I don't really have the words to convey all that my mom means to me. She is just the perfect mom for me. She listens to me (and listens and listens). She is my biggest cheerleader, and even though I know she kind of "has to be" because she is my mom, it means the world to me. I still remember in Elementary school my mom taking the time to read a WHOLE chapter book so she could help me with an assignment. It kind of embodies for me how she always takes the extra step to support me (and my sister). I couldn't ask for any more from a mama!
There is nothing else left for me to say except:
THANK YOU AND I LOVE YOU!
I have been incredibly lucky to have two very strong women for Grandmothers. I would describe them both as loving, opinionated, generous, hardworking, and talented. And yet they were very different people - very unique. Grandma Damaske loved to shop, brought us to church every week when we were little, and I remember her writing letters to others even when she was very ill. Grandma Lockwood was a very talented craftswoman, a singer, and I can hear her laugh still in my mind.
I loved them both very much. Marisol is named for them - Mary and Marion. I am thankful that I was lucky enough to have them both in my life for as long as I did and they live on in all those who love them.
I am lucky to call Gigi, or Nonna Gigi as my kids call her, my mother-in-law. She is a great cook (love that Italian food!), keeps my kids dressed in the finest clothes, and loves her grandchildren with all her heart. But my biggest evidence of what a great mother she is, is in her son. I am so lucky to have Mike (Michael) as my husband. I see her faith, strong mind, and generosity in him every day.
Thank you Nonna Gigi for raising the amazing man who is now my husband and my kids' dada!
Mieke is really more of a big sister to me than a cousin. I have always looked up to her and she is definitely one of my biggest role models. She is one of the first people I think of when I reflect on my own journey into motherhood. Because she handled the transition to motherhood with such love and grace she inspired me to also. Mieke was one of the only people I knew who used cloth diapers, yet because she did it I had no doubt that I could also. She also nursed all of her children. These two things were HUGE to me when I became a mother. I looked to her for advice and reassurance and she always gave it to me. She is one of the least judgmental people I know and most generous.
Obviously I think the world of her - thank you Mieke, I love you!
Trisha and I have been friends since we were in Kindergarten together. She is the amazing mother to 4 kids that range in age from 7 to 2. When I think of Trisha as a mom I think of patience, creativity, and presence. I still remember being with her before I had kids and also before Marisol was big enough to move much. I would be talking her ear off (like I do) and she would be able to listen and keep track of her boys. I on the other-hand was oblivious to the obvious attention that the kids needed. Ahhh, the life of a person before parenthood.
I also remember going over to her house to play and she had made Dominic, her oldest, a "car wash" to go through with some big paper - laying it over a box and making strips just like the cleaners in an automatic car wash. I was amazed at her creativity and thought I would never think of such a thing. She assured me that I would.
You know what? She was right.
Trisha, thank you for being such a great example of many things I aspire to, and for believing in me.
Michelle and I taught together at Jefferson High School. I was very close to Michelle when she went through her first pregnancy and then I followed her the next year with my first pregnancy! She was the first person to know I was pregnant with Gerry (yep, even before Mike!) Michelle is one of those people you just have to hang onto as a friend because she lives life to the absolute fullest. I just love being around her. This characteristic carries right over into motherhood for her. She loves her kids with all her heart. Michelle is a fighter (anyone ever play against her in soccer? Watch out!) She was one of my biggest supporters and a huge source of encouragement my first year of teaching - one of the hardest years of my life. When her kids are facing anything, she is right there next to them doing everything she can to help them overcome their challenges. Also, she's just fun.
Thank you Michelle for being a fun fighter, both as a friend and mother!
A few weeks after Marisol was born my awesome doula, Mary Ann, contacted me and let me know that she had another client who she thought would benefit from talking with my about my birth experience. Lisa was due with her first a few months later and also lived in Irondequoit. Who knew that this introduction would lead to a long, very strong friendship? Lisa is my go-to person when I want to talk about any of my newest thoughts on parenting. Her son Robbie and Marisol have been buds since they were babies and they are also trying their hand at homeschooling. Lisa is a kindred spirit, in that she likes to research. (I have yet to convince her to join Facebook though!) She would do anything for her son and it shows in his sweet personality. We moved from Irondequoit when Marisol was ,1 and now Lisa lives in Florida, but we still manage to keep in touch.
