Navigating To My Place: Part Two


Back in April I wrote a post about some of my recent routines, including taking Simon to swimming lessons twice a week and packing his snacks. What began as a post about me evolved into a post about my Mom:

I've been thinking about my Mom so much as I pack his snack, gather his suit and towel, pick him up from school, drive him to the pool and watch him interact with his instructor. I think about her and wonder what she was thinking about as she did this for three kids, each just about 15 months apart in age. This whole process of snack-making is such an everyday activity. Did she embrace it? Did she mutter frustrations under her breath? Did she long for something else? Did she enjoy it? All those practices, all those meets and matches and games...all those moments packing snacks.

My parents are daily readers of my blog. They have been huge supporters of me in my personal and professional adventures throughout my life and have always been first in line when we needed help taking care of Simon or just needed a break at the beach (and in a million other ways as I was growing up).

My Mom read that post took the time to write some memories about what she was thinking during all those snack-making, carpool-driving days. I'd like to share them with you today. My question is in orange and her response follows.

What was she thinking about when preparing snacks for her three children?

Admitting a loss of memory for the exact thoughts I may have been thinking at the time, I can imagine the possible thoughts and questions going through my mind:

  • Thinking of schedules and time frames to get to the activities on time – because you were correct Ali, being on time was something I considered important and wanted to teach all of you the importance of that trait for your lives.

  • Thinking about groceries we needed and making lists for errands.

  • Thinking about what we were having for dinner and could I do anything to be prepared ahead of time?

  • Thinking ahead about scheduling for the homework and the importance of getting it done before bedtime.

  • Thinking about Al and wondering if he would be home for dinner that night.

  • Praying - for each of you, for all our family, prayers of gratitude for our home and blessings, that we could afford to send each of you to the special schools you attended, and that you were all healthy and able to participate in sports activities after school.

Did she embrace the snack-making?

Yes, I believe I did and was always looking for something nutritious and easy. You may remember, we purchased boxes of fruit roll-ups, peanuts, granola bars, etc. which we kept in the bottom drawer of the china cabinet. We also had lots of fruit: apples, oranges, grapes, and bananas for snacks. My college education in nutrition, as well as the early education in nutrition I received from my own Mother, taught me the importance of healthy snacks. It was a challenge to find foods you liked that were also good for your bodies.

Did she mutter frustrations under her breath?

Yes, at those times when I was tired, or sick, or overwhelmed with schedules. That’s when I would try to concentrate on the gratitude thoughts and prayers. Usually it wasn’t the snack making time that made me “mutter frustration.” It would have been the times when you were arguing with each other or complaining.

Did she long for something else?

I was very happy to be a Mother and very thankful for each of our children. I did not long for a job in my field of Family and Consumer Sciences, yet attempted to keep involved through part-time jobs and volunteer work in case I needed to get a job to help support our family.

I did “long for” a dream house, and spent time looking for that dream house for many years; eventually postponing that dream because it was more important to make sure that all of our children had the opportunity to have an excellent intellectual education as well as a physical and sports education.

My Dad says: “She longed for her families happiness.

Did she enjoy it?

The challenge to gather the snacks for people I loved and cared for was the most important aspect of my life at that present moment of my life. Looking back I am filled with gratitude that I was healthy and able to help each of you in whatever you needed at that time of your life.

My Dad says: “Of course she did.


So why am I sharing this here?

I am a collector of stories. A collector of memories and thoughts and
These words are a part of my story, of the story of my family.

There's comfort in the universal. There's comfort in the connection that many of us experience as Moms. There's comfort in those daily routines that sometimes (or often) feel monotonous. This is definitely one of the reasons I treasure the process of the Week In The Life project. I have found that forcing myself to focus on, and document, my daily life leads to so many positive self-realizations and profound reasons for celebration (or the awareness that I need to make changes).

We all get to choose our attitude. One of the things I have always admired about my Mom is her attitude. Even when she was challenged, or tired, or just done, and displayed her completely normal frustrations - my overwhelming memories of her from when I was growing up was her positive attitude and how consistent she was at expressing gratitude.

There are patterns I want to repeat. I want to teach my kids about gratitude and living with a positive attitude. I want to live those two concepts so that my kids see them in action and know them as a regular part of their lives.

Our stories are far from perfect. Mistakes have been and will be made. Forgiveness has been granted and new challenges emerge. There have been things to overcome as a family and many things we continue to struggle with today. This is our reality. This is the common human reality. And through all of it, I am thankful for them every single day and want to show them just how much I love them right now.

Invite others to share in your documenting journey. Including other people's voices in my memory keeping efforts lends authenticity and a whole different depth to the pages I create. Send an email, pick up the phone, write a letter - invite someone in your life to share their perspective on the past with you. What you get back may be completely different (and possibly even more wonderful) than you can imagine.

Related Posts

Sign in or sign up to comment.

55 thoughts

  1. Susan says…

    Ali, I am so jealous!!! Just kidding, sort of. I am one of three daughters of a mother who had a rough life and just was not equipped to "mother" another. I don't blame her, I feel for her, as I do for myself and my sisters, that we didn't have this wonderful, wonderful experience. I didn't realize until I had my own two daughters, what I was truly missing. As a young mom, I learned that doing things for my children out of a feeling of sacrifice was just not my style. I cherish the day I realized that I do not have to be what I learned, I can choose to become what I would have wanted! I look to other people's experiences to choose a way to be that fits with what I would have wanted for myself, and what I am totally providing for my daughters. I have a couple of neighbors who have great relationships with their mothers, and I watch and learn and smile. I also learn from people online as they go about their day sharing what their lives are like. I've always admired your way of being in your family as the mom, and you can so tell that you had such a wonderful example to follow. (Not that you don't have to work hard to find your own way and meet your own challenges) I am hoping that my children will be like you - starting from a much higher place, a place grounded in love. And the idea that they would take that feeling for granted? Will be the biggest accomplishment of my life. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and experiences and your mom.

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. says…

    Hi Ali, as a daily reader of your blog, I'd like to share with you what my mother and I have been doing the last twelve months. Since the passing of my dear father nearly five years ago, I realised once the stories are gone they are gone forever. My parents were together since 14 yrs old so using the questions from Jessica Sprague's Stories In Hand, I've emailed these to Mum about 1/2 dozen at a time (omitting some of course) and she emails them back to gather the true story of their lives. Inspired by your Yesterday Today course, I collected and copied as many photos as I could and so now the long, slow process (embracign imperfection along the way) in putting these stories and photos together in an Amercian Craft 8.5 x 11, 3 ring binder as a collection of our families stories. This is without a doubt why God introduced me to scrapbooking. It is a long way off finished but I can't tell you how precious it is so far!

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. yogi says…

    The Service is provided to individuals only and for personal use only. You agree to use the Service only to post (send) and view (receive) personal messages. Any unauthorized commercial use of the Service, or the resale of its services, is expressly prohibited. You agree to abide by all applicable local, state, national and international laws and regulations and are solely responsible for all acts or omissions that occur under your name or email, including the content of your transmissions through the Service.

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Betsy says…

    Soooo great!

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Cathy L. says…


    Reply 0 Replies