Forty three years ago my mom, grandmother and late great grandmother took this same photo when my sister was born. I’ve always thought it was the most incredible thing, four generations of women together in one shot. So when Elin was born (the first granddaughter) I wanted to document the moment in the same way. And so we did, quiet literally—my 94-year-old grandmother, who we call Oumie, put on the same dress she wore decades ago. She’s beyond amazing.
Since becoming a mother I’ve realized how lucky I am to have both of them around to ask questions, listen to stories and share in the joy of a new life. To celebrate Mother’s Day I wanted to share a slice of their knowledge, and the little bit that I’ve acquired these past months, with some questions that we all answered.
How long have you been a mom? Oumie: 69 years. Cinders (my mom): 43 years. Me: Just shy of 6 months.
How old were you when you became a mom? O: 25 years old. C: 26. Me: 31.
What as been the hardest part about motherhood? O: Their worries are your worries, its always that way. You go through an awful lot of heartache at times, you’re forever connected in that way. C: You don’t think about taking care of yourself and you have to in order to take care of your kids. It’s a balance so it can be hard. Me: Learning how to balance being a mom with work, marriage and time for yourself. I get wound up sometimes when I feel like I’m not doing a good job and have to remind myself that there is no “perfect” and to not be so hard on myself.
Have you changed since having a child? O: Oh definitely. You’re not just thinking about yourself all the time. C: The responsibility made me more serious I think. Me: I remember sitting in the hospital bed holding Elin and feeling like nothing else mattered. My priorities definitely changed.
Was there ever a specific time you wished you could have re-lived or done differently? C: I wouldn’t do anything differently because motherhood is all about being in the moment and I did the best I could at the time. Me: The first month went by far too quickly. It was so amazing and so overwhelming at the same time but I would do anything just to hold her tiny newborn size again. Such sweet times.
How did your mom influence you? O: She taught me everything about babies, she was with me right after Cinders was born because Cal (my grandfather) was in the navy and couldn’t be there. Me: My mom lives in the moment. I always try to apply that in various ways, especially as a mom. She also passed down the importance of a good shopping session—the OG Could I Have That(er).
What’s the biggest reward of being a mother? O: Your life feels complete like it was what you were meant to do. C: It’s too hard to put into words… it’s life’s greatest gift. Me: Every morning feels like Christmas. I just love waking up to her coos and seeing her smiling face. It’s a limitless love.
What’s the biggest piece of advice you’d give a new mom? O: Stay close to your baby. C: Your children are your teachers. It took me a while to understand that but once my kids got older I really saw it. It sets up a relationship with a lot of respect. Me: Know that every little phase (good and bad) passes quickly so enjoy every moment and give yourself grace.
Photographs by Michelle Drewes