I am compiling a few tributes to the mothers in my life for my book, and I thought I would share a little with you in honor of Mother’s Day! The first is about my mom’s sister, who has been invaluable to me, especially since I birthed two humans. When I had a flare last year and had to stay in the hospital, she slept on a chair in my room so I wouldn’t be alone, since Hubs was at home with the kids. It helps that, with the right amount of pain medication, she looks startlingly like my own mother (who was in another state), and was just as comforting in an emergency. Karen has generously allowed me to share a few bits and pieces about her life, and I hope you get a glimpse of the wonderful Auntie she has been to me.
When I first potted my tender herbs and was fussing over them twice a day, Karen gave me this advice: “benign neglect is the best way to care for basil in the summer. It’s also good parenting advice. Leave them be in a safe environment with everything they need to survive, sit back, and watch them thrive.”
Of all the advice we are bombarded with as new parents, both solicited and thrust upon us, that is really what we need to hear. As long as your child is safe, it’s going to be okay. Now, Karen is militantly pro-breastfeeding and eats more leafy greens than anyone probably should, so her advice isn’t literally to just let your kid do whatever they want. She chose her lines in the sand, and lets everything else slide.
Karen is a veteran mom now, with a daughter soon to be married, but she had a case of the first-time-mom crazies just like we all did. She bundled her daughter Emma up to take her outside and scratched her head on the door frame on the way out. It’s a silly thing, but kicking yourself for mistakes made over twenty years ago is par for the course for Moms. She left her position as Chief Financial Officer of a small firm so she could be a stay at home mom and be present for every giggle and coo, but still managed to be looking away to fiddle with the camera when Emma rolled over for the first time.
This, I presume, is where her zen-style of parenting has its roots. You can plan, you can organize, you can sacrifice, but things can still go wrong. The best example is also the most painful. Karen was married to a man who was, to put it delicately, unsuitable…
Be sure to read the book to see what happens next!