Sunday, May 10, 2009

Learning from the Best

My perception is that good parenting is a little bit of science and quite a bit of art, but mostly it is craft. After all, Mariam Webster's defines craft as a transitive verb as "to make or produce with care, skill, or ingenuity."

In medieval Europe, an elaborate guild system was established to cultivate the skills of weavers, glass blowers, and the like over many years. Wikipedia says, craft workers typically followed a "lifetime progression of
apprentice to craftsman, journeyer, and eventually to widely-recognized master and grandmaster...."

Mothers Day is a strange one for me. Its a time when cheesy television ads can make me a bit weepy over what I don't yet have, and yet oh so very grateful for all that I do. I am confident that my child will have an advantage because I have been tutored in parenting by the grandmaster.

My mom - with her optimism and practicality, her sense of adventure, and utter devotion to her offspring - has taught me so many things, but surely the most valuable lessons will be employed when I am nurturing my own little one.

In fact, one of great fortunes of my life is that I've been surrounded by good mothers. From my sisters-in-law to my friends who are mommas, I have watched closely and learned a lot, and I am grateful for their examples.

I have become well aware of what a tough, tough "job" parenting is, that there is no one instruction book, and that little of one's success in soothing a scraped knees, cheering at a soccer game, or reading just the right bedtime story has to do with biology. I'm also well aware that like a talented craftsman in the Middle Ages piecing together delicate shards for a cathedral's magnificent rose window, it often takes decades for others to appreciate the complex beauty of a mother's vocation.

Today, I am thinking so much about the wonderful women in my life - near and far - who are mothers (and I few I hope will soon be moms). You are each beautiful and gifted and very special. Happy Mothers Day!

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