Guest Blogger

My Favorite Part by Jessica Peill-Meininghaus

1780670-e1462332802198.jpg

Being a mother is one of the most exquisitely; painfully beautiful roles one can play and it is my favorite part.

The feel of my children turning somersaults in the watery world of my womb and nursing into the wee hours of the night, year after year felt like an eternity at the time, an eternity that passed by in the breadth of a second. Reading books out loud until I was hoarse, looking for gnomes and fairies on every single walk and in our yard, daily and making art together for hours seemed like it would be a part of my life forever- but I knew that that wasn't true. I knew that the little giggles and baby smiles, the tantrums and colic, the cuddles that fit their chubby little bodies into my lap, would someday pass and I was scared because that is what motherhood looked like to me. That is what I knew, what I had wanted since I was two years, sitting in my tiny rocking chair, nursing my baby doll while my mother rocked my brother to sleep.

So now, I look at these giants that came from me, well into the double digit years, mostly teenagers, and all definitely adolescents, and I wonder what motherhood means as it evolves and grows. I’m sure it varies from person to person, circumstance to circumstance but I always want it to come back to love, to know that it is rooted in this elemental piece of life.

 My mother still mothers me as I head towards forty as her mother, mothered her as she headed toward sixty and I don’t believe there is an end in sight- thank goodness! Isn’t that what we do until we are cut off by the cessation of our breath? We seem to be driven to mother by an urge so deep and so primal that to deny it is to deny the air we need to survive.

 This isn’t the need to manipulate our children’s movements or motivations or tell them how it should be or who they should be but the drive to encourage them to find themselves, help others, make the world a more peaceful, beautiful place and love all that makes them who they are. It is a drive to help them as long as we can without interfering to the point of their rebellion in the hopes that they have less pain and more joy than we can imagine, than we, perhaps, experienced in our lives.

 I wonder on a daily basis if I am modeling enough love, acceptance, forgiveness and open mindedness and what I can do better. So, I offer suggestions and like many mothers I plead and praise, rant and rave, cry and laugh in turn because the stakes couldn’t be higher and there is no manual that fits each mother, each child and each moment- we just do our best. But that’s the best part, isn’t it? That element of adventure, of unpredictability that keeps us on our toes, that frustrates us and elates us, that makes it real, keeps us present and creative and wears us into a soft place (we hope) like the Velveteen Rabbit-- A place where we become our true selves; REAL, flaws and all-- Sticky like a mango in the sun, sweet and tart and juicy and full to the brim with flavor.

 Sometimes, I wake in the middle of the night wondering: “Am I doing this right? Do they know that I am trying to meet each of them and help them on their journey as they continue to become themselves? It was so much easier when they were little, wasn't it? Do they know that I love them so much that sometimes I can’t breathe because there is no room left in my body for anything else but my love for them? Is this how my mother feels?” I know it is. And I know that they know. How can they not?—Deep down in the dark, rhythmic pumping of their hearts, they feel the beat that my heart played for them when they still swam in me, tethered by a spiraling cord that joined our blood. They know because I whispered it into their sleeping ears while they curled against me and when they came to me with scrapes and bumps and now, when we argue as they struggle to be separate and understand the newness of themselves and how they fit into this dynamic world. It’s the song a mother sings: Love, love, love, always and forever, love.

 Often, on drives I will look with awe in the rearview mirror of our ancient minivan and count their heads- one, two, three, four. All of them there, still with me for this brief moment in our lives before we scatter apart and they seek their own adventures. Who knows how long we have? The only thing that is certain is that we have right now- nothing more, I remind myself. Why wait? So, I say it, knowing that they have heard it a thousand times and seen it in my eyes more than that, knowing that they may smile or roll their eyes a little bit to shrug off the less than cool proclamation of a mother’s love to her teenage child:

 “You’re my favorite part of this life,” I tell them. “You’re my dessert- it’s the best part, you know- that’s you. If you forget everything else, remember that."

 I don’t cry, I know that upsets and embarrasses them and I always try hard to sound relaxed but solid- I want there to be solidity there because these words are never really enough.

 “We know.” They say.

 And they do. But I will keep saying it until I can no longer draw breath to do so because that’s what mothers do, rooting ourselves deep in the foundation of our love, trying, always, to do better, to give more and to find the right words to pass on our most important feelings and thoughts, the legacy of our love for them. They know because we continue to chant our mother song long after our mouths no longer open, long after our bodies lose the ability to hold them and long after our hearts have ceased to beat, we chant to them through the ether: Love, love, love, always and forever. You are my favorite part….

Home.

