Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mothers and Grandmothers

Matriarch of a big peasant family, colorful, kerchiefed, round and rosy-cheeked—
who could represent me better?

I started collecting nesting dolls a long time ago. Made in Russia, the real name is Matryoshka, from a word that means Mother. They are sometimes called Babushka Dolls, which I like, too, because it means Grandmother.

There are lots of different themes and designs, and I delight in seeing how the artists from various villages paint them so meticulously. My granddaughters love taking the dolls apart to reveal smaller dolls fitting inside one another. I tell each girl that the big doll represents her. Her mom is next, and I am after that, with generations of grandmothers and great-grandmothers, back and back and back, who all love her and want her to be happy. If those women could, they would share the lessons they have learned about life.

Art by Kathryn Brown

I hope these little girls can someday realize the blessing of being Matryoshka and Babushka. So many women have "succumbed to a dangerously narrow" view of womanhood, "repudiating homemaking itself as an outmoded and dispensable artifact of a misguided culture." In the article HomeLess America, Bryce Christensen states that women's traditional skills have lost their value. By rejecting a role differentiation between fathers and mothers, some women have lost sight of the home as an "independent moral realm, building relationships and values that are different from those of the commercial realm."

Some destructive fabrications of society that I hope my little granddaughters will recognize as lies:

  1. Men are smarter, have all the power and are more important, so if we want to have influence in the world we should be more like them.
  2. Marriage and family are confining.
  3. Motherhood is menial and a waste of any talented woman's time.
  4. Women are perpetually frazzled and failing.
  5. A woman's value is based on her size, shape, and what she accomplishes outside the home. (Listed in the words of Sheri Dew.)

Some truths I hope these girls will learn from the legacy of their mothers and grandmothers:
  1. By developing the God-given nature to nurture, women have a unique opportunity to change the world.
  2. The influence of a mother has no limit and no end. She can share every aspect of her education and experience in the atmosphere of love she fashions.
  3. Creating a home is a way of creating a world.
  4. Women have abilities beyond their wildest dreams to organize and create.
  5. Women are the soul of a family and a community.
It's been said that women are the survival kit of the human race. That responsibility has been handed down from generation to generation.

In fact, it's our tradition.


Tiffany said...

I love those dolls and I love your words. Thank you!

Heather Carson said...

I have never thought about those dolls that way before. Beautiful. I think I need to find a set to remind me how important it is to pass down the right traditions.

marta said...

i'm glad you posted about this topic. i think it's our duty to unite and show the world what we're really made of. not just sugar and spice.

thanks for being such an amazing example.

gab said...

Rock it, Mom. You need to speak at Time Out for Women. You can call it the Babushka Tour!

Kay Dennison said...

Marty, I agree wholeheartedly.

diane said...

Beautiful post. Now I too will be looking for some nesting dolls.