The wonder of being a mother


So, as of the middle of last month, I have been a mother for more than three decades. Thirty-five years, to be exact.

Some days that’s still rather amazing to me, because I got married a little later than most of my peers. In fact, at my most recent high school class reunion, I still didn’t have even one grandchild, but one of my classmates was waiting for her second great-grandchild.

I remember talking about the topic of marriage with my grandmother one time when I was in my 20s and single. Her advice? “Don’t worry about it. Just get your education; no one can take that away from you. You can always get married! “ After all, Grandma didn’t marry until she was a few months short of 25, which in her day was the cut-off age for official spinsterhood. I remember my grandpa teasing about how she was saved from that just in the nick of time.

“Why, my mother didn’t get married until she was 30!” Grandma continued. “Then she and Papa went on to have five children.” I did some digging around and found that my great-grandparents married in 1885 and had their first baby a year later. Their youngest child, my grandmother, was born in 1896. So my great-grandmother was past 40 when she gave birth to her last child, something that even now with all the medical advances and technology we have available is considered rather dangerous.

I wonder if my great-grandmother loved her children just a little more because, like me, they came around a little late for her. I got to have a daughter, too, less than two years after my son was born. So they became my matched pair.

Now that they’re grown and live in other states, my children’s birthdays aren’t celebrated with a family party any longer. I don’t hide clues for them so they can find their gifts around the house. I don’t bake a cake, and there aren’t any candles to blow out. It’s been just a few years since I was with my son on his birthday, more than that for my daughter, but we always talk to each other on their birthdays. I do the old-fashioned thing of mailing cards to them, and the more modern act of texting first thing on their birthday morning.

The birthdays ahead will be different, no doubt, as we all grow, change, age, and new people join the family. But I hope I never lose the wonder of having my own children.