I’ve been doing a lot of reflection lately about what the titles of ‘wife’ and ‘mother’ entail. When I think about my ideal in both cases, I have to return to my grandmothers. One, my moms mom, exemplifies everything that both these words mean. She, in everything she does, puts her family ahead of herself. She demanded to stay home and raise children and run the household when she married my grandfather, and saw it as her duty and privilege as a woman to do so. I’ve never heard her speak ill of anyone, and would offer a warm bed and a hot meal to anyone in need without a second thought. Today she is in her 80’s and very sick, but still insists on entertaining the extended family every Sunday, even if it’s just for ordered-in pizza. She is the true definition of the word ‘nurturer’, which I think defines the role of both wife and mother.
My dads mom on the other hand, although an equally committed mother, was led down a different path. A working mother of five, my nana is the absolute toughest lady you will ever meet. You do NOT cross her, unless you want a good backhand to the head. Once, she fell while crossing the railroad tracks at 70 years old, sliced her leg open to the bone, and took 2 buses and walked 5 blocks to the hospital to get it stitched while holding the two pieces of torn flesh together. She has set the example for me that I want to achieve in being an unflinching, strong and capable woman. Whereas in my first pregnancy, I did a lot of complaining and feeling sorry for myself, this time around I am determined to follow her example and ‘suck it up’.
When I think about the months and years ahead of me, and the many challenges that our family is sure to face, these two women are constant inspiration. I want to be the best wife I can to my husband; to support him while he’s home, and to be a good representative of our family while he is away. I want to be the best mother I can to his children – to be strong and capable and unflinching in the face of hardship, but also nurturing and warm – someone they can always come to when they need a place to fall.
And while I’ve always admired both of my grandmothers, it wasn’t until I had a family of my own that I truly understood the strength that both these women posses. I only hope that one day, when I have grandchildren of my own, that they’ll look at me with the same admiration that I hold for these two women. THEN I will feel like I’ve done my job, and led a good life.