Christine Strawson Gamari salutes her mom, Patricia Strawson for Mothers Day.
Mother’s Day Tribute
Christine Strawson Gamari
For Pat Strawson
As I start my third year being a mom, the first one with two children, one fact has become abundantly clear – parenting is not easy. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. Being a mother, especially during those first few months, is the most difficult task I’ve ever undertaken.
Trying to function normally despite being physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted is nearly impossible, especially with all of the second-guessing and the “am I doing this right?” that is constantly circling around in my head.
I most certainly was not a “natural” in those initial months. I didn’t know how to feed, talk to or entertain a little person, and I didn’t know how to make her feel calm or safe. I did all of the things new parents, especially from my generation, probably do. I read a lot of books and scoured the Internet for answers to my inane questions. (I never want to see my Google search history for those first few months. I would die of embarrassment).
Unfortunately, sometimes my research even confused or stressed me out even more, leading to more questions and more feelings of inadequacy.
Thankfully, my mom came over every single day during those early months to provide love, support, and an extra set of hands (or arms).
When she played with Maya, I used to just soak up everything that she did – the soothing tone of her voice, the calm and ease with which she handled every task, and her own little tricks for entertaining my little one, most of which were not described in any of my Google searches.
I closely studied every little detail. I was amazed that she could do all of this so effortlessly and still manage to make dinner or wash the dishes. At first, while I watched her, it was difficult not to be hard on myself: why didn’t I know how to do all of this? Was I lacking some necessary “maternal gene” that other women had?
When my mom wasn’t around, as a survival instinct, I began to just copy everything I saw my mom do- the way she bounced/swung Maya on her legs, the little nonsense tunes that she would hum in Maya’s ear to get her to calm, or the creative ways she would get Maya to accept (and keep) a pacifier.
They say, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
After a while, I started to feel a little more confident and capable, even developing my own little tricks, but I never stopped studying my mom. I’m definitely feeling more at ease now with my newborn son, but I know it is only because of all of the lessons and pep talks that I got, and continue to get, from my mom.
I continue to learn from my mom everyday. I learn not only how to entertain, corral, and teach a now extremely energetic toddler, but also how to love unconditionally and be so selfless all of the time.
Parenting is so difficult because the needs of your children always go well before your own. I get that now.
My mom continues to make sacrifices in order to help my brother and me, and I know I will do the same for Maya and Owen.
Looking back, I realize that having my mom around to help me raise my children affords me an amazing opportunity, a trip back into time and a rare glimpse into how my brother and I were raised. We’ve come full circle now, and I find myself extremely lucky to stand next to this amazing woman and have a hand in shaping the next generation.
The lessons she shares with me are more valuable than any family heirloom, and they too are being passed down from generation to generation. I think Maya and Owen should consider themselves lucky, too.
Happy Mother’s Day!