Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Legacy of Motherhood

Before motherhood, I never gave much thought to life... the larger picture... the historical significance of motherhood and family. My parents were once as clueless as I am and my grandparents and every preceding generation.

I often find myself looking at my children and thinking, "Wow! I'm a Mom!" Each time it sinks deeper and deeper into my bones. Deeper and deeper into my identity, my sense of self. As it does, I am finally able to see through the eyes of those who came before me. Memories of baking cookies with my grandmother no longer seem like just a good time, but also gain rich meaning. We were making not just memories, but lessons in who she was and how my mother came to be who she is and how that has trickled down to me. My actions gain historical significance and importance. I will pass to my children the values of our family... the strength of the women before her... the women who shaped me.

No longer do I perceived myself as an island, but as a important link in the people who walked this earth paving the way for me and how I will pave the way for my children and the children they will raise. It is through our children that we will live forever just as those who came before us live through us.

Your parents do not seem so far removed, you realize your mother and father were some one's child. A child who had to navigate life just as you, who had to bear the weight of their own crosses and did the best they were capable of doing. You hope to learn from their mistakes, but realize the humanity in those mistakes. The paradigm had shifted... you are the parent, they are now grandparents and you begin to recognize your significance in the circle of life. My role of mother has helped me to find part of the meaning of life, my life. Just as I am part of the legacy handed down to my parents, my children are the key to my impact on this world, my legacy.

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