This morning I decided to prepare our lunch before we left for church so that I wouldn't have much fussing about to do when we returned. Together Larry and I made a truly delicious Thai pumpkin soup. Larry grated the fresh ginger and expertly seeded and diced a jalapeno. I could have made the soup by myself but it was much more fun having Larry at my side in the kitchen. He is such a good sport about taking over those tasks which I consider to be the least enjoyable and I appreciate that so much.
Larry and I have done a great many things together (and we have done many great things). But I am proud to say that our son John is the embodiment of our most significant mutual accomplishment. It is the blessed woman who is able to say with regard to her husband, that child rearing was a mutual endeavor. Larry, who claimed to never want children, was sold out to parenthood before baby John and I ever left the hospital.
As I mentioned, today I get to do whatever it is I want to do and that extends to blogging. And what I want is to write briefly about motherhood.
I don't think there is any career as enriching or rewarding as the parenting experience. There is also no job that is more complex. Babies don't come with an owner's manual, darn it. And it's not as if I could have downloaded something from the internet. All we had 28 years ago was an Apple II computer. Hardly high speed. And who could even fathom the World Wide Web in 1982?
I don't know that I had held an infant more than a time or two my entire life and I'm sure Larry would say the same about himself. But something magical occurs the moment a nurse sets that tiny bundle of swaddling in your arms for the first time. That little ball of joy becomes your own--more than your own but rather a part of your essence--and you suddenly understand love at a new depth.
My own mother once told me, "You will understand how much you are loved when you have a child of your own". My mother has told me many true things but this is the truest of them all; it is fact.
Well I can't navigate life now, at age 56 without instruction sheets, manuals and booklets. I have a file folder full of them and it's overflowing. And I also have Google. Everything is on Google, right? Imagine being able to Google such topics as cradle cap or head banging. Is your child afraid of tornadoes? Find a chat room. Find a preschool, find a doctor, find support groups for neurotic moms-- it's all there! But I had none of that. I was young and I was flying blind. I have asked Larry many times to explain what it is that we did so right when we so didn't know what we were doing.
Well I have concluded that it really doesn't matter so much what we actually did do or didn't do. The important thing is that we gave our all and we gave all of our love. We had so many ups and a few downs. We got off track and back on. But we look back and we look ahead and we say, "it's all good". Love is both a mystery and an answer. We invest so much of it yet we get so much back. The returns are huge.
I'm sure if my own mother reads this she will agree totally. My mom was always and still is the best. I am a good parent because she is an excellent one. She actually was better than a owner's manual. She was a living guide post. I could say the same about my dad but this is Mother's Day after all. I can write about him next month.
I am so proud to be John's mom. He is a source of endless joy. Not because of the things he has done or will continue to do but rather because he is who he is. I have not retired from mothering but I have rewritten my job description. It is very difficult to retire from a career as a mother. I'm not sure it's possible and I know for a fact that I don't want to. It's not that I want the responsibility or the control. I just want the pride and the fun.
John is graduating from Law School and next week we will be traveling to Southern California to help him celebrate. I still remember just how I felt when he graduated from Montessori kindergarten; like it was yesterday. The school's director handed him his diploma and she spoke these words~ "We send you on your way with love, knowing you will do great things in your life". I cried then just as I will when he steps confidently forward to receive his Juris Doctorate. Not simply because a law degree is a wonderful thing, though it is. But rather because family is a wonderful thing. It is life's greatest blessing.
I leave you with this thought from the American writer, William Saroyan~
Of course if you like your kids, if you love them from the moment they begin, you yourself begin all over again, in them, with them, and there is something more to the world again.