“Just a Mom”- Reflections on 41 Years of Mothering
By Linda de Azevedo, Mother of the Creators of Signing Time
“Mother dear, I love you so,
Your happy smiling face
Is such a joy to look at,
It makes home a lovely place”
This was a song I sang many years ago as little girl in Jr. Sunday School. Our mothers wore corsages, got a long-stemmed carnation or a little plant from the church, and had either had breakfast in bed prepared by the children with help from Father, or went out after church services to a nice place for lunch.
I am a Baby-Boomer. Baby Boomers were born in the post-World War II years between 1946 and 1956. I learned to read in the Dick and Jane and Baby Sally era. Dads drove the automobile to work, and Moms worked at homemaking and housekeeping and both parents were there for the children.
I wanted to be that dear Mother in the song, with the happy smiling face that was such a joy to look at, and with the home that was such a lovely place. I wanted to be capable like Dick and Jane and Baby Sally’s mom.
When I grew up I wanted to be a mother, not a teacher, a secretary or a nurse, which seemed to be the four career day choices for little girls in 3rd grade in 1955. I didn’t realize that when I did become a mother, I would not only be a teacher, secretary and a nurse, but also a hundred other specialists that are an inherent part of the job description.
I got married in 1966 at age 19, and became a mother to Carrie at age 20. Within the next ten years, came Julie, Emilie, Alexis, Rachel, and then 3 months before I turned 30, my 6th child, Rebecca, was born. 4 years later I had 3 more children, Christian, Sarah, and Aaron, between 1981 and 1985. That’s 9 amazing and productive human beings, 6 girls and 3 boys. Rachel Coleman is #5 and Emilie Brown is #3, and if you can’t guess, they are the ones who asked me to write this Mother’s Day article for Signing Time!
Being pregnant a lot became a way of life at our house! It is hilarious to compute that I was pregnant for 81 months and breast-feeding about 60 months. I had babies in ’67, ’68, ’71,’72, ’74,’77, ’81, ’83, and ’85. Numbers 3-9 were natural childbirths, with #6 also a home birth.
Having been a mother for over 41 years, and a grandmother for almost 18, I can hardly remember ever not being a mom. I had my youngest son Aaron, #9, a month before my oldest daughter Carrie graduated from high school. Next oldest, #2, Julie, had the first grandchild, and 5-year old “Uncle” Aaron brought his baby nephew, Tanner with him to Kindergarten for Show and Tell.
Did you want to have a large family is one question I have been asked a few times! I really didn’t plan on it. I was the oldest of a family of 4 girls and I thought that 4 children was a family size that was just fine. I felt very strongly that children were a blessing, and as each one came along, well, I had faith that I could handle the blessings! I love my life, and I love the way it turned out.
Since I’m writing for Signing Time, how can I not sing the praises of a those 2 young moms, Emilie Brown and Rachel Coleman, who started a sign language explosion out of the simple desire to help Baby Alex communicate with his 2-year old deaf cousin Leah? All of you Moms are like that. Nothing stands in the way of a Mom with ideas and inspiration!
I’m just a mom: have you ever felt like that? I did, for sure, starting out. Now that I’m at the other end of life’s spectrum, I can’t believe what a difference being a mom makes for my family, the world, and me.
You Just-a-Moms are what moves civilization toward compassion, peace, truth and love.
Just-a-Moms will sacrifice anything for their families and for the good of their children.
You Just-a-Moms hang in there and wear yourselves out daily to give a little guy or gal a chance of attaining their true potential, no matter how tiny it might be.
Just-a-Moms today do mothering while often being bread-winners, career women, and contributors on many fronts.
Time to close with another memorable lyric from those Jr. Sunday School days, and wishing you all a Happy Mother’s Day.
“I know a name, a glorious name, dearer than any other,
Listen, I’ll whisper the name to you: It is the name of Mother.
Mother so tender and kind and true, I love you, I love you.
Mother so tender and kind and true, I love you.”
* “Mother Dear” Maud Belnap Kimball, Mildred Tanner Pettit
* “The Dearest Name” words and music: Frances K. Taylor 1870-1953
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