"A latticework of women's arms": A Mother's Day story

May 7, 2014
Sandee Pyne
CPI CEO Sandee Pyne, second from left, and family

CPI Chief Executive Officer, Sandee Pyne, on the women who have enriched and inspired her life:

My great-grandmother awoke each morning to bathe and dress impeccably if simply, always in a white "yin hpone" Burmese blouse and, fragrant with thanakha paste on arms and face, she would recite daily prayers on her rosary beads. I was just four but recall watching with rapt attention to the way my grandmother — her only daughter — attended to her daily needs with loving care.

When my grandmother grew older, it never struck me as a mystery or unfair quirk, but a fact of life to age with quiet decorum.  Just as my great-grandmother lived her last days with us in Yangon, my grandmother lived with us until her passing, making it far away to see snowfall, New York City and meet her great-grandson.

I recently returned from visiting my mother and my only remaining grandmother, Rosie, just after she returned home from the hospital. She was my first advocate and remains my inspiration: she worked to provide for her six children, moving to the U.S. in her fifties to start again with little in pocket but fierce determination. When it’s the three of us, I get the rare pleasure of watching my mother as daughter, and I note with gratitude how I've been supported by a latticework of women's arms that have held, loved and encouraged me.

As a daughter, sister, granddaughter and parent myself, I see how the role of "mothering" has never been the sole domain of one but of an expanded sense of family and community. I dedicate this Mother's Day to everyone who has stepped up to nurture another and lend a hand.




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