Sometimes life sends you a friend that you'll have the rest of your life. I was lucky enough to find such a friend many years ago, and she has been a follower of this blog since I started it.
Can you imagine my surprise and honor when she asked me if she could be
a guest blogger for me? For Mothers' Day? I said "yes" with tears in my eyes!
It is with great fanfare that I send you this Mothers' Day post, written from my dear
My friendship with the creator of A Toile Tale began in 1987 in Cincinnati, Ohio. A new family had moved in at the end of the block and they had two teenage daughters; that meant two possible babysitters! If my memory serves me correctly, I packed up my 4 year old daughter and my 2 year old son and headed down to meet the new neighbors. Linda Peterson opened the door and with a warm smile, welcomed me and the kids in. That was the beginning of a 26 years (and still going) friendship with Linda, Larry (Mr. Pressed Pants), Amy Peterson Gralnik and Susie Peterson Yuhasz.
Though many miles separate us these days (Linda and Larry live in the Atlanta area, Amy and Susie and their families live in the Cleveland area and I am in the Los Angeles area) we are still very present in each others’ lives. I attended both Amy and Susie’s weddings and have watched them become accomplished adult women and most importantly, wonderful mothers of boys (who you know thru Linda’s postings).
There is so much to share about why I love the Petersons, but since it’s Mothers Day, I’m choosing a story about my dear friend Linda – mostly because I want to honor her. I’m not sure Amy and Susie know this story about their mom, but considering the age their boys are now, I have no doubt this heartfelt advice from their mom to me will surely might come in handy if not now, someday soon.
Linda wrote me this very important message after we had been talking on the phone. I had been sharing some frustrations about one of my boys. (Michael was age 15 at the time, so does this surprise you?) After we hung up, these very wise words came to me via email on May 13, 2001. I printed and saved these sentiments and have shared them with friends. The paper they are printed on is old now and the edges are crinkled.
No matter how long ago they were written, this note from Linda always provides me with the strength I need to be a good mom/right mom even now that my children are adults. My guess is these thoughts have/will apply to you and your life as well. It’s a Mother’s Day wish from me to all A Toile Tale’s readers. These words never cease to bring me to tears and make my heart hurt wishing I still lived right up the street from my dear friend Linda.
Jan – I’ve been thinking about you today. Mother’s Day is really all about you and where you are in mothering right now. It is so much easier to give a bottle in the middle of the night than it is to wait for a teenager to come home in the middle of the night. It is so much easier to watch a child who’s new at walking than one that’s new at driving. It is so much easier to plan play dates than to counsel a child on who or what to date.
You are in the trenches right NOW, Jan. I just hope you see that you are successful at your ”job”. Your children are all so delightful and I love being around them. They are caring, sensitive, talented and most of all, loving. They are quality people. Their character and their values are so special and that’s because a good mother has mothered them well….very well. Please pat yourself on the back today. Look at their sweet faces and know that you’re doing a damn good job. You can’t make their every moment perfect, but you shouldn’t. They need to learn to shoulder disappointment as much as they need to shoulder responsibility. You’re not in charge of their happiness, just everything else in their life; their safety, their education, their meals, their haircuts, their dog, their clean sheets….everything else. Then, when you have done your job, they get to go and make their own happiness. We’re moms, not fairy godmothers. There’s no magic wand….just day after day of lessons and discipline. Here’s a hug to one of the best moms on earth. Love, Linda
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers who try so hard and love so fiercely. Thank you Linda, for always being there for me, no matter what. You’ve taught me and modeled for me some of the most important things I needed to know about mothering.
Xoxo, Jan Kincaid Clifford
Also remembering, with love, Mary Dora Bancroft Kincaid (1921-2007) and Patricia Gray Clifford (1931-2000)
There is nothing more to say. Jan has written such a beautiful post and I love her for this.