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Women of wisdom

Spring is in the air or else it should be.

Part of the fun of writing for a bi-monthly magazine with deadlines is the not knowing of what’s ahead in a number of areas. Given the very wet, snowy and stormy winter we’ve had my hope is that as this meets readers’ eyes, we will indeed have spring weather conditions in the 209.

This weather unpredictability (believe it or not) is a perfect segue to this month’s topic of motherhood. See what I did there? Because just like the weather, motherhood is filled with stormy, as well as sunny days and is absolutely unpredictable. No forecasts or studies can fully prepare one for what it means to be a mother.

In honor of Mother’s Day, May 14 … each year, as a mother myself, I typically like to share a story, anecdote or thoughts on the observance of the holiday and what it means to be a mother. This year, I thought I’d try something a little different.

As a “late in life” mom, my oldest born when I was 36 and his sister three years later when I was 39, I’ve relied on a lot of personal experts in regards to mothering. Oh sure, I read books like all the rest, but once I was truly “boots on the ground,” as they say, I realized quickly that many closest to me were my best source of learning. Mentor moms are a thing and I for one could not be more grateful for the wisdom so many have offered me over the course of my job as mom.

There’s a lot of things which make a good mentor. Some may find themselves in that space without even knowing. Simply watching and listening to them speak on varying topics and struggles might be helpful. Then of course there’s seeking advice from a veteran, as they properly frame the difference between how they may have navigated and how it might suit your given situation. Good mentors don’t compare, they don’t lecture and they always support.

All that being said, I thought it would be fun to elicit some advice from a few of my favorite mentor moms. These are women who vary in age as well as experience/family dynamic. My goal was to offer thoughts from five of my favorites, but as the life of a busy mom goes, just three were able to get me a response by deadline.

The question at hand, simple, with their thoughts to follow: What does it mean to be a mother?

“A mother has to be tough as nails yet ‘at the ready’ with arms wide open. She may not be a blood relative but always there for you with love and support! There is an old saying, ‘when they’re little they stand on our feet … when they’re grown they stand on your heart’.”

Jeanne Brunk, mother of four: Kevin, Jim, Brian and Daniel

“Hmm, well, since my girls are grown and I haven’t slept since they were born, (you moms get me?) I would say it’s lots of sleepless nights, worrying about them when they were small and had a cold or fever and only mommy can make it better, when they had their heart broken because of a boy or when their goldfish died, when they got their driver’s license, moving away from home and everything else in between. It’s the beauty of seeing them smile, being happy and thriving, laughing until you cry with that hilarious “inside joke” or when they call to ask for advice or just to say I love you.

Sleepless nights? Yeah, maybe but it’s been an amazing ride I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Michelle Kendig, mother of two; plus two bonus children: Taylor Speer-Gettle, Lily Kendig, Marc Kendig and Kori Kendig

 “What a joy, and sometimes heartbreak too. I always felt that being a mother is the best and most important job around. Providing a safe haven for kids to grow, learn, seek guidance, coaching, and framework for my kids – encouraging them to be the best version of themselves. I also felt that providing an environment where the kids could let it all hang out at home, made for outstanding citizens when they went out into the world. Even today, with adult children, I am a first time mom of a 31-year-old son and a 28-year-old daughter and continue to be amazed with the wonderful lives they have built for themselves. Later in life, our relationship is more interesting, and friendship has emerged in the best possible way, however, parenting continues ... all the days of our lives. What does it mean to be a mother? It’s the most rewarding job of my life.” 

Cheryl Brunk, mother of two: John Tyler Brunk and Kristen Brunk.

So as Mother’s Day draws near, as women, celebrate your mentors; as daughters love on the ladies who did their best to “get it right” and as moms remember “the days are long, but the years are short.”

Happy Mother’s Day!