Moms matter: The influence of mothers on their adult children
Esther's recent 90th birthday was such an occasion. "When I go and visit her," said Carla, "the woman has more energy than I think I ever had in my life." Her mom is "a breed that I call a 'caretaker.' That's what she's always done and she's really, really good at it."
Carla said she learned caring from her mom, something she has passed on to her own children, Jenison, 25, and Michael, 22. One of Michael's teachers once told her that he is among the most caring of students. If anyone ever needed help, she could let Michael take care of him.
Carla's own kids, as young adults, clearly still need their mom — and want her, too. They love to go out with her and her husband of more than three decades, Mike.
Esther was and is a can-do sort. When Carla was on crutches in high school and had trouble putting jeans over her injured knee, her mom took some material and made a cute pantsuit that was easy to get into — and she made it overnight.
As for advice, Carla says she never had to ask. "She's the kind that gives advice freely," she laughed. "We don't and never have kept things secret. That was something my husband had to get used to. I told him years ago he'd have to learn to deal with the fact that I tell things to Charla and to mom. I think that when you share with other people, you get valuable insight."
Like her sister, Paige, Brooke Lange, 48, appreciates their mom's example. Lorraine Self wanted desperately to take her own folks on a trip back to their native Sweden; they never made it. So Brooke and Paige took Lorraine there a few years ago. They have for decades watched their mom pass on Swedish traditions and Brooke said her own son, Gardner, 18, wouldn't dream of missing the annual Swedish festival. And just as their mother never missed one of her six children's events, from music to sports, she is there for her grandchildren now, as well. "When I see her with my own son and her other grandkids, it's sort of a sight to behold. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience and she's not afraid to pass it on."
It is a delight, Brooke said, to see a woman and her teenage grandson so tightly knit, generations bound together by her mother's love.
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