Monday, May 12, 2008

Celebrating mothers of influence

Sunday morning Meilani and Ericlee let me lounge in bed and read while they made breakfast. Since I'm usually on food duty in this household, it was a great surprise. Cinnamon french toast and fresh strawberries and bananas adorned my plate along with a bouquet of bright flowers. I think one of the best parts of Mother's Day (and then Father's Day) is the chance to turn everyday routines into a chance to serve each other and shower each other with appreciation.
On Sunday we celebrated Mother's Day with both mamas (also known as Grandma Chris and Nana Maria). We all went to church together at the Bridge to watch Nana Maria sing in the choir. Then we headed to our house for a homemade meal and some time by the pool. We know most people go out for Mother's Day pampering, but we decided a few years ago to pamper ourselves at home and beat the crowds at restaurants. Not to mention that I love an excuse to make a decadent meal. (Cooking is pleasure for me, not work.)

For Sunday's lunch, I had fun using my new Emeril pots and pans. I made a new recipe out of Bon Appetit mag - a puff pastry asparagus tart for an appetizer. The served a Spinach Salad with strawberries and caramelized red onions and Gorgonzola cheese. Our main course was Mom's fave, Eggplant Parmesan with Tomato Meat Sauce. We had some fresh bread from the bakery and this decadent Chocolate-Lavender Tart with ice cream for dessert.

After our meal, the boys watched basketball and the girls took a dip in the pool. These are the kinds of holidays I love. After spending so many holidays, away from my family it's such a gift to just hang out together and enjoy each other's company. In the evening, Mom and Dad helped me complete a project I've been wanting to do for a long time. We recovered the cushions on our breakfast nook with a fun, stripey fabric. (My friend Cori got me started on Saturday and Sunday we finished the job.)

Before bed on Sunday night, I found myself reflecting on the mothers in my circle of life who have influenced me. Mothering is such a wonderful, thrilling, exhausting, and at times, overwhelming journey. I know it's important to gather strength from other mothers who walk the journey ahead of me or next to me. These are a few of the lessons I've learned from other mothers in these first few years:

From my own mother, Maria, I've learned the passion of mothering. She loves fiercely and wholly. She serves tirelessly and creatively. She has instilled in me the values of mercy and faithfulness. She has embraced a multicultural world and taught me how to celebrate diversity.

From my mother-in-law, Chris, I've learned the art of giving. She is faithful. She is a mentor and friend, always looking for ways to lift people up from their depravity and celebrate their humanity. She loves to spoil and tell stories.

My sister, Caron, teaches me that mothering is cracking open a wide world of learning for our children. I love the way she reads, sings, plants, swims, dances and dreams with my niece and nephew. She's taught me that it's OK to make mistakes and to give myself some time off too. My sister-in-law, Michelle, though only a mama for a few short months, has shown me perserverance and how to follow the mother instincts - even while she had to visit her baby in the hospital for the first month.

I've had the privilege of peering in the window of the lives of a few dear friends who started their journey ahead of me. From Michelle, I've come to understand the importance of teaching our children the Bible and giving them tools to live out their faith. Michelle is my mentor and even though her children are grown she's modeled for me the importance of mothering through fervent prayers and object lessons. She's shown me that mothering is about "letting go."

Cindy has taught me to have courage when I make decisions about parenting that are unpopular. She's taught me to trust my mother instincts. She's reminded me that dancing with my daughter and spending those extra minutes cuddling before sleep are priceless. Cindy reminds me that being a wife and being a mother is a balance I must be intentional about. Jen has taught me to be consistent with my daughter. She mothers her two daughters with such care and creativity. I like to steal her ideas for outings and craft projects.

My friends Jessica and another Jen show me the art of mothering multiple children. This is something I've yet to tackle. I watch them do it on a daily basis with grace and a huge dose of patience. They make sacrifices so their families can experience the best of learning, love and life. They encourage me as I think about the future.

Marcy walks this mothering journey beside me and teaches me mercy and grace as she mothers her own son, Corban, and a foster son, Angel, with equal care and love. Paula shows me how to celebrate children as she devotes her days to playing with her girls and teaching them spiritual values. My friend, Amy, schools me in ways to stimulate learning with her boys. She's not afraid to get out and play with Isaiah and Luke and celebrate their personalities.

Some of my friends have younger children, yet they are daily encouragement to me as I watch them walk this winding road before us. Susan teaches me the art of balance as she works and mothers Niana with enthusiasm. Christine shows patience as she's faced some adversity but still mothers with such a love and fierce pride over her son. Allison reminds me how to mother with wonder and style. She is frugal and measured in her approach. Mary mothers with a tender, nurturing touch. Beverly shows me with her laid-back and loving spirit how to give kids a space for play and messes while still maintaining grace and order. She shows me that ministry is a whole-family affair and that children should join us on that journey.

I'm celebrating so many mothers who have poured into my life. I'm indebted to the women who have mothered me along the way. I'm thankful to those who have buoyed me up when I felt unsure of how to mother best. See you on the mother journey.

Happy Mother's Day!


The VM Family said...

I'm sure I can speak for us all when I say we are better mothers because of your influence too, Dorina.

Your passion (in general) but specifically for healthy life choices has definitely convicted me. Meilani finds joy in all parts of life, lives with gusto and is just a little bundle of energy and passion, ready and willing to tackle anything. All this she learns from you!

I like that I can say I knew you from even before you were a mom and that you are completely maternal is no surprise. A nurturing, take-care-of-everyone element has always been a part of your being.

Thanks for the thoughful blog. Know that YOU are an awesome example too!

Love, Jen

Anonymous said...

Happy Mother's Day to you! What a great mother you are! I amazed how you balance everything in your life. Thanks for your words of encouragement.

Anonymous said...

After a super busy week of grading and working on all the end of school year items, I finally took the opportunity to read your blog. I cried. Thank you my precious daughter for your words and your ways of touching lives. Thanks also for the fabulous dinner and lovely Mother's Day in all aspects!
Love and joy,

Anonymous said...

Thank you once again, Dorina, for sharing your gift of writing...I was moved to tears. You are a blessing for which I praise the Lord. M.H.