Uncategorized

Happy Mother’s Day

It’s hard to admit, but I remember a time when I wondered if I wanted to be a mother.

 

I thought I lacked the natural maternal desire.

 

It just didn’t grab hold of me with the urgency and excitement I thought I should feel.

 

It didn’t help that I grew up in the women’s liberation era when motherhood was characterized as the most unsatisfying job on the planet.

 

Women spoke of motherhood as drudgery, and the common belief was that there was more to life than just having babies and staying home to take care of them.

 

Who would want the mind-numbing, old-fashioned role of mother when the doors of opportunity for women in the workplace were flinging open, inviting us to experience true fulfillment, intellectual stimulation, and real success?

 

We could “have it all,” so why settle for be strapped down by crying babies with runny noses, ear infections and chicken pox?

 

Surely my life would not be limited to that!

 

But, after I married Doug, I felt like having a family was the next natural step.

 

It just felt right like when you set out on a path and your feet just naturally move.

 

Even though my feet were moving in that direction, I had no confidence in myself as a mother.

 

After Sara was born, a friend asked me how I liked being a mother.

 

I said, “I feel totally incompetent!”

 

She kindly said, “How can that be? You are one of the most competent women I know.”

 

“Not as a mother,” I said. “I have no idea what I’m doing. It’s actually a relief to go to work every day because at least I know what I’m doing in an office. I feel totally out of my element at home with a baby.”

 

As time went on, I became better at it, probably because every time I looked into the face of that baby girl, my heart expanded to a new capacity.

 

Every time I cuddled her, and smelled her powdery body, my worldly skin molted a bit, and my confidence in my ability to be a good mother grew.

 

Actually, my confidence grew because my love grew.

 

After I had Annie, my mom came to stay with me to help.

 

One afternoon, Sara was sitting next to me and I was holding our new little Annie.

 

“Laurie, do you know how much you’re loved?” My mom asked as she watched me with my two children.

 

IMG_2223

 

“Yes,” I said, feeling grateful to know how much she loved me.

 

“I don’t think you do,” she responded, surprising me. “I don’t think you’ll know how much I love you until you are my age and your babies are grown up like you. Then you will know because you will have loved them for a lifetime. That’s when you’ll know how much I love you.”

 

I see what she meant by that now. Just when I think my heart can’t get any bigger, it does.

 

I’m glad she taught me that while my heart expands to new capacities, it also contracts to new depths as my children experience the challenges of life.

 

When I had cancer, my mom embroidered a pillow for me that said, “Always remember, I am the rock in your garden. You are the blossom in mine.”IMG_2263

 

I try to remember that, hoping to be the rock in Sara’s and Annie’s gardens like my mom has been in mine.

 

I can’t believe there was a time I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a mother because I can’t imagine my life without them.

 

Being a mother has made me a better woman in every possible way.

 

I don’t care what the feminists of my era said, motherhood is the most fulfilling job I’ve ever had.

 

There is a level of satisfaction that comes from career success, but it can’t compare to the joy I’ve felt as a mother.

 

So, as Mother’s Day approaches, I will celebrate being a mother, having a mother, and knowing that the voices of my era were wrong.

 

Motherhood is not stifling, unsatisfying, and unimportant.

 

It is the opposite of all of those words.

 

While I may have believed I lacked the maternal instinct, I found it,.

 

And, I discovered it was more than an instinct, it was a divine part of my identity as a woman. It just got a little buried in the mire of all my other ambitions.

 

It is the essence of who I am.

 

I am proud to say I am a mother. It’s the most ennobling, dignified, and important job I’ve ever had.

English: jkklglh
English: jkklglh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy Mother’s Day. I would love to hear your thoughts on motherhood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health

Flu Season? I’ve got what you need

Paregoric Elixir
Paregoric Elixir (Photo credit: Leo Reynolds)

Flu season reminds me of my mom’s medical advice and remedies.

Ever heard of paregoric? Paregoric was the go-to medicine of my childhood.

When I called my Mom when Sara was a baby to tell her that Sara had colic and cried nonstop for several hours at a time, she said, “Oh that baby needs paregoric!”

Paregoric is a combination of some form of opium mixed with a compound from a camphor tree that is used in insect repellant.  Great stuff for a baby.

Camphor tree
Camphor tree (Photo credit: wallygrom)

It was a popular cure-all in the 1950s. You could rub it on a teething baby’s gums to relieve the pain, give babies a little dab of it to calm their nerves or control a cough.  I think it was a controlled substance by the time I had babies.

Congested or have a cold? You definitely need a “mustard plaster.”

Keen's Dry Mustard 1992 113g tin front
Keen’s Dry Mustard 1992 113g tin front (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just the words “mustard plaster” make my eyes water and my chest skin burn. I will never forget the scalding hot red chest I had after one of those treatments.

Mustard plasters were so legendary in my family that my aunt included the concoction in my Grandma’s book of favorite recipes.

“1 tsp dry mustard and 3 tsp of flour. Directions: add enough water to make paste. Spread on half an oblong cloth. Fold it over and lay on chest. Place a dry cloth over to keep your clothes dry. Keep on just until skin is red. Leave it on too long, it will blister.”

This remedy irritates mucus membranes and breaks up a cold, but beware because it also can make you sneeze, burn your skin and cause boils, and make your eyes sting like crazy.

Have a canker in your mouth? Dab a little salt right on that baby, and it’ll disappear in no time.

Warning: salt on a canker is like salt on any other wound, and there’s a reason “adding salt to the wound” is a popular adage for making something worse.

My Grandma once complained about a corn on her toe. My mom said, “Tie an elastic band around it.”

“Why would I do that?” Grandma asked. “I don’t want it to fall off!”

“Well, it will take your mind off of the corn!” she said.

She had a knack for diagnosing how we got certain maladies too.

Ever have pink eye or a sty in your eye? Clearly you had peed in the road. Yes, you read that right. You must have peed in the road. Everybody knows peeing in the road causes eye problems. And, everybody pees in the road, don’t they?

Sore throat? A drop of sticky, orange methylate (mercurochrome) down the old gullet will cure you. A little drop rubbed on a scrape would heal you up in no time too. And, a little mercury never hurt anybody…

And if the chest cold is still lingering, generously slather Vick’s vapor rub on your throat, chest, and inside those nostrils. You’ll be better in no time.

Vick
Vick (Photo credit: Lord Biro)

If all this fails, call the doctor.

Actually, maybe you’d be wise to call the doctor first.