A Mother’s Day Guest Post by Arlene Sjogren

Editor’s Note:  This Sunday we honor all the women who mother children, whether by birth, adoption, foster parenting or mentoring.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Today, we have a special treat for you.   It’s a guest blog post written by theStitch.com[unity] friend Arlene Sjogren!  Not only is she an enthusiastice follower, but she also happens to be our CEO Andre Villa’s sister and my cousin — and she’s one of the most amazing moms we know.  Enjoy.

TIME IS THE GIFT

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about what it means to me to be a mom.  With two kids out of the nest and the youngest getting ready to graduate from high school I’m definitely in a time of transition. Having been down this road before with our oldest son and daughter I can tell you that there were similarities for each teen and also unique differences in the way that they each approached choosing which path to go down. They really are their own people and the youngest is too.

Going from being a fully engaged parent to slowly taking my place on the sidelines has been humbling.  Gone are the days when I was seemingly the center of their universe, but I’m learning to slowly step out of the way and watch them from a distance as they make own their choices and enjoy both the fruits and the lessons that life brings them.

It is a joy to watch them change and grow.  Still, if I ponder this transition too long, my throat starts to constrict and my eyes well up and spill over with tears.   Where did the time go?

Looking back over the past 25 years of being a parent, it’s hard not to second guess their choices and so easy to look at my own decisions and wish I had known better, but at least I know them now.  I’ve learned that kids remember time together more than they will ever remember a gift that was bought.  Kids will hear more of what you want to teach by watching what you do, more than anything you could ever tell them. Ultimately they will grow into adults who will reflect some of what you’ve put into them and some of what they seek on their own.  All of this is fascinating to watch and witness along the way.

I find that I am time wise now.  That is to say, I’ve learned that time with those I love is all that truly matters at the end of the day.  So I am greedy in the sense that I am always looking to connect and find that opportunity to be with those that I love most.  Besides water, air and food, time with loved ones is all I really need here on earth.  Time is the gift.

My Own Mom

I write this all as I sit on a plane with my mom.  When my brother and his wife welcomed their first baby a few weeks ago, Mom and I promptly made plans to fly out to meet the newest member of our family.

Sitting by my mom on the plane, is the best.  Somehow her closeness makes me feel like a kid again. As our arms touch on the armrest I can feel the warmth of her near me.   Leaning in to chat, her face is so close to mine that I find myself noticing the changes time has brought to her.  I notice her hands too, and note the changes in my own. It’s strangely comforting to see myself in her and I know that I will always treasure this time with her on the plane.

Some of my greatest memories on this earth are with her.  She was only 19 when I was born, so we’ve basically grown up together. When I was a teenager, she used to tease me that we’d be old together and sure enough, here we are and this makes me laugh — both because she was right and because, in a sense, I’m catching up to her, though I don’t think I’ll ever catch up with her wisdom.

She’s taught me so much in this lifetime.  Things that come to mind are to “Fight for what you want in life.” She’s been her own best example of this, fighting for what’s right, what’s fair and what’s reasonable.  She also taught me what loving without conditions looks like.  She was and is the biggest cheerleader for me and my brothers — as well as her grandkids.  But this unconditional love is definitely not blind.  She’s the first one to call us out on our stuff and doesn’t hesitate to share her point of view, even if it’s the polar opposite of ours.  You might think this doesn’t sound like unconditional love but it absolutely is. It is rare to have someone in your life who sees you, warts and all, and who doesn’t judge you or make you feel unworthy.  It’s even rarer to have that person be your mom.  Her no-holds-barred love is hands-down the biggest gift she could have ever given us and it has made her my rock.  It is this priceless parental gift I have tried to give to my own children.  Only time will tell if I’ve been as successful as my mom.

Moving into this new chapter of my life – kids growing up and me and mom getting older – will take some getting used to for sure. But this Mother’s Day finds me grateful beyond measure for the gift of time.  I’m far enough into my life span to have my children all transitioning into adulthood and lucky enough to have both parents alive and thriving. (I’ll have to write about my Pops for Father’s Day!)

Time is happening.  Carving out time with loved ones is more important than ever.  There are more memories to be made, more laughs to be shared and more chapters to write.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

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