I love these two women dearly, and I miss them more than can be expressed in this blog…
My maternal grandmother, Emma Weatherspoon, passed away on July 12, 2003, at the age of 74. My paternal grandmother, Aggie Amith, died on July 25, 2013, at the age of 93.
Emma gave birth to 11 children; Aggie to 12. My maternal grandfather died when my mom was ten, leaving Emma to raise her children by herself. Aggie also played the more significant role in raising her 12.
I reflect on these women right now because I am in a bad mood. I do not know how they did it. They did not have many of the modern conveniences that make life easier. These Southern matriarchs cooked every meal from scratch–there was no “instant” anything, and if there were, they could not afford it. They did not have dishwashers, microwaves, and for awhile, washers or dryers. Yet, both of them said that raising their children was the joy of their life.
I am not feeling so joyful right now.
As I have mentioned before, I am not the type of person to lie and say that ever single moment of motherhood is rewarding–at that moment, at least. For the women that say that and really feel that way, KUDOS to you! For the mothers who really enjoy spending every single moment of their lives with their children, my hat goes off to you. Right now, I am desperately craving alone time with my husband, or just alone time.
My daughter has been sleepy for about eight hours but refuses to take a nap. And each time I get her close to going to sleep, that is when my son decides he desperately needs something that in all actuality could have waited–a piece of paper to draw on, a piece of his Easter candy, etc. Or he will do something that makes a noise and wakes her up. It is difficult trying to get a baby to sleep when we live in such a confined little space. My daughter picks up almost invisible bits of nothing off the floor and I have to always watch to make sure she is not eating them. She has toys to play with but would rather try to pull apart books or destroy the computer or printer if she can reach them. My son does not like any activities that do not make a ton of noise. Every five seconds he is asking me for SOMETHING. I just want to be left alone and for it to be QUIET.
I cannot imagine a day consumed with not only housework but tending to the needs, wants and whims of not 2, but 11 or 12 children!! (On each side, the kids were born pretty much back to back). How many diaper changes does that equal? Breast-feedings, bottles of formula, fussiness, baths, messes to clean up, lunches and dinners to fix, sickness (without the technology and medication of today, mind you)? Sometimes I can get my rambunctious son to sit down and watch SpongeBob-they did not even have that option!
Mrs. Emma and Mrs. Aggie, I salute you. You were two of the most dynamic women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I learned from you what it means to be a mother–being a mother is the most sacrificial, oftentimes thankless job a woman can ever do. I have to look to them as an example of how I should think of my children and how it will come back to me if I do what I am supposed to do. At the end of their lives, both women had children who were willing to sacrifice of themselves to take care of them–neither of my grandmothers died in a nursing home. (Unfortunately, not all children shared in those duties, but the ones who did are probably living more peacefully than the ones who shirked their responsibility to their ailing mother).
A mother who raises her children in a nurturing environment will be blessed by God and many rewards will be heaped upon her. In times like this when I am stressed out, I have to remind myself of my most important job and that it will come back to me. They will be successful, God-fearing, productive adults one day, and I will be able to say I played a role in that.