I have been wanting to write about ‘the young mother’ in general, as there is so much to say. They are resilient characters, and quite charming and beautiful on top of it. I was one once, but no longer, for sure, but I have a few in my life. Two of them are my daughters. I watch them as they nurture and listen to their young, as they do things that mothering compels them to do, and yet they do not forsake their own personality as another generation of women thought mothering would. It takes a lot to be in tune constantly to another person, or several of them at the same time. One day not long ago I called my sister and exclaimed, “Remember when we had to be aware of where they were every minute??!!” And that has completely passed from our lives. The old wives would say, “This time goes by so fast.” And I’d think “yeah, yeah, yeah. Didja notice I am swallowed up by the minutiae of children’s needs??” someone else said to me, “These are the best years of your life.” My children were quite small then and it was a pretty regular regimen of changing diapers and feeding mouths…. After you bought and prepared the food to feed them. And laundry, and cleaning up spills and throw up. I was hoping they weren’t the best years of my life. My kind grandmother said to me, “It is a big hurdle when they can feed themselves and are potty-trained.” Actually, it is magic! In the middle of it all, I am sure that good food was enjoyed, we sang lots of songs, read lots of books and anything we liked to do we shared with our kids. And we thought having kids was fun! We had five of them. Now I watch the young mothers do what I did and figure things out for themselves. And when they apologize for not having everything altogether all the time I won’t hear it. I try to shush them up. Don’t vex yourself over the impossible. If you are in good spirits most of the time when you’ve got little ones, it is a gift, something to cherish and make use of.
So now that I have talked about me, let me talk about my daughters. I’ll let Mary be first, because being in the middle, she is never first. Mary decided when she was in high school that ‘governing others’ was not her forte. But they weren’t hers. Her own are a different story. Mary is strong. The other day she left here with one kid on one hip and the other kid on the other of her 5’2” frame. She still finds time to garden and sew and play with her girls and whip out a good pie. I haven’t had one for a while, but I am sure they are good. Mary could make a pie before she could make a meal. Her house is neat as a wink, and things work, unlike mine. It is also charming. Atmosphere plays a big role in a child’s life. The Lingos have always known how to play and their place is always fun to go.
Jeannette is the researcher and the agenda-girl. She is never behind on what the latest bit on raising kids or kid gadgets are. She has had the extra challenge of a deaf child and having to jump through the hoops it takes to see that he gets the help and training that he needs and it is a family affair. There is always something in the making at the Jones’s house, a project underway. Sometimes her husband says, “Why does she start a skirt the morning of when she wants to wear it?” I smile. Or “Jeannette always remarks on the price of gas at all the stations.’ Sounds like a definite Calhoun trait. After all, it’s not like the prices are stagnant, they change all the time. Then I hear myself say, “What makes them think they can charge 8 cents more than the person across the street?” The food is always good, the books are piled high. Creative play is encouraged, children are listened to. I’m pretty proud of my young mothers.