"Are you sorry you ever had kids?"
That, with a statement Michael made, "When he does that (baby Gideon), it worries me." I smiled and told him, "Yes, and now you'll never stop having something to worry about."
So, I've been reflecting on being a mother. I grew up in the "Women can have it All," " I am Woman," "I can Bring Home the Bacon," etc. It never occurred to me that I couldn't be president, or run a company, but never did I aspire to such things. I wanted to be a mom, that's all. Ha- that's all, that, is in fact the most challenging job I've ever pursued and find it just as challenging now as then.
First you worry if the baby is healthy. Then I worried if the baby was a girl, cause at the time I wasn't too crazy about my brothers, and by comparison to my four sisters, thought boys were big trouble.
Then they lay that little wet, wriggling creature on your chest and you are smitten. Is it a boy, girl, alien, it doesn't matter- what it is - MY BABY. Then, for a whole minute, the world is bliss, until the next set of worries. Is he too hot, too cold, hungry, bored, what?
For a solid year you hold your breath every time you question if he's breathing because SIDS is never far from your mind.
Then it's his first birthday and you sigh, feel so happy, for a whole minute.
Next, since just like your own Mama told you, "Every ol' crow thinks her is the blackest." You worry that he'll be snatched, because who wouldn't be instantly attracted to the cutest, sweetest, smartest, little lumpkin ever?
Then you have two more, rinse, wash, repeat the above. Wow, seriously, you can love this many wee folk this much?
In two shakes of lamb's tail, he's big enough to know how to use the phone, tell where he lives and scream if threatened, so you smile and feel confident, for about a minute. You read an article about a kid finding a gun, and the tragic results that follow and question when it's safe to allow him to go to someone else's house, cause who tells you they have a gun lying about where children play?
And daily, you smile at the wonder of this magnificent child, and you smile and blink and suddenly his voice is changing, he's looking you in the eye and taking every opportunity to express in attitude and body language what a worthless no account he thinks you are. And you wonder, "Where is that sweet little boy of mine." But, other people are always telling you of his work ethic and politeness and you comfort yourself with the thought that you must of done something right.
The worries though, come faster now, because I can no longer see what happens. The boy drives. Car wrecks, drugs, alcoholism, unplanned for babies and a million other things linger in the shadow of my mind, playing peek-a-boo when I don't know where he is or what he's doing.
Still, there is much joy.
I was sipping my coffee this morning, thinking on past Mother's Days.
I hosted all my kiddos friends overnight and then fixed prom breakfast four years running. Three of the four were on Mother's Day weekend. I can still picture all those kids soundly sleeping and every available surface in the house covered with a body. Prom punch, cinnamon rolls and sausage, biscuits and gravy. I still run into kids who remind me of that.
Then you watch them graduate with much pomp and circumstance and think, "Well, we did it, we got here."
Then your kids tells you he's joined the National Guard and we're in a war. So far, I haven't mentioned guilt, but it comes in equal doses with worry. I want to pray, "Lord, please keep my boy out of harm's way." And, in spite of myself, my eyes are instantly drawn to the article of another brave soul who will not be coming back home. I wonder what right I have, and if there is a mom out there anywhere who wants her child to grow up, barely, and leave this world in such a way. Of course there isn't. I can't help myself. I ask anyway.
The very first thing that crossed my mind when I heard of the fall of Osama Bin Laden was a concern for the men that did the deed. My boy would have said, "Yes," to that call. It is the kind of man he is.
You teach your children what you believe is right, then you have to watch when they make decisions you think are wrong and you have to live with it. It is still hard and frightening and worrisome.
But thankfully for me, I have had the privilege of watching them do so many right things, good things, responsible things, and just tender, loving sweet things.
Ahh, then they bring a baby. A most perfect, precious wee baby, and all the love and the fear begin for the next generation.
Then more and more babies!
My boys jumped right into to parenting with both feet, heart over heels. Clearly, their sister is the same. All three are hard workers. Both my boys got an overdose of their Mama's ADD gene and are satisfied with status quo for, oh a whole minute sometimes. Running, bicycling, deer, pheasant, turkey, drums, yoga, bows and rifles, chicken killing, houses to rent, flooring businesses to buy, the next thing. I smile, cause I get it. I worry cause I know it's hard to have such an over active mind.
And that girl, surely inherited my momma gene. Being a mom is what she is all about.
So, back to the original question. I was born a mom, and looks like I'll leave this world the same. If I had not had children, I would have mothered something or someone all along the way. It is the fabric of my being.
I am joyful that I made a contribution to the world at large that will fall on the positive side of the balance. Handy Man and I truly did all we knew to do and I believe the world is a better place because of 1st. Lt, Drummer Boy and Rae-rae. In addition, they'll likely be better parents than we were, so the legacy will continue.
The world is fraught with worrisome things for true. That has always been. Being so reminds me of my need for someone who knows the end of all stories, and daily I must place those worries in His big hands. And daily, I will aim to thank Him for the gift of my children and their children.
The truest words I've read about being a mom and have quoted often, still strike a chord that resonates in all my parts.
"To have a child is to make the momentous decision to forever have your heart walk about outside your body."
The same is true for grandchildren. Now I my heart is walking everywhere in a multiplicity of directions.
No, I'm not sorry. I would do it all over again.
Even today, when I'm cooking and all of three of them are sitting at the kitchen table, making comments and cracking each other up, it is the deepest, most satisfying peace and joy I will know this side of heaven.
Happy Mother's Day - hoping joyful things for you.