Motherhood is the hardest work I have ever done. It has also been the source of so many unexpected blessings.
When my two sons were little, I thought they would never grow up. I felt like I would be chasing little boys and making cupcakes for classrooms until the end of time. And then, they were grown.
My sons, to me, are remarkable. Strong, self-assured, and — from their mother’s completely biased point of view — crazy handsome. My oldest is a computer wizard with a side business in performance cars. My youngest graduated from the University of Pennsylvania where he played football for four years. He’s working in commercial real estate now, starting in the trenches and doggedly working his way up. Beyond loving them, I really like them both, so much.
But, looking back, the thing that struck me most about raising them was that every time I fell in love with one age, they would grow into another.The baby with the sweet smile would grow into a lovable, adventurous toddler, and that was amazing. But, the baby would be gone forever.
The other thing that I found serendipitous, almost miraculous, is that throughout their childhoods, I had a hard time finding full-time employment. Back then, it was the cause of my great professional dismay, but my extra time at home turned out to be my family’s greatest blessing.
I had lots of time to take them to parks and playgrounds. I spent time in their classrooms as a room mother and I tried to make sure that ours was the house that kids came to so I could watch over everybody. And I loved almost every minute of that time in my life. Except for the occasional eruptions, like when they tipped my shopping cart over in the check-out line because they were climbing like little monkeys.
Moments like that made me crazy back then, but these days I’ve become a virtual paragon of mothering wisdom. Sometimes, as I stand and watch parents with small children and I see them getting frustrated, I always let them know, like some nosey butt-in-ski, that this too shall pass. “If you blink, they’ll be grown,” I say. Yes, I’ve become that woman.
But, I did blink and they are grown. I wished someone would have warned me.
Originally printed in the Niagara Gazette