*****Just a note: I was recently interviewed for a podcast show on Isle of Misfits podcast/blog. You are certainly welcome to click on and listen to a bit of my history, including my near-death experience from my own voice.
Here is the link: Isle of Misfits
“Blessings on the hand of women!…For the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” – From the American poet, William Ross Wallace (1865).
To say, the decisive influence of a mother can and will shake a person throughout their decades, is an understatement, in my opinion. William Ross Wallace believed the future of society itself rested its base in the hand of a young mother.
“Give me the first six years of a child’s life, and I care not who has the rest.” – American educator and author Kate Douglas Wiggin from her book, “Children’s Rights and Others: A Book of Nursery Logic” (1892)
You don’t have to search far to find someone who has damaging memories of their mom. I know of some in my own family. With that said, I will state some things here that are familiar to most who treasure their mothers.
My mom, Carolyn Atherton-Brown
Leaving out lots of details, she had every pathway to abort me. She was only 15 when she was carrying me. She was newly married to my bio-father, a man full of abuses on every level. Even his parents feared for my life, warning my maternal grandparents in a secretive meeting. His lies were uncovered rather quickly, as quickly as the divorce decree, when I was two years old. She did remarry again when I was five, but it was short-lived. She has stayed single for the balance of her life.
When bravery and gritty courage is given as a title, I think of POWs, cops, or firefighters, but not today. I instead picture this incredible, enduring woman of granite-like stability. This girl, in her mid teens, chose to raise a son all on her own through the 1960s and 1970s. That alone is like a spelunker forging his/her way into the darkest, undiscovered cavern of the greatest of depths. To be a young single woman, with a young son in the mix, slugging her way through the male-driven world of those times, was only for the most adventurous, gallant female. She had to be like the grill on a car, being hit with everything. Women of that time had to be willing to be objectified, to be broke from low wages, to be able to take harsh words, along with an ocean of dirty looks and rumor. Yet, she did so because of me.
A woman who represents only the best of motherhood, is a woman who understands and acknowledges selflessness to the broadest degree. She must make a tripwire decision to place herself last, further than the unwanted back-burner. Motherhood decrees an oath of pouring out one’s “self” for the one hiding behind her skirt. It meant, for my mom, two or three jobs at a time, multiple lay-offs, skipping high school and college, dodging unwanted advances, taking judgmental heat from those who allow their love to grow cold toward the divorced female and single mother. That is what she signed up for. THIS is my mom’s tip of the iceberg in a snapshot.
In order to post a simple blog article, in lieu of a novel, I will decline here to spell out a few dozen stories concerning the sheer resilience and integrity of my mom.
My mom, grandmother and me – 1967.
“Having children gives you a perspective you didn’t have before. You are no longer the center of the universe. It opened my heart, made me a different person. Every move you make is with someone else in mind…” – Actress, Jessica Lange. Kenneth Miller’s article, AARP Magazine. Aug-Sept 2017
I would be remiss if I didn’t add the fact the hand that rocked the cradle in 1944, during WWII, greatly shaped the woman my mom grew to be. My God-worshiping grandmother, as well as her mother before her, had the right salt-of-the-earth stuff, passing it on to her only daughter. Today, I can even see their influences in my oldest daughter, raising her young daughter. The hand that rocks the cradle truly does move and shake the generations behind her skirt.
My granddaughter with my mom. December 2017.
If a mom truly wants joy for Mother’s Day, she should not hesitate in filling her child with fuel for the race.
“In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, ‘Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life…’ ” – 1 Samuel 1: 10-11 (NIV)