended up in our care.  Our "nest" is pretty big and so why not?
Daisy quickly attached herself to me almost to the exclusion of the rest of the family.  She was fine with the girls and after a few challenges at the door, was fine with Jeff.  Our last family member to meet her was son Andy who came home from his first year away at college.  They didn't do so well.  Not sure what the story was, but suffice it to say that we decided quickly that the nest wasn't big enough for the both of them and with 19 years in our life, Andy won.

We said goodbye to Daisy after 3 weeks and I cried.  Not sure if it was because I fell in love with her or because I couldn't make the commitment to do the intensive training that would be needed to help a dog of her breed and nature accept our crazy life.  Doesn't matter, but I wept.  She loved me and needed me and I couldn't make it better for her.

Mother's Day 2012


 Since the day I became a  mother, my heart has been open ~ I want to love up anyone or anything that needs me.  Setting boundaries, or just letting go, have been difficult lessons for me to learn.

I have had great teachers though...

My Mom is a treasure! She has always had a funny way of hearing what I needed to say and then moving the conversation on and away from the drama.  She didn't ignore or diminish my thoughts and fears, but she didn't let me dwell too long on the crisis of the day.  I try every day to channel her with my girls, but I'm a work in progress ~ I still get sucked into the drama too easily.

I'm lucky enough to have not one, but two Mother's-in-law!  My children have benefited by having the love of three Grandmother's and I have had the support and love of three wonderful women to guide me!
Jeff's Mom has taught me so much over the years about being a mother and wife ~ She has been patient and sassy with me and overall has appreciated how very much I love and cherish her son and her grandchildren.
Jeff's Step-mom has been a sweet bonus!  Over the years, she has supported my mothering choices and nurtured my need for girl time.  While the other mother's have sometimes openly disagreed or challenged some of my choices, she has always been clear that I know my children best and she knows I will make the right decisions for them.

I've learned about mothering from so many others, it's hard to touch on them all, but here are a few...

*Woodbury, MN neighborhood Mama's.  I was so lucky to be surrounded by strong, smart women as a girl.  They were friends of my Mom, mother's of my girlfriends, and women in our church.  They were my "other mothers" and always opened their arms when I needed them.  They, along with my many Aunts, taught me that I could trust other grown-ups and I was never alone even when I needed space from my own Mama.  All of these women showed me that there were many options for being a mother and a woman.  Staying at home, working part time, working full time....  I learned I could be anything I wanted to be as long as I was willing to work for it.

*Our pediatrician taught me that while books and advice are good, the most important thing is to listen to my children and trust my instincts.

*My sisters and girlfriends have taught me that there are so many different ways to give birth and nurture life ~ there is no room for judging, we need to love and support each other even when we make different choices.  They also taught me to always have chocolate.... and to remember the phrase "This too shall pass."

*My three sweet children have taught me the most.  From the moment they were born, they have taught me how to be their mother.
Andrew has been working for 19 years to teach me how to just relax.  "It's cool Mama..."  I'm a slow learner, but I think there are moments when I breathe and know that he is going to be just fine.
Katy came into the world like a dynamo and has always been clear about what she needs from me.  As an infant, that was constant body contact and nursing.  She was a sling baby who taught me that if I listened to her and met her needs I could move on with life.  She taught me more than anyone that ignoring someone's needs just makes those needs stronger, but will eventually squash that someone's spirit.  Better to meet the need so they can move on with life.  From the moment Katy decided she was ready to venture out into the world at 18 months, she has been the most independent, confident, strong girl I've ever known.  I'm SO VERY PROUD of myself for listening to her as a baby because the long term results are looking fabulous!
Helen is an interesting combination of her siblings and has worked hard to teach me that life is to be lived in the moment ~ why would you focus on cleaning your room when there is a beautiful sunny backyard that is calling you to come dance???  As my "baby" I know she will have many more lessons to teach me over the next several years and I hope I'm a good student.

The latest surge of media attention directed towards parenting choices has been both frustrating and enlightening.  So much has been written about the Time Magazine cover, and the "radical" parenting methods of famous Mama's.  I've decided that I'm not going there.
I'm going to focus on loving up the Mama's I know.  I don't agree with all of them.  I feel sad for some of them.  A few of them frustrate me.  But I love and honor all of them for the very powerful work they do raising their precious children.

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