As I age I think more and more about my own grandmother who raised 12 children and lived to be 103. As I think about her life now as an adult I am stunned that anyone could survive all of the things she endured. When asked about raising twelve kids she would often say of the twelve there was not one that she would give up. I learned so much from her, but the most important thing was to not worry too much about things. She would tell me to throw it over my shoulder and put it behind me. Throwing salt over your shoulder is an old tradition. According to superstition, spilling salt is bad luck and throwing a pinch over your shoulder reverses that bad luck. Typically, it’s thrown over the left sholder. Salt is also believed to ward off evil spirits in Mahayana Buddhist tradition, and after a funeral, salt is thrown over the left shoulder to prevent evil spirits from entering the house. She told me to do this even after my own mother had died. At the time I was offended, but now after so much has happened to me, including the loss of both of my parents before I reached thirty, and the loss of my husband, I can understand her wisdom.
Now, my girls are almost raised. I have to admit there was a time when I thought my work as a mother would end. This is decidedly not the case. I just spent four days with my college age daughter and helped my post grad daughter find a job. Not that I was that much help, but I did provide constant moral support and gave her my Lake Tahoe home for six weeks. She packed up and told me she wasn’t coming home until she had a job. She was true to her word, but she called me ten times per day for advise.
My younger daughter will finish her business degree next year. Then, maybe my work will be over, but I doubt it. As I take on this new role as advisor I find that motherhood never really ends, but our roles do change. I find mothering an adult as challenging as a toddler. The stakes are just as high, but the love and friendship we share has matured.
Today, on Mothers Day I could not be more grateful and thankful for the hard work and perseverance of the women that came before me and for the opportunity to raise a human being and experience the joy of watching a tiny baby turn into a person.
On my recent trip to see my daughter I marveled at the idea that I had created a person who could pick me up from the airport. I had thought I would have to find a husband for this, but that is now not the case. I’ve also created a person who can open a bottle of champagne, make a brunch reservation, and use her own credit card to cover the bill. It’s actually an astonishing thing.
Love and blessings to all.