I am currently entering a new phase in mothering. I am approaching the empty nest. And my baby birds are gathering their own worms.
In so many ways I am excited because I can't remember living with Chuck before children. We've already talked about how we're going to spend less at the grocery store and maybe just eat cereal for dinner. We've kidded that maybe we could get into an efficiency apartment because all we really need is a computer and a t.v. And of course, maybe we will just continue to sit in the same room and not talk, except to occasionally smile at each with the realization that we raised 3 really great kids.
"Mothering" to me has meant running the house, cooking the meals, bandaging the bo-bo's, running the errands, checking the homework. I am starting to see the end of a 24 year career. And barely, just barely am getting a peek into how cool being the parent of adults can be.
In other ways, I am feeling alot of confusion. What is my place? How do I mother children that are cooked, done, take 'em out of the oven? They aren't getting their daily dose of cuddling and holding and being told "I love You" because they don't climb in my lap anymore. But that love is still there.
I can see parts of me and parts of Chuck in each of my children. It's in them along with their own uniqueness. So just about the time I figured out the first baby's quirks and patterns, along came the second and again the third. I am a very different mother to the first child than I am to the second child than I am to even the third child. And it's because they are very different individuals as well as the order they were delivered to me and the impact that had.
What I want my children to know is that I love them all. And I would die before having to pick just one to save. I did the best I could with the non-existent parenting book. I can honestly say I do not have a favorite. But I certainly have favorite things about each of them.
I am hearing my adult children say things to me that I said to my own mother. And I think, wow, God took his time with that lesson. I am seeing things come full circle and know that the only way my child will realize how much I love them, is to wait until their grown child says the same thing to them.
So the Erma Bombeck article that is my favorite keeps coming to mind. I found it for you to read....This Erma Bombeck column, originally appeared in 1971, Titled:I've Always Loved You Best
From Erma ....It is normal for children to want assurance that they are loved. Having all the warmth of the former Berlin Wall, I have always admired women who can reach out to pat their children and not have them flinch.Feeling more comfortable on paper, I wrote this for each of my children.
To the first born......I've always loved you best because you were our first miracle. You were the genesis of a marriage, the fulfillment of young love, the promise of our infinity.You sustained us through the hamburger years. The first apartment furnished in Early Poverty... our first mode of transportation (1955 feet)... the 7-inch TV set we paid on for 36 months.You wore new, had unused grandparents and more clothes than a Barbie doll. You were the "original model" for unsure parents trying to work the bugs out. You got the strained lamb, open pins and three-hour naps.You were the beginning.
To the middle child...I've always loved you the best because you drew the dumb spot in the family and it made you stronger for it.You cried less, had more patience, wore faded and never in your life did anything "first," but it only made you more special. You are the one we relaxed with and realized a dog could kiss you and you wouldn't get sick. You could cross the street by yourself long before you were old enough to get married, and the world wouldn't come to an end if you went to bed with dirty feet.You were the continuance.
To the baby...I've always loved you the best because endings generally are sad and you are such a joy. You readily accepted milk stained bibs. The lower bunk. The cracked baseball bat. The baby book, barren but for a recipe for graham pie crust that someone jammed between the pages.You are the one we held onto so tightly. For, you see, you are the link with the past that gives a reason to tommorow. You darken our hair, quicken our steps, square our shoulders, restore our vision, and give us humor that security and maturity can't give us.When your hairline takes on the shape of Lake Erie and your children tower over you, you will still be "the baby."You were the culmination.