Sunday, May 12, 2013

Motherhood's Milestones

In honor of Mother's Day, I thought I’d take a quick look at some of the milestones in a mother’s life. After all, we’re always talking about children’s milestones—learning to walk, the first tooth, the first successful trip to the potty! As mothers, we have our share of milestones, too (some of which, you'll notice, are experienced in tandem with our children). On our special day, here are a few that come to mind for me. I’m sure you have your own unique list as well.
~ The first time I left my first baby with anyone other than my husband and ventured out without him (the baby, that is) was huge. As I recall, it was when my eldest (now 29) was two weeks old. I left him with my best friend and her husband in my apartment while my husband and I went around the block for coffee. I wonder how many times I called home during that 30 minute excursion. I don’t remember but something tells me it was a lot.
~Learning the lesson of not interfering. Yes, this was a major milestone for me, but thanks to advice from my husband’s aunt, I learned that sometimes trying to fix something just makes it worse. Kids have to learn for themselves, and we can’t always swoop in to rescue or change things. This is a hard lesson to learn indeed.
~The first time my sons took me out to dinner and one of them whipped out a credit card and paid was a huge milestone. Wait a minute, you mean... you have your own money!? This is a miraculous milestone indeed. He even asked if I'd like another decaf or dessert.
~Losing your own mother…and finding out that you can go on without her. Yes, this is a biggie…and the transition takes several years (if not decades). When my mom was alive, there was almost no problem that she couldn’t help me with (or at least listen to), expecially when it involved her three grandchildren. Her passing was a profound loss, but it also taught me that I indeed had the courage and resolve to face life even without her (of course, she’s always in my heart).
~Standing strong when your child goes off for the first time to sleep away camp, or abroad to study, or as a young adult phones to tell you he/she will be working or studying in Hong Kong, Qatar, or Africa (insert faraway location of your choice) for a month, a year…or more.
~The first date (or phone call from a girl/boy). Yes, this is huge for the child, but it’s also a big milestone for the parents. It’s shocking to realize that the infant whose diapers you were changing only yesterday is suddenly considered “hot” (and I don’t mean he needs his swaddling removed). Watching your offspring drive, date, fall in love, and do all manner of crazy things during the adolescent years is a major milestone for parents. But in some ways this phase of the teen years (though long maligned) is quite lovely, especially if you are a mom who is a fan (as I am) of blasting, crazy, rock n’ roll music.
~Along with the firsts, are the lasts. The last nursing. The last play in the sand box. The last walk to school…and of course, the last making of the infamous brown bag lunch, which in itself is true cause for celebration, and is perhaps not quite so bittersweet as the others.
~Well…you get my drift. Milestones are part of growing up, and part of our evolution as mothers, as well. Happy Mother’s Day to all!   

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