I’ve been a mom for approximately … ummm… 34 years now. And I’ve been a grandmother for 11 years. There is always something new to be learned, discovered and remembered. Having children is a continual learning experience. My four amazing adult children are ages (34), (32), (27) and (25). We have been blessed with (7) extraordinary grandchildren, so far.
From “Day 1” in 1978 with my first born daughter, I learned that laboring in childbirth is painful, that drugs make it worse (back then it was Demerol, not epidurals), and there is huge relief in recovery. But what an incredible experience! With each successive babe, I learned so much more… “natural childbirth” is awesome, and you don’t HAVE to have an enema prior to childbirth; that’s for the doctor’s convenience, not yours. You can “just say no”. The nurse says “Well! I’ll have to write this in your chart! The doctor won’t like it”. I handed her the pen from her pocket ~ I’m not there for the doctor (or her) to “like”.
Did I mention that I was a single mom of four from 1978 to 1998? Well, I was married 2 times in there, and had a 13-year relationship in the midst. But the men in my life were not well-suited to parenting. So, for all intents and purposes, I was on my own. I did the best I could, given the circumstances of our chaotic lives over those 20 years, but, admittedly, I was not the best mom I could’ve been and wanted to be. My children grew up never really knowing where they would be living from one day to the next. Once, my eldest went on a field trip with her class to NYC, and when she came home, discovered we’d made a quick move into a domestic violence shelter. We joke about it now, but I often still wonder at the impact it made on her impressionable life. As emerging parents, we often don’t know or understand what the results of our actions (good or bad) will have in our children’s lives as they grow to be adults and have children of their own. You just don’t think about it when you’re trying to keep your family’s head above water and a roof over them. Sometimes I think “If I knew then what I know now” or “If I only had it to do over again”. But we don’t have it to do over. You can’t hit a reset button and make it right on the next try.
Now I’m the mom of adult children, once again learning new things each day. This is the first time I’ve been the mother of a 34-year-old daughter, and a 27-year-old son. This is the first time I’ve had a 32-year-old daughter living in ALASKA with her Air Force husband and three precious grandchildren. My life is full of “firsts”, and will continue to be. What a blessed way to go through life on earth! This is also the first time I get to share these experiences with the incredible man in my life: my best friend, my love, my soul mate, my husband. He was drafted into this family of “firsts” in 1998, and has been by my side through all of the pain, the turmoil, the tears ~ and the fun, the new babies, the stinky diapers and toys under foot, merry-go-rounds and pumpkin picking. I’m not a single mom anymore, one of the best firsts of my life!