I wasn't expecting much of a Mother's Day (nor was that a disappointment - other than helping me with some chores, I really didn't want a big deal kind of day). The kids have been sick and we're all sort of wandering around in mumbling 'bleah' these last couple days.
But I had a call from my 22 year old to start the day and then surprisingly, the two at home had a big bag full of goodies for me - candles, lip balm, a set of bags (ranging from makeup bag to fullsized tote), windchimes, and all sorts of other odds and ends that made me smile repeatedly. (My favorite would be hard to choose but the mug that says "The best part of waking up is the first three pots of coffee." wins for biggest belly laugh.)
So, we're still all bleah and if I want the dishes done I'd better go do them, but that was really sweet and unexpected and I know it took them some work and thought to pull it all together. I got good kids.
I want to close out my time with the Housewives Tarot with a reading for Mother's Day and chose this one from the Aeclectic Tarot. I am a daughter, a mother and a grandmother and liked the way this focuses on the legacy of motherhood that comes from the past and the way it is passed onto the future. We are links in a chain. I modified it a bit expanding it to include my grandmother and grandchildren.
I didn't have a close relationship with either of my grandmothers and most of what I know of them comes from family legend and hints of stories never fully told. My father's mother passed away a few months before I was born, and from all accounts, she was a firecracker and a bit of a renegade. I'm not honestly sure how much traditional mothering she offered... I get the idea that my dad pretty much fended for himself... but he had a fierce love for her that brooked no criticism. What I do think I get about who she was was that she saw what wasn't there often... always looked beyond her situation and searched for hope for better things. She wasn't always practical about making it so, but she had a vision that it might be possible. The Star here speaks well to that.
My mother's mother was an occasional visitor in my life, and I liked her very much - she also had a very difficult life and seemed to bloom in her old age after she became a widow. The things I remember about her were her fondness for soap operas and the color purple (I share her fondness for purple and don't watch soaps, though I do think of her whenever someone tries to explain an intricate plot to me, having mastered the art of smiling and nodding when she'd 'catch me up' on the doings of her imaginary TV friends) and a trip I took with her on the bus to the mall when I was about 12... she knew the bus driver, the fellow passengers and what seemed like every single worker in the mall - their names, their families, the gossip of their lives, and to each one, she beamingly introduced me as her granddaughter from out of town. Gramma really liked people and was fearless about getting out where she could get to know them. This is also the Star ... she had a way of making everyone feel like a Star in her world, like a major actor in a living drama there for her enjoyment and appreciation. She, too, had a way of seeing beyond the ordinariness of the ordinary and making it something special.
I like thinking I've perhaps inherited this gift from each of them... I know it's a trait that sometimes caused their own children, my parents, some concern (much legitimate) and embarrassment, but I like thinking I've got a touch of it in me as well.
This is sad, but true. There is an intergenerational 'thing' in my family that makes us completely lose contact once we've hit adulthood... the extended family is very fragmented and uncommunicative and it's not anyone's fault... or everyone's fault. But this is the reality - my parents and I have not spoken in years and I've given up hope that we ever will, and it's not that we're officially Not Talking... we just don't. (That used to hurt a lot, but I've let it go.. it just is what it is.) She rarely spoke with her own mother for reasons I'm not clear on, and this has already slipped into the next generation - my oldest daughter and I have not communicated in a long while and we both have compelling reasons/excuses for not pursuing it. (On the other hand, her younger sister, also grown, stays in close contact with me, and I don't know if my mom stays in better touch with my sisters - I know her mother was in much more frequent contact with my mother's sister, who lived locally to her)
This is a sad legacy - while in one sense, I acknowledge that one's family aren't always composed of the people who understand you best or who are the people you'd voluntarily elect to socialize with if they weren't family, it starts feeling a lot less like a choice than a legacy when you see it happening repeatedly in one family. There is something about us that doesn't seem to sustain the parent/child relationship past the point where the child is dependent on the parent for care.
And if you'd asked me what the best thing I'd learned from my mother, I'd say that it was independence... so it's not all bad. But somehow we never found a good replacement for that dependent type relationship and so just let it go. And I feel guilty and a bit lost that I seem to have passed that on without meaning to. I am very hopeful that it will not play out this way with my other children.
This card shows a woman watering a tree that is heavy with Pentacle fruit, surrounded by flowering bushes. She's smiling at her bounty and carries a basket of cuttings. This does speak well to where I am now... my 'baby' is nearly 15 and the biggest hands-on aspects of mothering are behind me... now I am at a stage where I can see my children developing into the adults they are becoming and by and large I very much like what I see - I'm at a place where, other than some maintenance work, I can be more of an observer and trust that their growth is going well.
It is a much more peaceful aspect of motherhood for me than it was in their earlier years, and also more trusting of the process than I was when my older girls were teens - I've now seen that over time things do work out... they do grow and mature over time and it's much easier to enjoy the stages than it was when I was less experienced. It's no lie.. the more kids you have, the easier it gets, not harder, and that has to do with getting more aligned with the stages and development over time of the children in our hearts. I really like the image on this card - it says 'life is good. stop and take time to enjoy it.'
What legacy am I passing onto my daughters as they become mothers?
I hope this is true.. this card shows a woman taking time out for some self-care and this is something I often forgot when they were younger... as much as I didn't want to, I often got into a rut of martyring my needs for theirs, to the benefit of no one. The 4 of Swords is a reminder that taking care of oneself is also a way of caring for others... not only because a tired, burnt out mother is not a very good mother, but because by taking care of our own wellbeing, we are teaching our children to value themselves as well. It is my hope that as my daughters become parents, they will never lose themselves to the role or make the mistake of thinking that non-stop sacrifice is what makes for a good mother. Children want their parents to be happy and well cared for too, and it's good for them to see that it's possible to be a caregiver to others without losing the ability to care for oneself as well.
What legacy can I pass onto my grandchildren?
Hah! And here it is again.. the 9 of Cups. And an interesting version too ... here it shows a couple under a Christmas tree opening gifts, while 9 silver goblets hover overhead. There's something about this card that indicates that my relationship to my grandchildren - none of whom are local to me - can best come by being the keeper of special occasions and traditions... those moments where we are most likely to get what we 'wish' for, but beyond sending them a pony or a drum set (hee!), I see this as a part of what I never really had and wanted from my own grandparents... the stories, the history... the family traditions that put structure into the mix and holds an extended family together across time, generation, and distance. This makes me want to provide my grandchildren with those stories of their own parents, and me, and my parents and grandparents.. to be the gateway to the wider family they can't know other than through story and recipes and customs. I want to be more mindful of my role here... this feels important.
Happy mothers day to all the mothers and the children of mothers... nurture one another and yourselves. And man... go wash the dishes for her, ok?