Dear fellow moms,
Lately, God has put several of my grown children on my heart in a special way. I find myself wanting to be with them more, to look into their eyes, to know they are really doing okay in their current season of life, to pray with them and not just for them, and just wrap my arms around them like I did thousands of times when they were little.
Don’t let anyone tell you it gets easier to be a mom when your children grow up. I pray for my adult children more than I ever did when they were young; I agonize over their hurts and disappoints, and hope for their good dreams and goals so much my heart feels like it’s going to burst.
Their triumphs, no matter how small absolutely make my day, and just thinking about how blessed I am to be their mama brings fresh tears of gratitude to my eyes.
Just as I’ve been experiencing these things increasingly these past few months, I came across this story on Facebook. It sure resonated with my heart, so I thought I’d share it with you moms (and maybe some soon-to-be moms, too). I’ve adapted it slightly to reflect my own sentiments better. Hope it blesses you!
We are sitting at lunch one day when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of starting a family.
“We’re taking a survey,” she says half-jokingly. “Do you think I should have a baby?”
“It will change your life,” I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral.
“I know,” she says, “no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations.”
But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my daughter, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes.
I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.
I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking, “What if that had been MY child?” That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her.
That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.
I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish clothes and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of “Mommy!” will cause her to drop her best crystal without a moment’s hesitation.
I feel that I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. I hope she decides to become a stay-at-home mom so she can savor every moment of motherhood. Those moments will become some of the richest treasures she will ever have on this earth.
She may choose to continue working, however, and arrange for childcare, but if she does, one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her baby’s sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home just to make sure her baby is all right.
I want my daughter to know that everyday decisions will no longer be routine. That a five-year-old boy’s desire to go to the men’s room rather than the women’s at a fast-food restaurant will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and customers talking all around, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom.
Every decision she makes regarding the well-being and safety of her child will somehow feel like the most important decision she has ever made. However decisive she may anywhere else, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.
Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself.
That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give herself up in a moment to save her offspring, but she will also begin to hope and pray for more years, not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her children accomplish theirs.
I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor, a visible trophy of motherhood.
My daughter’s relationship with her husband will change, too, but not in the way she thinks.
I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who walks a fussy baby in the wee hours of the night, who never hesitates to play with his child and who kisses his children goodnight.
I think she should know that she will fall in love with him all over again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.
I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing her child learn to ride a bike or hit a baseball. I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog for the first time.
I want her to feel the joy so real it actually hurts.
My daughter’s quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. “You’ll never regret it,” I finally say.
Then I reach across the table, squeeze my daughter’s hand and offer a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all the women who will find their way into this most wonderful and holy of callings.
“Motherhood,” attributed to Dale Hanson Bourke, Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul; adapted by Tracy Klicka MacKillop, 2013