Late Spring 2012 -- My Satisfying Yet Untraditional Upbringing

Dear Friends

My parents really, really wanted a son. So when my older sister was born and turned out not to be that son, the onus was on me, the second child, to be him. Obviously, I was not. My grandmother, too, really wanted me to be a boy (I think this all had a lot to with 'carrying on the family name') so when my parents placed their newborn into her arms (she'd been ailing and didn't have long to live), they told her I was her grandson, a belief she took to her grave.

My mom told me this story on her deathbed and you can imagine my shock. Looking back, though, I can pinpoint times in my life when it really did feel as if I was treated like the boy I was supposed to be. Yes, there were some confusing identity issues, but now I can laugh about it. On the one hand, I attended an all-girls' school for 11 years where we were taught social graces, wore white gloves on Monday morning, and learned French. On the other hand, it was my job, not my sister's, to mow the lawn, start the BBQ, and wash the car. Some would say it was a somewhat bizarre childhood at times, and more than one therapist would raise an eyebrow, I'm sure. Yet, here I am and I wouldn't trade my upbringing for anything.

I tell you this as Mother's Day approaches and I wish my own mother was alive for me to pamper. Mom made my sister's and my frilly dresses, insisted on good manners, showed us what a strong feminine presence looked like, was both a 'lady' and loved good fun, modeled independence for her daughters, worked a full-time job, and cooked a nutritious dinner every night even though cooking was about her least-favorite thing to do. Mom was my jokester Dad's foil; she knew when to put her foot down when the rest of us got too rowdy, and, corralled by my father into being a sports fan, went into labor at a Major League Baseball game. Her labor with me was long. I was breech. Dad, of course, was sequestered in the waiting room. They made her walk the halls of Labor and Delivery, clutching the railings with each contraction . . . alone. And after all that, after 9 months of their longing for a son, I turned out to be a girl. The rest is history: the rather, let’s just say, 'untraditional' childhood I had. Yes, my parents may have yearned for a boy, but Mom did everything in her power to appreciate and raise the girl I turned out to be, and I doubt that any little girl has been loved more than she loved me. And even though she's not here this Mother's Day for me to fete, I smile when remembering her and can only hope I've even marginally filled her shoes as a mother, myself. To all of the adults reading this, my hope is that you can find some wonderful qualities and experiences your mother shares or shared with you, even though growing up might not have been a Leave It to Beaver experience. And to all of you mothers reading this, may you have a wonderful Mother's Day filled with love and laughter.

Other Issues:
From our archives -- Offering Wisdom to New Moms

From our archives -- The Best Good Deed

From our archives -- Embracing the Wonder of Children

From our archives -- Encouraging children to live their bliss

From our archives

Holiday 2013 -- Embracing the World of Wonder

Winter 2013 -- Recipe for a Happy Thanksgiving

Fall 2013 -- Finding Beauty in the Everyday Tasks

Late Summer 2013 - Taking Our Own Advice

Midsummer 2013 -- Appreciating Nature's Bounty

Early Summer 2013 -- Being Prepared

Late Spring 2013 -- Having Realistic Expectations

Spring 2013 -- Offering Mothering Wisdom

Early Spring 2013 -- Being True to Our Nature

Holiday 2012 -- Appreciate the Goodness

Winter 2012 -- Enjoying the Anticipation

Early Fall 2012 -- Looking Back to Appreciate Now

Summer 2012 -- Chinaberry's History & Future

Early Summer 2012 -- My Dad

Spring 2012 - The Consequences of Our Actions

Early Spring 2012 - Learning From Experience

Winter 2011 - The Small Moments

Holiday 2011 - The Good Deed

Fall 2011 - Gratitude

Late Summer 2011 - Overwhelmed? You're Not Alone.

Midsummer 2011 - Louise's Gallery

Early Summer 2011 - Flying 101: Giving Them Wings

Late Spring 2011 - Letting Them Fail

Spring 2011

Early Spring 2011 - Encouraging Your Kids to Live Their Bliss

Fall 2010 - The Chinaberry Commitment

Late Summer 2010 - In the Blink of an Eye

Midsummer 2010 - It's Her Story

Early Summer 2010 - Weathering the Storm

Gifts From My Mother

Spring 2010 - Enjoy the Ride

Early Spring 2010 - Enter the Land of Dirt and Bugs

Winter 2009 - Less Cleaning, More Meaning

Holiday 2009 - Finding Gratitude Every Day

Fall 2009 - Teaching Children Through Our Actions

Late Summer 2009 - A Spoonful of Sugar

Midsummer 2009 - Give Your Kids the Gift of Boredom this Summer

Early Summer 2009 - Who's the Kid and Who's the Parent?

Late Spring 2009 - Making Connections

Spring 2009 - Fully Engaging With Our Children

Early Spring 2009 - Building Character While Playing Characters

Winter 2008 - Never Underestimate the Value of a Good Hello

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