Sunday, May 9, 2010

happy mother's day

Every since I can remember I have wanted to be a mother.
These are the children that fulfilled that dream.
It has been the best part of my life ever since.

A few lines from
Loud and Clear (2005)
Goodbye Dr. Spock pg 7
by Anna Quindlen

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me.

Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the Remember-When-Mom-Did-Hall-of-Fame. The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs.

The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, "What did you get wrong

The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from

I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs.

I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night.

I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.

Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be.

The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what the books never told me.

I was bound and determined to learn from the experts.
It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.


Dayle Allen Shockley said...

Happy Mother's Day! You have a beautiful family.

dee dee said...

Happy Mother's day!
Thanks for sharing.
Your family is lovely!
Dee Dee

Just a little something from Judy said...

This post almost brought me to tears. I really did understand your sentiments and could agree quite often. It is a huge job to be a mother, and sometimes I think one learns most after they are grown. You shared this so beautifully! You have good looking children.

Crickit said...

Such good looking kids you have. I think we all wonder what we could have done better.. etc. I am now hearing from my two oldest, how they appreciate my husband and I. Those times are golden. Hope your Mother's Day was wonderful :)

Debbie said...

Thanks for sharing Anna Quindlen. I love how she puts into words my exact thoughts and feelings too. I hope your Mother's Day was lovely. Thanks for all the times we share our mothering thoughts and times of muddling through. Take care. . DBP