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Drawing on her own experience as the mother of two ...
Drawing on her own experience as the mother of two daughters, as the stepmother of an extensive brood and as a daughter who often challenged her own mother's expectations, Stoddard relates charming anecdotes, bittersweet moments and stirring memories that shed light on the universal triumphs and trials of being a mother. She suggests how to find balance within our many responsibilities, how to learn to play as spontaneously as children and how to trust our instincts as parents even as we must gradually let go.
In this thoughtful and affirming book-perfect for both reading and gift giving-Alexandra Stoddard honors the strength and contribution of mothers. Filled with Stoddard's noted down-to earth honesty and sparkling spirit, Mothers: A Celebration is a book every generation of women can treasure.
Mothers, across cultures, are at the emotional center of the home and, collectively, of the world. They are channels of loving energy, the primary nurturers of all human beings.Mothers are quintessential people.
OUR MOTHER'S EXPERIENCE
Nothing could have adequately prepared me for the love I feel for my two daughters, Alexandra (twenty-nine) and Brooke (twenty-six). They are miracles to me, as all children are. To be their mother is the greatest privilege I will ever know. Nothing can change this powerful feeling nor alter their continuous presence in my soul. Even though my daughters are grown-ups, leading independent lives, the strength we share as a family, as mother and as daughters, is deep, dependable, and eternal.
Being a mother continues to be central to my life. From the moment Alexandra and Brooke were born, I've always felt that I'm in the best company whenever we're together. Now that my time with them is far more limited, I find myself creating new friendships with the children I meet. Their innate goodness, their pure sense of adventure, draw me to them, allowing me to relive many of my favorite aspects of being Alexandra and Brooke's mom.
THE MATERNAL INSTINCT
At a flea market in Stonington, Connecticut, my husband, Peter, found a brass sculpture of a woman cupping her two children tightly against her body. He said it reminded him of me with Alexandra and Brooke when they were young and I was like a lioness protecting my cubs from the world. I wanted to do every thing in my power to make sure their childhood would be as bright and sunny and as full of adventure as possible.
While the literal "hands-on" role of mothering lasts approximately twentyyears, the relationship, the bond, and the commitment are forever. Every ounce of love a mother gives to her child nourishes, reinforces, encourages, and teaches not only her child but herself. There are really no boundaries to a mother's loving energy, and in turn, there is nothing more rewarding than a child's adoration. Alexandra and Brooke have lifted me up on their angel wings, raising my spirit, deepening my sense of the mystery, wonder, and grace of life.
My children opened depths in my heart I didn't even know existed. They continue to teach me about the nature of unconditional love. They delight me with their spirit, their goodness, their humor, their smiles, their laughter, and their minds. I'm touched by their tenderness, thoughtfulness, caring natures, and loyalty, all of which grows and multiplies endlessly.
Now that they are adults, I can safely say that to the degree I love life, I learned pure exhilaration from my daughters. The demands of the home are largely behind me and, as hard as it was, and tiring, there's not a day that I don't miss having my "babies in the nest." What I miss most is the laughter, the tears, the ecstasy, the sense of living presence that fills the air in a home where there are children.
I've recently had the joy of having two toddlers excitedly jump into my outstretched arms, smelling of sunshine, kissing and hugging me, playing with my hair, my necklace, and my scarf. This is maternal delight of the purest kind. The sheer plea sure of being in their presence, becoming a part of their world, is all anyone ever needs to know of love and happiness.
THE MATERNAL BOND
I've talked to mothers all over the country, asking questions, trying to clarify the sacred gift that motherhood truly is. As we shared our stories, I became more aware of a far greater, universal love generated by our role as nurturers. When we're able to sense the magnitude of this loving energy, we appreciate our role as mothers, holding a central place in the continuity of life. Nothing compares to being a mother. It is the greatest achievement of my life.
Together, let's celebrate what it is to be a mother. There is no more important work than raising the next generation. This is what mothers do.