I am Jeanette.
Daughter of Doreen
Granddaughter of Charlotte
Great Granddaughter of Alice.
Mother of Julianna Amelie Grace and Isabella Charlotte Rose
This is my motherline.
I was mothered in a way that gave me freedom, and voice, and a path of my own. I was mothered to see good, and to serve and to have faith. I was mothered to talk back, to question, to push boundaries – although I now know that this is not the easiest path.
I was mothered to forgive and be forgiven and to be forgiveness. I was mothered to work hard, and to create. To be silly and to believe in the power of the quiet kind of love, the steadfast one that does not require fanfare, but lives in the undercurrent in all the moments of our lives.
I was mothered to live simply, loving much but needing little. I was mothered by Atlantic ocean salt and rich earth and the power of family. By the grandmother who left her American city home and on the power of love came to be with my grandfather and create a family along the shores of the Minas Basin.
I was mothered to know that play trumps a clean house, every time. That the mess will wait, but the moment may not.
I was mothered in the kitchen, in the chocolate cake and cookies and bread from scratch. Through those recipes I learned the power of reading ahead and following directions. It is from spoonfuls of dough and batter to be licked that I was mothered to know that so much goodness comes before the desired result – as long as you’re not in too much of a hurry to get there. And now I sit and watch my daughter instructing another on how to properly measure flour for Mother’s Day morning waffles, instructing how to keep the wet and dry ingredients separate and I hear the voice of my own mother and I see how the line continues.
I was mothered to know that I can always come home.
I was mothered by so many. By the stories of my father’s maternal line. By his mother who died when he was four days old, born at 32 weeks in outport Newfoundland and how he never should have survived – but somehow she gave him enough to pull him through. I was mothered by the woman who stepped in when he was ten and loved him as her own until her passing just over a year ago. I was mothered by my aunt who taught me what love and intellect and tradition and devotion look like interwoven.
And I was mothered by those mothers who walked with me in the early days – in the trenches of sleep deprivation, on red leather couches and picnic blankets sticky with juice and warmed by the desert sun as we learned in all the hard and easy ways what it was to mother together.
I was mothered by the women who trusted me to be present while they became mothers, and by the midwives who held my hands as my own babies came earthside. I was mothered by my tribe, my witches, my wild women, near and far. So many examples of what it is to be woman and mother, as true to themselves as they are to their children.
I was mothered by women who have never been mothers, and who will never be mothers. I was mothered by women who lost their babies and who lost their own mothers and who never wanted to be mothers to began with. I was mothered by those for whom this day is a blessing, or a bittersweet memory or a reminder of all that are not but dearly wanted to be.
I was mothered by books and by poetry and by the voices of activists who taught me the value of speaking my truth. I was mothered by story, by myth, by trust in all that cannot be seen. I was mothered by fire of initiation and by salt water blessing. I was mothered by the grit and the grace and the power of choice. I was mothered by mama earth herself, and I was mothered by my self. The self I was, and the self I am, and the self I have yet to become.
I was mothered by the tears and the lost loves and by the friends who held me in the night when there was nobody else.
I was mothered by my daughters, by tears and tantrums and morning cuddles in the marshmallow bed. By their fierce insistence on owning themselves, their voices, the full power of their being. By all the ways there are me, and a mirror and reflection and lineage. And by all the ways they are not me at all – but their own selves, full and complete without any connection to anything that came before. It is true, more than all the rest, they have taught me how to mother them well. That I stumble and trip and do wrong as much as I do right – but that when I remember to respect them as guide and teacher, that it is my daughters who show me the path.
I was mothered by love. And I know myself blessed.