the nest

the nest

Monday, May 4, 2015

Shining a light on some Mama's

It's Monday morning.  I made my list and now I'm ignoring it.  The need to write and process life is feeling too strong.  I guess just like rules are made to be broken, lists are made to be ignored.

The last few weeks have been filled with sadness ~ four lovely women gone, 3 of them too soon, one gone peacefully.  Riots, violence, Nepal, nastiness in the news.  On and on.  It can overwhelm the heart and soul. I've struggled with blogging, because it has seemed like so much of what's on my mind is dark and heavy.
The sun is shining, life is amazing in so many ways, and yet I'm so sad.  Sometimes a hug, a deep breath, and thinking of someone else is the only thing that can lift me out of darkness.
I'm getting really good at deep breaths after 22 years of being a mama, and I get more hugs in my life than anyone deserves, so it's time to think of someone else.
A post on Facebook inspired me to focus my blogging for now on those who have touched me or my family in special ways. The world spends so much time watching and focusing on the darkness and the violence and I'm tired of it. My focus for a while will be on the amazing people who make my world and my family's world beautiful.

With Mother's Day approaching, I want to shine a light on a few of the many "Mama's" who have shown me the way.
My Mama, Juanita, has taught me so much from the beginning. Always there but never intrusive or overly directive, she taught me how to be present for my children without dominating them.  I remember in Junior High and High School, coming home from school so many times, yelling down the basement to say hello (she would be doing laundry or something!), and then not seeing her until dinner, but I KNEW SHE WAS THERE.  I was a very dramatic, emotional kid and while I'm sure I overwhelmed my Mama at times, she never let it show.  I grew up with a rock.  Even when we made each other nutty, I never doubted that she loved me and was there anytime I needed her.  Hundreds of miles away this still holds true today.  I'm sure that some of my life choices have left her questioning, but for the most part she has trusted me to follow my path and kept her doubts to herself.  As my own children begin forging their paths in the world, I hope I can do the same.
My Mother-in-Law, Noreen, came into my life when I was still so young.  Getting married at 23 felt a little like playing house.  While my MIL is very different from my Mama, she also taught me so much about being a wife and a mother and a woman.  She loved me from the beginning because I loved her son.  She would share her advice and opinions freely, but would support us even when we disagreed.  As someone who is not particularly good at organizing my household and my life, I learned so much over the years about juggling work and family.  I continue to relish my relationship with my MIL and again hope that I will be as gracious and loving to the future life partners of my children as she has been to me.
One more Mama who helped me find my way is my dear friend Julie~  I met Julie in graduate school and while the time we were in close contact was short, just a few years, she continues to be one of those Mama-friends I have thought of often over the years, and on those rare occasions we are able to talk or see each other, the years melt away and it's as if we've never been apart.
What I learned from Julie about being a Mama was how to own my power and my voice.  From pregnancy and birth choices, to breastfeeding, cloth diapering, questioning everything.... she opened my eyes to the power of listening to my body, my babies, and my heart.  She helped me find my voice as a Mama bear and those early lessons of being mama's together shaped so many of the decisions I've made over the past 22 years.  Being a Mama isn't easy and having women around you who trust and value you as a Mama and a woman is an amazing gift.
I hope I have been and will continue to be a guide, friend and support to the many Mama's I cross path's with. The Mama's who have guided me will always be in my heart. Sadly women can be so hard on each other. Finding ways to support and hold up each other regardless of the choices we make as women and mothers would go a long way to strengthening our power and our ability to raise strong healthy children.  Isn't that how we will ultimately make the world a better place?


  1. You make me cry, my lovely have filled my heart with love ever since I met you so long my church in Buffalo when you gave me a hug just because I was there! Many years, three perfect babies, loving my precious son, managing your family and your own business - you are a marvel, Jane - even if you don't think so sometimes. Celebrate YOURSELF on Mother's Day - you are a wondrous Mom & your skills did not all come from others! I am blessed to have you in my life...thank you.

  2. Now I'm a weepy mess all over again! Just finished watching Katy's concert and saw your message!

  3. Thanks Jane for your wonderful affirmation. I truly feel blessed to have raised four strong, sensitive individuals but I also had a wonderful Mom (and MIL) who taught me a lot. Your Dad was also there to support me.

    1. Women helping women intergenerationally and wonderful life partners make the journey better all around!