Musings of this GRANDmother…

As my daughter and granddaughter were leaving the house on Saturday for a mother daughter afternoon of lunch and shopping, I was struck with a moment of deja vu. They were dressed similarly black tops, jeans and boots/high top tennis shoes. I complimented my grandgirl on how adorable she looked and gave my daughter an approving nod. They were rocking one of my favorite looks; black top, jeans with a great shoe is my uniform! And they looked like sisters. My daughter turned to me with that somewhat pained look that every mom has when it seems their child has entered that “almost out the door stage of life” and said “she doesn’t look 11”. I just gave her an understanding smile because in that moment, she didn’t look 42 to me either. For an instant, I was ushered back to the time when I was the mom and she was 11.
The children, they grow up so fast. Cherish every moment, in every stage.
The cycle of life is a glorious gift … embrace it!

Mother’s Day in September…what?

For several weeks leading up to Mother’s Day and even on that Sunday I mused over the idea of writing a piece about being a mom. After all my blogs often speak specifically to moms. So why did I write a few sentences, get distracted and eventually move on to other writing projects? Why was it such a struggle to express my thoughts on a topic that is so important to me? It didn’t need to be a manual on motherhood, simply a few paragraphs of encouragement. As we all know time passes so quickly it often seems that if you blink you’re in a whole other season. That’s what happened with this blog. The subject continued to melodically float in and out of my thoughts but I never got around to fleshing out my ideas. Eventually it seemed that I would have to wait until next year to address the Mother’s Day/holiday subject.  Wait…maybe it’s not too late. But how do you reengage interest in Mother’s Day when it’s almost five months behind us?

Duh…that is the real theme of this blog! It is impossible to relegate one day out of the year as a sufficient celebration of motherhood. Being a mom is a twenty-four seven, three hundred sixty-five day of every year gig. Whether you are a working, stay at home, single or married mom, you are always a mom.

I understand the sentiment, respect the traditions and am thankful that there is a day set aside with mothers in mind. Hallmark, Tel-a-flora, Edible Arrangements and countless others do an excellent job of providing us with tangible ways that we can express our love and appreciation for our mothers. Brunch and visits to a spa are a few things that I totally enjoy. I can be a “pomp and circumstance” kinda girl. I enjoy being pampered. The truth is every mother needs to be appreciated and Mother’s Day should be a special day.

On the other hand, I have been a mother for the past forty years. For over half of my life I have been blessed to be called mother, mommy, mom. It has been my primary vocation, my most rewarding accomplishment. That is why I couldn’t finish this until today; the reason that my thoughts couldn’t be dismissed. I am a mom today and every other day. I was a mom in May and I’m still a mom in September. So even though I am a fan of the holiday, one day does not do motherhood justice. Every mom reading this knows exactly what I mean. We are mothers every day for the rest of our lives. It is an extreme responsibility and an extrordinary gift.

My mother is eighty-six years young. I still call her mama. I still crave her approval. I listen to her more intently than ever, seeking her wisdom. She reminds me lovingly that I am her first born, her “little girl”. My mother is still my mother even though I am a “big girl” now and GRANDmother myself.

Let me encourage you to enjoy the annual tradition AND find ways to celebrate yourself every day. You will be a mom until you leave the earth. Embrace motherhood. It’s good to be a mom. Why not celebrate Mother’s Day again…in September?

Any Single Moms in the House?

Recently my oldest daughter celebrated a “milestone birthday”. She is the picture of every parent’s dream of success for their adult child. A loving wife, doting mother, competent business woman, school board member and a Women’s Ministry leader at her local church. She is a multitasking queen.

I have the privilege of watching her up close and personal from the comfort of her home. (Gotta love the “mother-in-law suite”) The life she has fashioned for her family is both inspiring and beautiful. My son-in-love is all about family. Together they have established certain standards for their family. They have dinner together every night barring a schedule conflict. The family dinner is the norm rather than an exception in their home. Their weekends and holidays are well planned events. Often those plans are simply playing a game together or just being in the same room while pursuing individual interests. Their family unit is traditional, strong, and loving.

Quite a different scenario from her childhood experience. Our family looked very different. My daughters are the product of my being a single mom. I was always juggling responsibilities. Doing the math and using creative options to accomplish goals. We were an impenetrable unit, doing life the best way I knew how. We were and still are “The Allen Girls”. There was an abundance of love coupled with some honest mistakes on my part. The good news is that we survived. I believed that I needed to fill the role of both mother and father, which by the way is an impossible task. So for all the single moms who are trying to do both jobs, stop it immediately! I’m here to tell you that when you accept the fact that your only role is to be the best mom that you can be, you will feel a weight lifted from your shoulders. God never intended for you to be both mother and father. His plan for the family looked more like the life my daughter is leading. However, nurturing the family unit with all the pieces in their proper place is still a challenge with it’s own set of problems. The truth is that raising children is a team sport. Attaining success in this arena must include Jesus as the captain. Single moms please know that God will give you all the grace you need to be an amazing mother.

I thank God for my parents and other extended family members who helped me out whenever necessary. My biggest area of gratitude belongs to my Heavenly Father. Somehow His hand was always present in my life even before I called out to Him from my bathtub on a day that I just wanted to quit. The grace of God sustained, encouraged and propelled me to a place of contentment in my vocation of single mom. My circumstances hadn’t changed, my perspective was different. I could depend on His grace to be my anchor. That single fact persuaded me to never give up.

So, to all the single moms in the house let me assure you that you can do this. As I reflect on how I put one through college and the other through cosmetology school, I have to just shake my head knowing that without God I wouldn’t be able to encourage you now. Our family unit wasn’t ideal but the God who makes “all things beautiful in their time” protected, provided for, and allowed us to have a good ending. He is not a respecter of persons. What He did for me and my family, He will do for you and yours. You only need to call on Him.
P.S. (the other daughter is a successful Hollywood hairstylist)

My daughters are my second greatest joy; my adorable GBs are my first. And my God, well He is above all things to me.

To all the single moms in the house, let me encourage you. You can do this!