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I am thrilled to share with you the series of guest posts appearing here in the coming weeks, as I take a little extra time to settle in and soak up my family and the new life among us. "Soulful Mothering" is a series of written words, photographs, craft projects and thoughts on mothering from some of my favorite ladies on the web. I'm so grateful to each of them for sharing their time with me, and their hearts and words in this space. I have been inspired by the gifts they've shared, and I'm sure you will too. Enjoy!
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The Making of a Mother
Last year my husband and I laid a flagstone patio in our back yard.
OK, I have to be honest. He did most of the heavy work, but I played a part in digging out the old grass, laying a new layer of sand, leveling it all, and then directing the placement of the huge flagstones as if they were pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle.
In doing our research, we read that in laying a patio like this requires you to lay the largest stones first. Not only because they are so heavy, and you DO NOT want to have to move them again. But also because they become the anchor stones in your patio. And the anchor stones are used to judge if the others are level as you fill in the smaller stones around them.
This past Mother’s Day weekend, we enjoyed a night on the patio with friends over homemade sangria and an outdoor movie. The patio has quickly become our most favorite “room” in the house. And I got to thinking about how laying the stones in the patio are such a perfect metaphor for my journey in motherhood.
Some people know the exact moment they become a mother. Maybe it is seeing the + sign on the pregnancy test, maybe it is the first time they see that sweet wrinkly face. One of my best friends says ever since she was a little girl, she has known she was going to be a mama. But I can’t tell you the exact moment the fullness of motherhood hit me.
For me…the evolution of motherhood has taken time. And the process has looked much more like laying a patio, one giant stone puzzle piece at a time.
I come from a long line of amazing mothers. My own mother is one of the strongest, most giving and selfless women I know. She taught me about knowing your children as individuals and nurturing the gifts they naturally possess. And my grandmothers Florence and Shirley loved their children whole-heartedly before that. One grandmother taught me how to catch and clean my own fish and the other how to make a great pecan pie.
I don’t know if they realize it, but these women in my life laid the anchor stones…the heavy stones that do not move when life as a mother gets tough. They are there whether I realize it or not because they are too heavy to be moved.
And there have been other amazing mama role models along the way.
A stone was laid by Mrs. Franklin, my Campfire leader, who taught me about how important faith is. The very thing that would get me through the difficulties that being a military wife brings.
Mrs. O’Donnell, my third grade reading teacher instilled a love of words and a love of poetry. Something I would later share with my own children and provide a way to connect with other mothers all over the world. A stone was laid.
During college, I watched as my good friend Margo grew into a mother right before my eyes and I held the tiniest little baby I’d ever seen – her daughter Maddy. A stone was laid that day as well.
Two years after my husband and I were married, I thought I had my life planned out. I got pregnant and found out we would be welcoming not only one baby, but two…twins! Another stone was laid as I learned having children in my life would bring many unexpected twists and turns.
And as my belly grew, and grew, and grew and everyone we came in contact with wanted to touch my stomach, I realized that these babies did not only belong to me. They were ultimately a gift to our entire group of family and friends. Another stone was laid.
With the help of my wonderful midwife Pattie, my healthy boys were delivered safely and as I felt huge empowerment as my body did what God had designed it to do. Patti, a mother herself, helped me realize how strong I could really be. Another stone was laid.
And there so many more…Joyce and Thea who have both became stand in mothers here in Virginia when my own mother is so far away in Texas each contributed stones in their own way.
Then I am blessed to have women in my life that I call sister-mamas, a wonderful group of women with young children themselves. They are women who show up at my door with boxed pizza and a bottle of wine when they know it’s been a particularly rough day. They are women who call to ask how my day has been when S is out of town. Women to cry with me and pray with me. They want the best for me and my marriage. And they love my children almost as much as I do. Ambre, Shannon, Staci, Kari, Alicia, Jamie, Stefani, Amanda…and others have all laid a stone and with each encouraging word made me a stronger mother.
And here I am now, a mother of three boys. I have an unshakable foundation laid by the strong women in my family. And stone by stone I am becoming the mother I was born to be, one stone at a time.
Today, I encourage you to think about the women around you who have made you the mother you are today. And if you feel like it, I’d even encourage you to shoot an email, write a letter, or pick up the phone and tell her why she means so much to you. Much love to you all today!
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Eren San Pedro never thought she would give up her day job to stay at home with her three boys, 8 year old twins and a 6 year old. But home is where she is happy these days with her U.S. Navy husband and her three boys. When Eren is not looking for vintage linens at yard sales, she can be found barefoot in her backyard garden or writing about her days at Vintage Chica.