For the Dehning Moms
When Hans asked me to write a new article or a message for The Dehning Newsletter it sounded easier than it really was. Although I write frequently for Czech readers, I rarely write in English. To write in English means to write for an international community; the Dehning family is an international audience.
People from different cultures and different countries have different ways of thinking therefore they like to read different things. They like to read articles about issues they understand, are easy to connect with, interest them, or touch their lives personally. Even if most of us share the same last name, thanks to our spouses and other relatives, we have different backgrounds. Often even different colors of skin, mentalities, beliefs, and experiences, and we live in different places around the world. So to find a theme that interests such a diverse family as the Dehning clan is not as easy as it might seem.
There is one theme, however, that is universal. It is human relationships. No matter where you live or who you are you will always understand each other when it comes to relationships. There are many. We have relationship between couples, lovers, children, parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, friends, and many more. We all experience them and we all have a role in them. But one relationship stands out from the others and is very close to my heart. It is the relationship between a mother and her children. Therefore I would like to devote this article to all the Dehning mothers, the pillars who kept, keep, and will keep this family together. I do not mean to diminish the role of fathers at all. I actually think and know that fathers are as important as mothers. But as a mother myself, I have better insights into motherhood and therefore can relate to moms much easier. Sorry dads, maybe next time. J
Being a mom is a lifetime job. It is a job you can never ever quit, never leave or exchange with someone. It is a job that has the most ups and downs. It is a job that takes the most amounts of energy, time, money, and personal sacrifice. Only mothers know why they do it. The reason is simply called LOVE.
It has been said that the baby’s first luck is to be born to a loving mother. Children can happily survive without many things in life but they cannot happily survive without love. To survive they need love as much as they need food or sleep. Every normal mom loves her baby unconditionally and purely. It is the deepest fulfilling love one can ever experience. The moment we see our bundle of joy we know that we are the most important person it this creature’s (its) life. We are the source of food, source of care, source of love, source of everything. We are also the first teacher, first advocate, and decision maker. Every normal mom will feel an overwhelming responsibility for her child, the new person she brought to this world.
The responsibility never goes away. It is just changing with the growth of our child and it is changing with the growth of being a mother. As the child grows the mother grows with him. We both grow together. Motherhood changes its role as quickly and as often as a child itself changes. We think we finally grasp a new routine, a new schedule, or a new technique when everything changes and we are starting all over again. And that is how it goes year by year, day by day. Every day is a learning day, not just for our child but for us as well. It multiplies with the number of children we have. Being a mom takes a lot of practice. And then comes the biggest test for mothers. After all these years of being accustomed to doing everything we learned to do, we have to let go. We have to let go and let our child live their own life, make their own big decisions, let them take their own steps without our support, let them be their own advocate. We still have to be there and always will be, but we just do not hold their hand anymore. It is a pretty scary thing for moms. We gave our children roots but also gave them wings. Eventually we get used to it and once again will reposition our role of mother.
Although motherhood is our job number one, we have other “jobs” or responsibilities as well. Most of us are also a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a niece, a volunteer, and very often we are professionals. The list is long. For all this we need a lot of physical, and psychical, strength because we are not running a sprint, we are not running a baton relay, but we are running a marathon. We do not want to burn out before the finish line.
By nature we are caretakers. But it is very important to take care of ourselves as much as we take care of others. It is often hard because we are not “programmed” that way. It is important to learn it because if we do not take care of ourselves nobody else will. Modern life can be very challenging and it is necessary to be able to stay strong in our body and in our mind.
Last June I happened to be on Jury Duty. The charges were: 1. conspiracy, 2. robbery, 3. theft, and 4. evading the police resulting in serious injury. The defendant was a very pretty twenty year old girl from a middle class family. Her name was Amber. The trial was three weeks long. During the whole time I watched everything, listened to every word, and saw every person come and go in the courtroom. Nobody came to support Amber. Every day I was hoping that at least her mother would show up. I was wondering why she did not come. Was she ill? Was she gone? Or did she just quit being a mom? Only death could excuse her for not being there. Amber’s dad was remarried with new children. He came once but not to support Amber - but to support the prosecutor. The last day of the trial Amber broke into tears and cried all day. We, the jury, found Amber guilty and she was sent to state prison for a long time. To my surprise I felt very sorry for her even after I knew she was responsible for crippling an innocent man and destroying his life and that of his family. I felt sorry for her because she had nobody to cry with her, she had nobody to hug her. She was not surviving happily without her mother’s love.
So here is my message to all the Dehning moms out there: if you are a new mom do not be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. Take care of yourself, go for your check ups, do the things you like to do, sleep more, and take many breaks. You have many years ahead of you. And always go by your instincts, because you know what’s best for you and your child!
If you are an experienced mom, a mom with older children or teens, also do not forget to take care of yourself and most of all do not feel guilty about it! Do not be afraid of changes and letting your child go to the next stage of their life. Do not forget to be a woman because you are a mom. Find a way to recharge you batteries and keep going. You do not want run out of fuel because you are greatly needed here.
I wish you all the best. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2010.
Love Katerina Dehning J (2009)