By Ann Minnett
When my first child was born 41 years ago, I was not thinking about her growing up.
Sounds crazy, but I was so overwhelmed with my precious baby girl that I truly lived one day at a time. Focusing on the day, the moment, we sort of grew up together. She taught me how to be a mom, and when my son was born two years later, I was better at it.
My second grandson was born on April 24th, and my son and daughter-in-law asked us to stay with them for a couple of weeks to help. I was honored to be included, to witness their expert parenting of the newborn and the two year-old during their transition to a family of four. Could I have been that tender, that confident as a young mom? I hope so.
Something else I could not have anticipated when my daughter was born: Motherhood is not stagnate. The mother my children needed as toddlers—the one who preceded them through strange territory like a mine sweeper to clear away dangerous objects or gripped their chubby hands while crossing a street—is not the mother my adult kids need. No, my grown kids need a mom who can distinguish between what is and is not my business and can hold my tongue unless asked for my opinion.
Are there stages of motherhood? If so, each subsequent stage involves a step back to allow the child increased independence. Sounds easy, right? Ha! It’s damned difficult! The toddler joins a playgroup, and mom waits out of sight until he picks up a toy and makes a new friend; the teenager pulls out of the driveway solo for the first time, and mom paces, waiting for the phone call that she’s arrived (more likely, mom does a drive-by later); the young adult chooses a partner that mom doesn’t approve of but mom offers loving support through the hard times; and the ‘child’ raises his own children, and mom falls in love with her son all over again.
Hope you had a lovely Mother’s Day.