Friday, May 07, 2010

Preparing for Mothering

I think I started getting ready to be a mother at a very early age. Of course, being the eldest of 5 was a large factor. I don't think I was much help to my mom at first, though, since my sister was born two weeks (to the day) before my first birthday, and our first brother was here 13 months later. But by the time #2 brother came when I was 5, perhaps I was able to help a bit. More later about my youngest brother, who was born when I was 10.

I love this picture of me looking adoringly at my doll - definitely not a baby doll, but loved indeed as perhaps a toddler.

A bit older, the same look of love for a new baby doll -- sorry, Brother B, it seems you are waiting in vain for a ride in that wagon.

My sis and I had a great time playing Mommy. We probably did it with real babies, too, but I mostly remember playing dolls. We had so much fun changing their clothes, feeding them, putting them to bed. We also had many paper dolls and working with their beautiful wardrobes was such fun. We never had Barbies, and I never got them for Kristen - I didn't like their bodies, and their clothes and shoes were just way too tiny. (Her girls have so many of that type of dolls and most of them are undressed most of the time - point taken.)

One of my most vivid memories - we weren't allowed to take our dolls to church, though we desperately wanted them to be there - I'm sure it was for the spiritual training they would have received ;-) But "no" meant "no", so we improvised. We had no nursery or children's church in those small congregations. We would stack two hymnals beside us, then take a third one, open the front cover so that it was leaning against the back of the pew, and pretend it was our child (are you envisioning this scenario?) Then we would spend the service patting them, shushing them, sometimes probably paddling them a bit. I'm not sure how much we actually got out of Dad's sermon - in fact, I'm wondering how our mom got anything out of any service with 5 kids and no nursery or children's church!

I was 10 years old when my youngest brother was born. I wanted him to be a girl, so that the girls would outnumber the boys. But, alas, it was not meant to be. I remember going for a long walk and pouting the day he was born. But how wrong I was - he was so much fun and we all spoiled him rotten. I spent a lot of time caring for him when Mom and Dad went calling on parishioners. We had a special bond - he didn't like it, though, when he got older and I would tease him that I used to change his diapers.

Interestingly, and ironically, I did not enjoy babysitting at all. I liked and needed the money, but just wanted to be home in my own house. My sister often ended up winning my sitting jobs away from me - I would ask if she could sub for me if I had something else going on when the mom called. They would never call me back - she was much better at playing with them while I wanted them to go to bed so I could read! In college, I decided taking babysitting jobs from people I didn't know wasn't a great way to spend an evening. That was when I began typing papers for people instead - a skill I was much better suited for.

I doubt that any of this playing with dolls really prepared us for the hard work that is motherhood. But I do know that I was eager to be a real live mom. Mothering is probably one of the very hardest jobs in the world, and it doesn't end when they go away, as all of you know.

But I want to wish all of you a very Happy Mother's Day! May all of your good memories inhabit this week-end of celebration for this "job" God has given us.

NOTE: Tonight (Friday) our Cambodian family, which I wrote about HERE, is flying in to spend the week-end with us. What a wonderful blessing, and I will definitely be sharing our adventures with you next week.


Gigi said...

What a sweet post!

Happy Mother's Day to you, Dawn! Enjoy the weekend with your special visitors!

Amy said...

Hope you have a wonderful Mothers Day, Dawn!

Enjoy your company.

jmckemie said...

Happy Mother's Day to you Dawn. Hope you have a wonderful weekend with the very special people that will be joining you. Can't wait to hear about the special moments you spend together.

Becky said...

I love the hymn book babies! chuckle, chuckle

Needled Mom said...

What a great Mother's Day post!

I think I was always a mother too. My mom used to be so upset with me that I didn't play with kids my own age. I just wanted to mother all the younger ones.

I did babysit and loved every job I had. My favorite was a family of eight children that I sat for twice a week....for 25 cents an hour!!!!!!! After I got them all in bed at night I would do the washing and ironing and I was in my element. It was the best "playing house" that I could imagine.

Have a wonderful Mother's Day.

Susan said...

My story is as different from yours as day & night since I was technically raised as an only child. But from the time I had my first one I have loved being a mother and my family means everything to me. Happy Mother's Day my friend!

Hootin' Anni said...

This is one of the most adoring posts yet, Dawn!! I loved the whole story. From dolls to baby brothers to baby sitting and the hardships of actually being a mother.

As you stated, I wish YOU the best of Mother's Day yet! Be blessed.

Oh and I read your story about Mr. Nixon. What a super neat happening. And to hear back from his mother too. Wow. That was amazing. We both have great autographs that will always hold a special place in our hearts.

nancygrayce said...

I can tell you're just a natural at being a mother. Happy Mother's Day!

Glenda said...

Sweet, sweet memories! Hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day, Dawn! Sounds like you will be sharing your home; I know God will bless you greatly for being so hospitable!

I can identify with so much of what you wrote, although I never thought of using hymnbooks for my dolls!

I really enjoyed seeing the Phillips for a little while at convention. We did not get to stay for Friday's assembly, but it was great to visit with them. Mrs. Pat and I talked about the amazing way you and I "found" each other and learned we had mutual friends!! Small world!

nannykim said...

Happy mom's day to you too!! Cute pictures of you as a kiddie!! I loved playing dolls too!! I did get a Barbie , but not until I was about 12!!

Ps. yes, I did make the monkeys

nannykim said...

Ps. Have a great time with the visiting family!! interesting story.

grammy said...

I loved dolls too. Not Barbies either. Luckily, my daughter never liked them either. I have seen hanger chief bad you didn't have those.
I think it is funny that you didn't like to babysit. I did and I did it a lot. I had my first nephew when I was 11 or 12. Oh my gosh was I crazy about him (o:
My daughter was 10 when my youngest son was born. She definitely thought he was a doll. Sometimes I had to remind her that he was my baby....not hers (o:
Hope you had a great Mothers Day.

Maine Mom said...

I hope you had a great Mother's Day!

It was hard for me to choose a major in college because all I wanted was be a full time mother. So I chose to major in Child Development and Family Studies. Perfect!

I look forward to hearing about your weekend. :-)

Sharon Lynne said...

Those are great pictures of you and your siblings.

I loved dolls too. I once had a storybook with photographs of a doll. I loved that book and I wanted to photograph my doll and place her in a story too. But I never got around to it. more in the world could you be working on a post when you have company coming! I'm impressed! (I would be too anxious!)