Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, and I shudder when I remember how close I came to missing out on my greatest joy, being a mother.
Before I had my children, it would be accurate to say that I did not like children in any way, shape, or form. I despised babysitting, avoiding it whenever possible after the dreadful summer of 1969 when I babysat three unruly, spoiled children under the age of five, who tormented me every day for twelve long weeks. Now I know that the problem was the parents, but then I thought it was the kids, and I decided that having children was absolutely not going to be part of my life.
I hummed along, happy in my childless existence, until Gordon shared his desire to have four children with me. Four?! Not one, but four. Who was he kidding? I was an educator, a scholar. I only liked children once they got to college and not before. That’s why I never got a teaching certificate–I had no desire to spend time with people under the age of eighteen!
Gordon wisely suggested that we start with one child, and because I loved him, I agreed. I was terrified about how my life would change. Would my brain shrivel up? Would I become a Stepford wife? How would I talk to a baby? How would I change a diaper? Eek! What was I getting myself into?
Well, the moment arrived, and Amy was born, and I fell in love for the first time in my life! Yes, of course, I loved my family and friends and husband, but the love I felt for Amy was not like anything I’d ever felt before. It was transcendent. It was pure. It was joy. For the first time in my life, I knew that I would die for someone, for Amy, because she was the most important person in the world.
I fell in love three more times when Gavin, Hugh, and Grant were born. With my four babes, my angels, my darlings, my life was whole and complete. I felt connected to the world and other people in ways I never imagined possible. I understood how God could love us humans, even though we’re often unlovable. My children show me the world through their eyes, and it is a lovely world indeed. Because of Amy, I see fairies in the world; because of Gavin, I understand the simple truths in country music; because of Hugh, I marvel at all the ocean’s creatures; and because of Grant, I get a glimpse at the answers I’m seeking to life’s big questions; my children show me all these things and so much more that I would never have known if not for them. And, because of all four of them, I know goodness.
So, while tomorrow is a day to celebrate mothers, I also want to spend it celebrating my children who made me a mother with their love, patience, and understanding. As I bumbled about, reading T.S Eliot’s poems to them along with fairy tales, serving oven baked chicken for dinner far too often because I hated cooking and didn’t know what else to cook, and worrying aloud about every little thing, my children somehow managed to grow up to be the kindest, gentlest, most caring individuals I know. And, wonders of wonders, they are so well-adjusted. I’m in awe of them, and I am blessed.
Roger Whittaker sings a song called “Tiny Angels.” It is a Christmas song, but these words from the song perfectly express my feelings about Amy, Gavin, Hugh, and Grant every day of the year.
“You changed the world, my angels – when you came to me.
Now Christmas day and every day is the same to me.
The only gifts that I could want are you, my darlings.”
Have a lovely Mother’s Day tomorrow celebrating your mothers and your children!