The unexpected blessings of motherhood

I was surprised by motherhood. I never expected it to turn out quite the way it did.

After I gave birth to my first son, I remember being stunned when I realized that I was going to be responsible for this little human for a very long time. It had never occurred to me before his birth that for at least the first dozen years of his life, I would need to know where he was every moment of every day. I hadn’t thought about that and no one had ever really made it clear to me.

To make matters worse, I wasn’t really the motherly type. But, when I held my son for the first time, I recognized pretty quickly the miracle that had just occurred. What I didn’t realize was all the miracles that would follow.

Motherhood is the hardest work I have ever done. It has also been the source of so many unexpected blessings.

When they 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 youngest graduates from the University of Pennsylvania next week where he played football for four years. He’s looking for a job. My oldest has plans to become an expert in investment real estate. 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 serindpidous, almost miraculous is that, throughout their childhoods, I had a hard time finding full-time employment. Back then, it was the cause of 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 was able 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, 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.

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