***********************************

 Jessica's mother surrounded her with art and creativity from the very beginning. Jessica began her personal journey with motherhood with the birth of her son. She was influenced by her natural and Waldorf-inspired upbringing and brought those elements into her own parenting techniques along with some of her own ideas and made a constant effort to follow her instincts. She lives in Maine where she unschools three of her four children who are now eighteen, sixteen, fourteen and twelve and makes art with them as often as possible. She is a fiber artist and author of the book The Gnome Project: One Woman's Wild and Woolly Adventure and she strives to say the words "Thank you" and "I love you" every single day.

You can follow Jessica and her lovely work on her website, on her Facebook page, or on Instagram as thegnomewoman.

IMG_20160423_223709678

************************************

Jessica's favorites on her journey through motherhood:

Books

Grimm's fairy tales

Elsa Beskow books

Astrid Lindgren books

The Little Ghost by Otfried Preussler

The Never Ending Story by Michael Ende

Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke

The Inkheart Series by Cornelia Funke

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce

Toymaking with Children by Freya Jaffke

Games

Saboteur

Clue

Oh, Gnome You Don't

Frog Juice

Quiddler

Orchard (board game by Haba)

Contract Rummy

Online Shop

MamaKopp (on Etsy and Facebook)

Growing children; growing momma by Amber Morabito

Recently as my children are growing and accomplishing big milestones in their lives, I find myself melancholy, nostalgic, and missing my babies!! The babies that I carried for ten months and loved every minute of the pregnancies, the babies that nursed and gazed into my eyes knowing that I was their provider and we connected on so many levels without words (just our gazes, hearts, and warm touches), my babies, that needed me and their Papa’ for everything. I miss this… I often ask my husband, “Do you miss our babies?” and his response is, that sometimes he does, but really enjoys them getting older. My husband’s response reminds me of a conversation I was a part of where a girlfriend of mine asked another mother we were standing with if she ever misses having her babies (her kids are 8 and 10) and this mom responded by saying, “No, I tend to live in the moment and enjoy them." My husband and this woman are at peace with growing children, but I really miss my babies! Although, what comforts my heart in these moments of missing my babies is watching them flourish into such competent children.

My oldest, even though he will not admit it, LOVES school, likes reading, enjoys his friends, and above all else still LOVES learning. Although I often hear about how hard things are at school and how frustrated he is about doing homework and all the things his teachers say he must do…he does these things and does them well. He also is very confident and excels physically in the activities he participates in. He is also a wonderful big brother. Finally, he has a kind and sensitive soul and wisdom beyond his years that I continue to understand as he ages. So when I miss my baby boy, I am comforted by the fact that as he grows, I get to know who he is and relish in what he is becoming…and know that what we did when he was a baby has helped him succeed as a competent, confident, healthy, growing child.

My youngest is technically still my baby, but don’t tell her that. She reminds us almost daily, “when I’m 4, I will be big and do….” . She will be 4 in June and it seems like yesterday she was born!! Time flies…but as with my son, as this little lady grows, we see who she is. She is ready to conquer the world and because she has such a light that shines so bright, you will want to conquer it with her! She is sweet, empathic, and loves so deeply those that she loves and all of her experiences. Such an innate awareness, appreciation, and genuineness her care free spirit already possesses.  People often cannot believe that she is only 3 years old and this has been the sentiment since she turned 3. This has a lot to do with her BIG brother and all the experiences she has been afforded as a second child, but also she was just “born with it”.

Recently, with both of my children, I have had moving experiences where I continue to evolve and learn from their strength, courage, and willingness to experience all that this world has to offer! It is an interesting existence for me as their mother, because where I know that I helped raise them so far into who they are, they came to us for a reason and are huge blessings and gifts that make me a better person! While I know I have moments where I really miss my babies, I am a grateful Mamma with a full heart as I watch my babies grow! While on this journey of life, I will remind myself to enjoy the moments, because in the end, the moments will make up my life as their mother and their lives growing into adulthood!

Cheers to watching our babies grow!!

"The highest reward for a person's work is not what they get for it, but what they become by it." - John Ruskin

 Amber Morabito is an educational consultant who recently moved from San Francisco, where she had been for 12 years. While residing there she had the pleasure and honor to build a very solid network of amazing people that shared her passion and commitment to children and their families. Despite the move, her vision is clear: to spend her life helping and educating others, conducting research, and advocating for young impressionable minds.

Her educational background is rooted in psychology and child development. She has a Master’s degree in Developmental Psychology and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Psychology with a focus on children and families.  She has over 12 years experience teaching in early childhood education, 4years teaching adults at the college level, and 4 years consulting with educators and parents so that best child development and educational practices are possible. She is also a mother of 2 children and through all of her experiences educationally, professionally, and personally, continues to grow and learn daily as she strives to experience the world through the eyes of children and partner with others that strive to do the same.

Her email is consultamber@hotmail.com.