Friday, May 9, 2008

It Takes A Village!

Happy Montessori Instructors create a happy, nurturing environment for children throughout many years! Happy Mother's Day, friends!

My daughter reminded me last night of the saying "it takes a whole village to raise a child" I toss the nurture versus nature thing around in my brain quite frequently. Mother's Day is coming up and I think of the many people in my life that have helped me along the way. First and foremost I must mention my own mother. She taught me many things that I still practice to this day and have taught my own children. Bring a hostess gift or treat when visiting friends. Work hard. Keep things clean and organized. Don't gossip. My mother never gossiped, she just told people straight out what she thought. My daughters and I call this having a "Frieda moment". My mom and I had some very rough years and I am happy to say that we have worked through the worst of it. We actually have a lot of fun together these days! (we're going shopping this afternoon) My mother's mother (Oma) reared 6 children mostly by herself. My Opa was killed during World War II. Oma was a very straightforward, no nonsense woman that appeared to be loved by an entire town! I spent summers with her when we lived in Germany. On our daily marketing adventures, she was stopped by most shopkeepers and seemed to know everyone that passed on the cobblestone street. She had a kind word for all. As kind and loving as she was, she could be very stern when the occasion called for it. I suffered many a lecture or a good swat on the rear if that was what was needed at the time. I remember sitting in her kitchen making homemade noodles for soup and placing them all around the kitchen. This resembled massive heads of hair drying. Later some noodles would be cooked up in a scrumptious broth and we would sit down to a huge bowl of soup and crusty bread. Oma always said she was going to marry a black man because she thought they were absolutely beautiful. She never did, she remained a widow until she passed this life. The smell of chamomile always brings a fond memory of Oma. I was her favorite. My Tante Gretl was the eldest daughter and took care of her 5 siblings while Oma was recovering from a nasty bout of tuberculosis. Tante Gretl had four sons and borrowed me as much as possible. She taught me that a job well done has it rewards. During the summer, after work we would sit in the garden and share a Salzstanger (similar to a soft pretzel only better). Tante Gretl will not get on a plane, I haven't seen her in person in 24 years. High time for me to hop a plane and get over there! Tante Gretl always did extra special things for me, bought dresses, dolls and treats, I am pretty sure I was her favorite.

One of the happiest moments in my life is when my daughter became a mother! I was able to see the miracle unfold and take care of her while she delivered my grandson. Her husband was kind enough to allow me to stay for such a special family moment. Lucky me I was there when Anna shot into the world in record time. It has been a great joy to watch my daughter nurture and care for my grandchildren. Here are three generations of mothers, aren't we lovely!

At the tender age of oh, about five, I met a British lady who would become a life long friend.

We lived catty corner from her townhouse. She always treated me in such a special way as a friend rather than a pesky child wandering around the neighborhood. I thought Sylvia was one of the most beautiful women I ever met. I still think so. She and my mother became friends by virtue of knowing me. Sylvia did not have children of her own, she would spend many hours entertaining not only me, but a variety of other hooligans, I was her favorite. She was a glamorous lady and I loved listening to her speak. I was married in 1979 and Sylvia was unable to attend and passed this life not to long after my wedding. I still think very fondly of her.

Sometimes our friends "mother" us when we need it most. We talk to them about things we wouldn't share with everyone. Advice is given and largely ignored, much laughter is shared, fun is had by all. My friends have been a source of strength through many rough patches.

Most women have that innate sense of nurturing and we care for those around us whether we give birth to them or not. To all the wonderful women who care for their children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, friends, neighborhood children, church children, husbands, students, boyfriends, and strangers - Happy Mother's Day!!! You Deserve It! Remember we are all in this takes a village!


Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful post! I love the stories of when you were younger! I havent heard those!

Anonymous said...

Connie, what a touching and beautiful post. Loved the photos too. Hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day!