Saturday, April 25, 2020

Modelling Motherhood

I have always been the type of person that has given myself a lot of grace.  My biggest motivators has been the internal accountability that I have developed for myself as I have made my way in this world.  Even as a girl, I wondered what I should be doing at any given time.  I'm going to tell you what I did to learn about this.  I watched Soap Operas.  I generally watched them for the commercials, especially after my mother died.  I liked to watch cleaning products. There is something about watching something dirty become clean that is cathartic. You see, I was learning how to become a woman by watching and since my mom was not around, I had to learn from the women and the houses I had access to, Soaps.  Every now and again, I would be invited to a woman's house and they had every sweet intention of teaching me how to do something.  I felt like I was a borrowed out slave instead of actually learning how to do things.  I was made to do things, which I would do but I would be bitter about it because I was just shown once and I wanted to watch it being done not do it for you.  This bitterness clouded what I was learning so that I didn't really learn but stewed.  I liked people who would invite you over and made you sit down and you would talk while they worked and I got a real sense of what you were supposed to do. You see, people don't automatically know how to sweep or wash dishes.  People don't automatically know how to mop.  I had to learn.  In fact, to this day I am not sure that I am doing it all right. 

I had a hard time dressing too.  I wore a uniform for school.  My dad would take me shopping and I had no idea of what kind of shoes or clothes to buy.  I remember that I went to Alexander's because at the time, I only had one pair of sneakers and my school shoes.  I needed some dress shoes for church.  For what ever reason, we were asked to not wear our uniforms.  My dad didn't know what kind of shoes I should be wearing either.  I found ones that may have been for old ladies and had a little heel.  I took them home thinking I had a great pair of shoes but then realizing that I didn't.  I was so embarrassed I didn't wear them.  I don't think I ever wore them.  I wore my old blue sneakers but, apparently the slacks I had chosen had gotten too short so I got made fun of all day for wearing "high waters."  I watched the soaps and I took mental notes.  I would experiment on my hair and with my make up.  I got asked why I dressed like a teacher.  I had a way of dressing and doing my hair.  I thought I looked fancy.  I guess people didn't realize that I was emulating the fancy women that I saw on the television. 

There were gaps in my education.  I'm feeling it now as the mother of teenagers.  I don't know about you but I'm sure you go back into your own memory to figure out what your own mother did with you when you were growing up.  Even the bad things that our mothers' did is helpful in not repeating that.  You learned how to dress or how not to dress from your mother.  You learned how to cook.  You learned how to clean.  You learned how you spent your down time.  Some of you very blessed people can pick up the phone and still talk to your parents.  I don't have that.  Instead, I ask myself, "What should I be doing?"  My children will carry with them into their adulthood the strange ways I would pause and think about what to do.  I like hearing about the mundane things people do to fill time.  My kids think like me.  We see a big house we think, "Man, that must be hard to clean." 

We are understanding what we need in our lives.  We need less things and more time together.  My son doesn't like watching television or movies unless we are at a theater.  I watch shows with my daughter and I go walking with my daughter.  I cook and clean with my son.  We eat our major meals together. They will periodically ask me if I need something.  They are learning.  I still have to remind them, they are kids after all. 

I think about what we will need in the future.  I have them with me now.  What do I still need to teach them?  I walk.  I want to be healthy.  When they call me from their homes I want to be able to pick up the phone and give them advice.  When my daughter is pregnant, she will think of me the way I thought of my own mother when I was pregnant with her.  She will call and I will want to go to her.  I pray that I will have the words.  I pray that I can model Jesus.  I pray that when they think back, they think back with love and not confusion. 

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