Remembering the wisdom and compassion of mothers – Whittier Daily News

Sometimes moms just know what you need. (Getty Images)

As my mother told the story, she was a nervous new mother trying to introduce her baby to her first taste of solid food.

Mom quit a job she loved and did well enough to stay home. I don’t think the term was even used in the 1940s, when “mother” and “stay at home” were pretty much synonymous.

Her boss was so appreciative of her work that he offered to pay for the babysitter so she could return to work after the baby was born. But Mom couldn’t find anyone who matched her standards, and my parents lived in a one-room apartment with no room for a caregiver.

I guess, though she never said, that my mother missed getting dressed for work every morning and taking the train from the Bronx to New York, where she worked at J. Walter Lampl, a designer of gold jewelry including charm bracelets. , one of which he started for me as a child. He loved to spend his days doing interesting things that he learned, mastered and recognized. The days spent at home, where she had full responsibility for her newborn, was a life she struggled to navigate.

In the mornings when my older brother was due to start solids, Mom sat at the kitchen table, reading and re-reading the directions on the pablum baby cereal box, trying to figure out how to make just one teaspoon of what the doctor does. He told her to give him the baby. No matter how hard he tried to reduce the recipe to make such a small amount, nothing worked.

She was in tears when her mother, who lived across the street from her, stopped to see her new grandson. “What is this?” he asked me in Yiddish when he saw my pale and agitated mother. When her mother explained her predicament, Grandma Sarah went to the stove and cooked a portion of pablum. She didn’t read the instructions on the box because she didn’t speak or read English, but she raised eight children. He needed no instructions.

The mother looked at the mother who tried to explain that she had already tried that and it didn’t work. Having prepared the cereal, the grandmother took a teaspoon and gave it to the child. Then he poured the rest into a bowl and gave it to my mother.

Motherhood is its own education.

Email patriciabunin@sbcglobal.net. Follow her at X @patriciabunin and at patriciabunin.com.

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