I am a mom.
Of course, I am a lot of other things, too. I am a Hartwick College graduate. I am a workforce development professional. I am a staff member of the County of Otsego IDA. I could go on but I think you get the point.
That said, the fact of the matter is that being a mom is a piece of my self-identification that feels much more solid than those other things. I’ve been doing it for a lot longer, for one thing — almost 30 years. And I’m at the point in parenthood where I’m starting to see results — some happier than others but results nonetheless. I am not finished by any means, of course, but I’m pretty close to done with the job part.
You know about the job part of parenting, right? That’s the part where you get your kids ready to go have lives … without the need for you. Parenting, if done correctly, is the supreme act of goodness in most people’s lives. In it, you take on the nurturing of a small and youthful person. You commit to seeing to it that they learn the things they need to learn. You have the care of their well-being, physically, mentally, emotionally and intellectually. You do all this so that this person will one day because a self-sufficient and contributing member of society. So, in addition to doing what you do as a parent for your child, you are also doing it for society at large.
Parenting is a pretty big deal and all parents should remember that.
At this particular time in my life, I am watching several of my younger friends have their first babies. I am watching them fall in love with their first babies. It is a lovely, wonderful and heart-warming thing to watch. I’m coming up on the 28th anniversary of the day upon which I first became a mother — rendered particularly nostalgic because, this year, David’s birthday falls on the same day of the week upon which he was born (I remember things like that) — and I vividly remember falling in love with my first baby. There’s never another first baby for any woman, so your first is special. They have their own unique place in your heart, even if they give you massive amounts of trouble later in life, in much the same way that you always remember the first person you had sex with, even if you didn’t really enjoy it because neither of you knew what you were doing. It sometimes makes for all sorts of issues between parents and their oldest child, and all the expectations that eldests often are forced to carry … but that’s not what this post is about.
So, yeah, I’ve been having a lot of fun watching these young women make the leap into motherhood. Bon voyage, ladies.
At the same time, most of those friends of mine who are around my age and thus have adult children like I do are enjoying the delights of grandparenthood. (That is not a word, according to my Firefox spell check, but pooh on them.) And it brings up an interesting point. I really love babies. I love children who are small enough to wear. I think toddlers and young children and even teenagers are tremendous fun. When I see my friends with their grandchildren (really or virtually), it is easy for me to conclude that I will enjoy being a grandma almost as much as I have enjoyed being a mom.
At the same time, I’m not inclined to nag any of my kids about getting married and beginning to reproduce. As much as I think I’ll enjoy grandparenting (that’s not a word either but Firefox would be fine if I changed it to “grandpa renting”), I’m fine with waiting indefinitely for that to happen. In fact, I kind of don’t care if it happens or not.
It’s not really any of my business.
Parenting is a big deal. It is a lifetime commitment. It’s not the kind of thing anybody should do in order to get their mom to stop nagging them about it. And I’m not self-involved enough to bother my kids to take on such a tremendous responsibility just because I want grandchildren to occasionally play and then give back when they start to get tiresome.
(For the record, I probably won’t do that either. It would be out of character for me to give the kid back just because he is being tiresome. I can handle tiresome. In fact, I rather fancy I’m kind of good at it.)
Gina recently brought up the subject with me because she suddenly noticed that I hadn’t brought up the subject with her. “Don’t you want grandchildren?” she asked me. Well, I wouldn’t object to them, I think I would actually rather enjoy them, but the decision to have them or not is yours. It’s your life.
Gina says I’m an awesome. That, alone, is worth a lot.