Plural. Not just me, not just my immediate mother. My immediate mother is the woman who bore me. Well, some days she bored me, too, but that’s another set of stories. Sorry Mom. I never could resist a straight line. My other mothers are the long string back to Eve most of whose names are lost in history, and all the aunts, cousins, foster moms, adoptive moms, and surrogates. Quite a room full.
From my mom, I learned details about her mom, dad’s mom, moms in our church, their grandmothers, their surroundings, their trials, failures, successes, and triumphs. Quite a club. If we don’t keep communicating, passing the torch so to speak, they and their stories will be lost in history and the new generations of mothers will be starting over without support except from peers who are also thinking things up as they go if they haven’t had those who have gone before them in their background, in their heads and hearts. That’s a rush in genealogy, finding letters between mothers and daughters maybe separated by a long wagon trail or an ocean, filling in the blanks and finding actual facts to fill other blanks.
My manager is a younger woman with a 9 year old daughter, an only child so far. I was chatting with her about the hassles of motherhood, how sometimes organization becomes a ghost instead of a goal, illustrated by keeping the ironing board out permanently and its becoming a new coat rack, like Erma Bombeck‘s. She laughed and said “Who?”
Within 24 hours, she had in her hand one of three paperbacks I still have, “Just Wait Until You Have Children of Your Own.” Do read the intro page on the site I just linked. Erma was one of my surrogates. Now considered more of an example of what women think they don’t want to be, her humor still resonates with any mother who has been snowbound with antsy kids, or had a dancing washing machine, or sat with a croupy baby in a bathroom turned steamroom from 2am to whenever, or had a child’s finger pull up her eyelid every morning, or whose children proceeded to turn stuffed animals into missles as soon as the phone rang.
I’ll venture to say that her sometimes biting, over the top humor saved more than harmed children from a mother whose sense of humor took a temporary hike.
I’ve plotted a time line from Genesis. It shows me that Noah’s daddy could have visited Adam who lived 930 years and learned from his firsthand experience what it was like in the garden, what it was like to visit face to face with the creator of the universe. Did Adam and God laugh and joke? I also saw that Noah’s son, Shem, who lived 602 years, outlived Abraham, his 7-great grandson by about 30 years. Did they visit? If Abraham and Shem talked, he could have told Abraham what his grampa learned from Adam. That’s only two links back over 2000+ years. Wow.
To think that children in the 21st century are considered fortunate to have been personally acquainted with a grandparent when Abraham could have walked with his 7-great grandfather who could have walked with his 6-great grandfather … I am envious.
When I am escorted into heaven, I want to see Jesus, then my parents, then Rachel Cooke, the grand-daughter of the immigrants, my 3-great grandmother who helped settle Tennessee and Kentucky a mere 300+ years ago. If people lived as long as the original patriarchs, I could knock on her door and visit. If people now lived as long as they did, just think how crowded we would be. Once again, I see why I’m not in charge.
But …. I sure would like to sit over coffee with Rachel and ask about her mother, grandmother, her grandmother’s mother and all the sisters and cousins. I would ask about her motherhood experiences and settling a new land. Most of all I would want to introduce her to my children and grandchildren. From what I’ve read of her, her eyes would sparkle and she would love them.