Thank you Lisa for always being a sympathetic ear and a loyal friend.
You are one amazing mama!
When we first moved to Washington DC almost 5 years ago Marisol was just barely one year old. I was nervous and excited about living in a new city. My mission was to meet people and make friends - especially mama friends. It was my first time living away from family and I knew that I would need to build up a new support system. Anita and her family were the answer to my heart's desire. Her oldest son Daniel is just a couple of months older than Marisol and they lived - wait for it - one floor below us in our condo building! Honestly I felt like her stalker for a while, but we had so much fun together I pushed my paranoia to the side and kept right on calling. I'm so glad I did because I found a friend for life. I respect Anita so much as a mom because she really follows her own instincts. Unlike me who likes to read and read (and then read some more), Anita listens to her heart and learns from her experiences. I love talking to her about parenting "stuff" and she was so helpful and supportive when our kids were really little and we were figuring out this kid "stuff" with our firsts. Anita is an amazing "re-director" of little people and gets involved to help make everyone happy and comfortable. One of my first memories is of her sharing fruit with us at the playground saying, "Food is for everyone!" Now I follow suit and always think of her when we share our food.
Thank you Anita for becoming my DC sister and mama friend for life.
I met Rebecca when she was 9 months pregnant with her second son, Ben. We met in DC at a local playground. About 9 months after I met her, she moved away to Charlottesville, VA. Even as I write that I am wondering, is that really right?? I have to double check with her. How is it possible that we lived in the same place for such a short time, yet have become so close? It speaks to the amazing person that she is. Even though she lives about 3 hours away from me we have only gotten closer in the almost 4 years (really, 4 years??) since she moved away. We have a tradition of eating pizza, drinking wine and talking late into the night (ok, so really like 10 o'clock when Rebecca can no longer keep her eyes open. EDIT: Rebecca claims that she can now stay awake till 11 o'clock. I will find out if this is a true statement when we visit in a couple of weeks). Rebecca loves her kids "fiercely" (her word) and I always think of her when I feel that fierce, mama-bear love rise in me. I also think of her when I hear or think of the word "lovely". It is the perfect juxtaposition of words to describe how I feel about her, "fiercely lovely". She is an incredible mother, demonstrating her love openly to her boys. I also am impressed with how she and her husband have worked so hard together to find a good work/family balance that is best for them. They are a great team. I can talk to Rebecca about anything on my mind and she has been so supportive of my newest passion - writing here.
Thank you Rebecca for being an amazing woman, friend, and mother. I can't wait for our next rendezvous!
My sister, Laura
So technically my sister is not a mother. But she is one of the most important woman in my life and I also love the idea that all women are mothers, regardless of their "biological child status". Laura is representing here for all the wonderful women in the world who inspire, love, and play with children every day. Laura is so great with kids and a wonderful Aunt. Her laid-back and happy attitude make her a natural when it comes to hanging out with her niece and nephew. She is always up for whatever and is great at following their lead. Although I'm sure some of my ideas have seemed strange to her at first, she listens and loves me anyways and shows us unwavering support.
Thank you Laura for being you! We love you so much.
There you have it! The amazing women and mamas who inspire me every day to be the best mama *I* can be. I realized as I wrote this that these mamas represent my growth from child, to woman, and finally to mother. I've been so lucky to find incredible women wherever I am geographically and in life. There are so many others that I know and love, and I am meeting more every day. Each one of these women is unique and so their lives and paths reflect that. The commonality, of course, is their love for their children. Which mothers have had the biggest influence on you? Who supports you the most when you are needing extra love? I hope you let them know this Mothers' Day Weekend how much you love and appreciate them!
Happy Mothers' Day!