• Sue Hawley

When Mother's Day Circles Back


Mother’s Day is right around the corner. Last year I wrote about my own mother but this year I decided to go in the opposite direction.


While I loved my role as mom I am fascinated watching my own daughters as they fulfill their own title as mother. All three of our daughters have graduated into the role of mom and while it is exciting as we welcome each new addition to the family I have to admit observing my daughters struggle through many of the same hurdles as I did is somewhat satisfying. The tradition of motherhood lives on in this next generation even though they face many different situations than previous moms. Cell phones, social media and technology has brought a new dimension to the task of raising kids that thankfully I never faced.


Each daughter has the age-old problem of rearing independent, polite, and generous children along with coping with the personalities they each possess. As I watch each grandchild through the different stages of life I find myself reliving my own skirmishes through the years with our children. Each one has unique and positive traits along with those irritating character flaws.


One grandson I call ‘the lawyer’ can find a hole in any parental declaration and argue that point for years if allowed the opportunity, yet the sweetest heart I’ve encountered. His sister, on the other hand, is quite salty and has a mind of her own with a fierceness that is stunning. Observing their mom wade through the contest of wills is entertaining as well as heartbreaking as I understand her situation and sympathize with the coming battles as they reach the ever challenging teen years.


As I observe another daughter work with her offspring I marvel at her calm approach to various dilemmas she encounters. Calm was seldom in my vocabulary while raising five children so I admit a certain level of respect for this daughter. Her two oldest children fall into the category of compliant personalities for which she should be, and is, quite grateful. They are intelligent, thoughtful and quite fun. It wasn’t until her third joined the family that she acquired a true sense of how much she should appreciate the two oldest. The third child is funny, energetic, and adorable. However, she is also determined, single-minded, and a handful. Watching this daughter combat a truly strong-willed offspring has been interesting to say the least.


Our last daughter has her challenges with two engaging preschoolers. Her daughter is tender hearted and loving yet does possess a stubborn streak that kicks in often. She has personality oozing out of every pore but can be a challenge when faced with what she considers a dilemma such as bedtime. Her baby brother has a smile that melts hearts but an iron will that will be amusing to watch in the coming years. She certainly has her test of motherhood as they grow, but I’m sure she has the determination to survive parenting.


What is the most difficult job of being a grandparent? Keeping my mouth shut. Sometimes I succeed spectacularly, others times I fail miserably. Advice is precious when sought, poison when not wanted. I bite my tongue often and when I do tread into the dangerous waters of advice giving I have learned to mask it as an inquiry rather than a decree sounding like an interfering mother. It’s a fine line and I have had to learn the art of being a grandparent, for it is an art. My own mother gave fantastic advice but I remember resenting her interference on more than one occasion. I find myself looking back in retrospect and wishing I had heeded more of her warnings, but I was young and believed I was doing a pretty good job. I made my mistakes and my daughters will too. One day, they will watch their own grandchildren and bite their tongues. It’s the circle of life.