Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother's Day

Like the intricacies in the stitches and colors of this baby afghan, the heritage of motherhood ripples through my bloodlines and shapes my relationships with my Mother, my daughters, and my grandchildren. 

On this page in a photograph book you can see some of my ancestors. They were hard working people who farmed and raised big families. My maternal great grandparents on one side raised thirteen children and all lived into their late 70's, 80's and 90's. The other side raised seven children to ripe old ages, having come from early circuit riding preachers themselves.

This is our oldest, CB, with Em and Roo. She inherited the teaching genes big time. Also the administrative gifts. This lady can teach in her sleep and wake up organized. She amazes me. Roo already has the organizing gene and Em is already mothering her baby dolls. I'm not the least bit concerned about future generations.

Here is Kaki, our youngest, who is still single. It's obvious that the genes are here too. She is playing with our youngest grandchild, Gracie. Her "real" job right now is investing her life in young children as a nanny for families with multiples. So far she has worked with 3-4 twin families, some who also have other children. Rumor is that she is interviewing with triplets now. She teaches so subtly that the kids never know she isn't playing with them! Also amazing.

Another shot of CB with Em and Roo--teaching them while they watch a show at Sea World. They may know the scientific names of all the sea creatures on the way home from the park. 

This is Nannie, my Mother. Although she devoted her life to being a stay at home mom until I was in college, I always knew she had the teaching gene. Recently I read some Montessori blog posts and had an epiphany. Mother employed almost all of the techniques recommended in over thirty of the posts to "entertain" me when I was a little girl.  That sneaky lady!

I don't think Boo, our second born, will love me for this photo, but already I see that she is teaching Jbear to be gentle with newborn Gracie. Look at how proud and protective he is. This was his first visit to see Gracie, but he remains so sweet and loving with her. We have zillions of photos of him kissing her. Boo prepared him well for a baby sister.

This photo almost cracks me up. I love it! This is our original Jbear, Joy, with Kaki about twenty four years ago.  To the left is Dolly, our adorable, but departed, Sheltie. Joy has the administrative gene also. You can see the determination in her face to control both the baby and the dog, even though the situation is clearly deteriorating. She is only four years old, but absolutely set on practicing her mothering skills. She will be a fabulous mommy some day.

Lest you think the generations have returned only domesticity, I added this photo. Joy bought the mug for Nannie. Two of a kind?

Not to neglect my paternal side in this post, I include this photo of four generations. My great grandmother raised 15 children, the last two were fraternal twins. She died at 96 and I remember her well. Standing in front is my Grandmother that we called Pickle. Pickle had four children, two boys and two girls. She worked hard and taught all her children to do equal work. The girls worked in the fields and learned something of farm mechanics, and the boys knew how to cook and sew. Muffin says my Daddy was more secure in his manhood, as was my uncle, than any other man he has known.  Pickle gave me a love for needle work that remains to this day. 

This is Nana, Muffin's Mom. She is the fifth of six children, three boys and three girls.  In this photo, which is twenty four years old, she is holding Kaki wrapped in a blanket that Nana made for her. Notice Joy is still taking lessons and being the baby sister protector.  Nana is, and has always been totally adorable. She gave my girls the gift of playing with laughter. In addition to Muffin, she has a daughter, Aunt Tracie, who also has two perfect children that are young enough to be great entertainment for Nana. They are all amazing, too. 

I absolutely could not find a great photo of my maternal grandmother, Grandmommy, who was the belle of the county as a girl, and who passed on a rich heritage of flawless administration in the kitchen and home. She also raised two children and cooked everything in the kitchen for every meal, then went to the garden and gathered more for the next one. "Tuffy" was her nickname, because she was not. Think about it.

So there you have the links in the chain stitch of our family.  I'm leaving out most of the juicy parts, because, well, you don't need to know everything.

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