With Mothers’ Day approaching, I’m thinking about motherhood. Specifically, my own experience. Please forgive my indulgence today as I expound upon my joys being mother.
For years, I said that each phase of my children’s development was my favorite. I loved being pregnant and the thrill of giving birth. Full disclosure here – my longest labor was four hours from first pain to delivery, so I realize others may feel differently about childbirth. I loved cuddling and nursing my babies. Our house was full of tiny clothes and blankets and lots of new equipment.
Who doesn’t love toddlers? Children are so fun once they start crawling. Chubby hands pulling themselves up to stand wherever the opportunity arises. My daughter didn’t walk until she was fifteen months old because whenever she wanted something, she would point and squawk and her handservant (three year old brother) would fetch the object of her desire.
I enjoyed dressing my little ones. It took major effort to find outfits I liked for my son for dress occasions. Dressing a little girl was easy and a joy. I think it’s the grown up version of playing with Barbies. My mother always put ribbons in my hair, so I did the same thing with my daughter. I taught myself to french-braid because I liked the look of it on her.
School programs, sports, music recitals and concerts, scouts, Sunday school, I miss them all. It’s true, life was hectic with younger children. I was a working mother and I still remember how I dreaded this time of year. I would cobble together summer plans to include scout camp, sports camps, and Vacation Bible School. Many of the dates weren’t released until mid-May and I worried each year until I had it worked out.
In high school, we had more sports, lots of sports. I learned to keep a magazine in my car, because football practice was never over when the coach promised it would be. Watching spring softballs games is still the coldest I have ever been in my life. Sunday school gave way to youth group and confirmation. Then there was teaching my babies to drive. I taught my son and my husband taught my daughter. I can’t tell you why; it was just the right way for us. And high school formals, the thrill and drama of high school dances.
When it was time for college, I spent a lot of time working with each of them to find the right program. There were trips to Target and Marshalls to buy all the supplies they would need: sheets, school supplies and sundries to prepare them for living in another place, away from me. The first time we dropped my son off at school, I thought I was prepared. I wasn’t. My daughter held me as I sobbed. It was the same way a few years later when we left my daughter at her dorm.
Up until recently, each phase was my favorite, but having adult children was perhaps my most favorite. I would have thought I’d miss being needed, but instead, I reveled in watching my children become independent and self-sufficient.
But now, it’s different. My kids are far away. I miss them and sometimes I long for simpler (albeit hectic) times.