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Motherhood everything it should be

Lisa Marsh

Motherhood by nature does not lend time for introspection, but after the children no longer under foot, many are the joys a mother remembers.

“Our children appreciate what we’ve done,” said Jo Ortwein, mother of three and grandma of six. “It’s a 24-hour job, but it’s worth it.”

Ortwein recalls a letter of thanks her daughter gave her. Soon after marrying and relocating, she sent the letter. In it, she thanked her mom for raising her the way she did.

“That’s all I think about on Mother’s Day,” she added.

Mothering is an experience that becomes more precious with time, according to veteran moms. Current mothers may find it comforting to know that these moms had their off-days as well. One mother mentioned trying to teach her kids about health food when they were young but it was to no avail. Now they are grown, and trying to teach her the same thing. The individuals that babies grow to be are still a source of mysterious joy to their moms.

“I think it’s everything it should be, disappointments and hugs and love,” said Pauline Fitzhugh, mother of four and grandmother of 13, great-grandma of four.

“My daughter cried all the way home from the hospital, when she finally fell asleep and it got quiet, I thought ‘My god, she’s dead!’ and woke her up to be sure,” Anne Manoff added.

But the novelty eventually wears off. A mother settles into her role like a pair of fuzzy slippers and a terrycloth robe. Her children are probably the only people who see mom in her dressing gown with cold cream on her face and think she’s the most beautiful woman alive. She protects and comforts them until they can take care of themselves.

When the children leave, it can be both a blessing and a curse. Relief of not knowing when kids get home late is countered by a feeling of loss.

“All of a sudden you’re alone in the house and it’s so quiet, it takes a while to get used to,”Manoff said.

“It’s wonderful once they’re gone,” said Bonnie O’Rork, mother of four and grandmother of five. “They love you more.”

Though the kids are gone, they bring something back to their mothers. More babies. Grandchildren are far and away the greatest reward a mom could ask for. To hold a baby, and be able to give it back is a source of joy in later years.

“The best part is grandchildren,” Mankoff said.

“I’m so proud of my children and their children, because they take and interest in everything,” Ortwein added.

“They’re all good children, every one of them,” Fitzhugh added.

So the love, the joy, triumph and trials grow exponentially as the clan increases. Children have a way of taking mom’s teachings and love to the next level. There is a place in a mother’s heart that will hold her child always, and a place in her arms for their children as well.

“The whole thing is lovely, I’d be lonely without being a parent,” Fitzhugh added.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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