Beyond the Byline: Reflecting on Mother’s Days of the past

Eileen Godin and son Nick, who was just 6 months old in 2004. - Submitted photos
Eileen Tamanini feeds grandson Nick Godin in 2004. - Submitted photos
Janet Godin and Nick at at the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory in Prospect, Maine, in 2014. - Submitted photos
Eileen Godin - - Submitted photos

When my editor asked for a Mother’s Day story this week, I struggled to come up with a unique idea.

I have written previously about the business side of the holiday and also about mother-and-child business duos.

This year I wanted to come up with something different so I decided to look inward.

I am a mom. I have a mom. I had grandmothers and a mother-in-law.

The common thread than ran through all these women is an unwavering love for their children and unbelievable mental strength, which is required to endure motherhood.

Motherhood is not for the weak of heart.

My poor mom had to put up with a daughter who wanted to wear jeans not dresses. I was forever catching bugs and putting them in jars, then forgetting about them.

I remember once in the 1980s, I wanted to cut and style my hair just like Cyndi Lauper but that didn’t go over very well.

As a teenager, I grew my bangs out so the hair covered one eye, which my mom hated. Plus, I would complain I had nothing to wear to school — to which my mom’s favorite response was, “Well, I can show you what you won’t wear.”

Somehow my mom navigated through not only my teenage years but also those of my older brother, Tim, whom I’m told went through a stage where all he wanted to wear was black.

She was frequently the referee of our sibling fights.

However, when it came to Mother’s Day, we all tried to pitch in so mom could have a break.

Mother’s Day in our house was typically laid back and casual.

Mom never wanted to go to a restaurant that day, claiming restaurants were always over-crowded and the tables were sticky. So dad always made sure Tim and I picked out a card and a treat for mom.

That precedence may be the reason I don’t expect any type of big to-do from my husband and and my son on this once-a-year holiday.

Eric has made me a Mother’s Day breakfast for the past 13 years. Nick always gives me a card, either handmade or store bought.

I do appreciate and look forward to their gestures.

However, I also feel my two special fellas express their appreciation throughout the year for everything I do.

Whether it’s Eric surprising me by making my favorite lemon cake or Nick offering a random hug and an “I love you, Mom,” I’m content.

I have been taught to enjoy the simple things in life. Flashy gifts can get broken, but a strong family bond between a mother, her children and her husband cannot be bought.

Some mothers see the holiday different and enjoy a big fuss. I crossed paths with one such mom many years ago.

Nick was born on May 11. The year I gave birth, he missed arriving on Mother’s Day by a day or two so his birthday always falls near the holiday.

When he was young, I would get wrapped up in birthday fanfare and often forgot about Mother’s Day.

One year, Nick’s birthday and Mother’s Day were on the same day. I saw it as just a Sunday.

Many of the children’s mothers did not have a problem with a birthday party on Mother’s Day. They were actually happy to bring their sons to the party for a few hours.

However, one mom let me know it was inappropriate of me to schedule a child’s party on Mother’s Day.

Her “how dare you” tone caused my Irish and Tyrolean temper to flare.

My response was simple, “I could not control the date he was born; and two, if you need one whole day a year for your family to express their gratitude, then I feel sorry for you.”

The party went on as planned and the attending children had a blast.

Mom as family historian

A lot has changed in our lives since that party.

My mother-in-law Janet who lived nearly 500 miles away on Spruce Head Island in Maine passed away.

Janet raised three children and maintained a seasonal business picking crab meat.

The seafaring family made a living off the Atlantic Ocean as lobstermen. The crabs unfortunate enough to get stuck in their traps found their way into Janet’s steamer.

She developed quite the reputation from local restaurateurs for her quality, shell-free crab meats — until legislation passed that restricted her from picking crab meat at home and selling it commercially.

I have heard that a mother figure not only holds a family together but also become’s the family historian.

When Janet died, the family’s history faded. Eric knows some stories. His brother and sister remember some, but the full family history is gone.

My paternal grandmother Louise Tamanini died when I was 7 and with her went the family’s history of moving to America from Tyrol, a part of Austria.

I did get to know my maternal grandmother Jane Wright before her death and remember her to be a strong woman. My mom carried on many of the stories about her mom, to which I have tried to mentally note.

My mom, Eileen R. Tamanini, is currently battling cancer.

It ‘s tough to see a parent deal with the multitude of emotions created by this disease and its treatments. I find myself resorting to the mentality of a new mother when her baby is sick; I just want to make the illness go away.

So, for me, Mother’s Day has become an opportunity to not only celebrate my family but also reflect on the past.

I wish all of our readers a Happy Mother’s Day.

Eileen Godin and son Nick, who was just 6 months old in 2004.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_Nick-and-I-1.jpgEileen Godin and son Nick, who was just 6 months old in 2004. Submitted photos

Eileen Tamanini feeds grandson Nick Godin in 2004.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_mom-1.jpgEileen Tamanini feeds grandson Nick Godin in 2004. Submitted photos

Janet Godin and Nick at at the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory in Prospect, Maine, in 2014.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_Janet-1.jpgJanet Godin and Nick at at the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory in Prospect, Maine, in 2014. Submitted photos

Eileen Godin
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_Eileen-Godin-1-1-1.jpgEileen Godin Submitted photos

Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews

Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews