Mother’s Day. Unless you’re a greeting card company, it’s kind of odd to pick one day a year to honor mothers because, of course, motherhood is a 24/7 job. A job that never really ends.
As any mother knows, whether your child is a day old, a year old or fifty years old, you never stop being a mother, which basically means you never stop worrying. Sometimes dads seem to have the gift of a worry-free attitude. My friends and I commiserate on the number of times we’ve heard “it’s just a phase” from our co-parents in the middle of a crisis. But we moms often seem unable to fully sever the sense of our offspring’s beating heart within us, no matter how far away they may be.
Oh sure, there are times when we try to trick ourselves into believing our qualms will one day end.
Beginning with those first queasy months of pregnancy, when we tell ourselves that in the second trimester we can relax. And we do, for about five minutes. Then the last trimester hits. But we think…it’s almost over. Then childbirth happens and the attending physician, nurses, and your partner are the ones who need to be afraid, about getting punched in the stomach if they tell you to breathe one more time.
But you think…it’s almost over. And suddenly the pain stops and your beautiful new baby is placed in your arms and it’s all worth it. This bliss is followed by months of sleep deprivation and nonstop baby care and far too infrequent showers and haircuts. And you look forward to easier days and full nights of sleep again and think… it’s almost over.
Then your child starts sleeping but begins walking, and you have a new set of worries while you wonder how one little pair of legs can travel so many thousands of steps in a day, and how babies in the Middle Ages survived without all the baby proofing equipment you just spend hundreds of dollars on. Then again, they didn’t have electrical outlets in the Middle Ages.
Also your sweet baby learns the word “no”. Enough said.
But as the first day of school looms, you think it has to get easier when you have a little time to yourself, and once again you think… it’s almost over.
However nothing prepares you for the anxiety of the first time your child is out of your sight for several hours a day as you ponder all of the imminent disasters which must surely be awaiting her in the schoolyard: skinned knees, mean kids, contagious infections and rusty swings among the least of them. Plus just when you thought you were done with school, your nights are once again filled with homework. What?
Yeah, childhood is filled with little problems but too few of us fail to appreciate those golden years until they’re over and the TEEN years hit (insert “Jaws” theme music here). You thought you were scared before? HAHAHAHA!
But hey, college is right around the corner, right? If we can just hang on until they get there, we’ll have some respite. It’s almost over.
Until you’re concerned about paying for it all and if they’ll finish in four years (or before your money runs out) and frat parties and if they’ll flunk out and how many times they’ll change their major and if they’ll find a career they love. Or a career that involves health insurance but not a paper hat. But once again you trust…it’s almost over. Right???
Then somehow, if you’re lucky, Graduation Day rolls around. Graduation Day is without equal one of the single greatest days in a parent’s life. Just look around any graduation ceremony and tell me who exhibits bigger smiles and more high fives, the graduates or their parents? Not only do you get to see your child accomplish something for which they’ve worked hard, but you see a little light at the end of the financial tunnel. No more tuition bills! And soon they’ll get a job and be off your payroll! Then maybe you can get a Smart phone and join the 21st century too. It’s almost over!
Alas, sometimes they don’t get a job right away. Sometimes they move back home. Sometimes they get a job but still need money. Sometimes they marry someone you don’t like. Sometimes they marry someone and get divorced. Or marry someone you and they both adore, and then you just worry about that person too. And then you get grandchildren, from all accounts the greatest joy on earth, and of course your baby worries restart with a new intensity.
The point is a mom will always find something to worry about. The joys of motherhood far outweigh the worries but the further we go down the motherhood road, the more things and people we discover to lose sleep over. The truth is there really is no end to that road.
And we probably wouldn’t want it any other way. Because if we ever actually were done, we’d say nooooo! I want to do it all over again!!!
Happy Mother’s Day!
Follow me on twitter. Like me on Facebook
Become a subscriber! It’s an easy way to make sure you never miss a ‘Transplants to Phoenix’ column. Click on ‘subscribe’ to get an automatic alert each time a new article comes out.