One of the great things about being a mother of grown children is the memories. Part of the fun of those memories, as a writer is putting them into a more concrete format, that may or may not embarrass those now grown children. Any long time reader of my work knows, that I’ve been mining parenting memory gold for awhile.
It is those memories, the happy, the sad, and the hilarious that I feel have made being the mother of these three people so rewarding. My children are vibrant, intelligent, funny, creative and accomplished. Of course that’s just a mother’s bragging, but its true. I was often so proud of them. I’ve also had times where I wanted to pinch their naughty little heads off.
I have great memories of then they were little. Of my oldest finally mastering potty training. I honestly was afraid, I’d still be trying to get that child to use a toilet at the same time he was getting his learner’s permit. But he got it. Soon afterwards, I caught him and a little girl who was visiting, on my front porch. He was demonstrating how to pee off the porch.
My middle child, cried, no wailed, every single morning the first weeks of kindergarten. She begged to stay home. “I’ll be good mommy, I promise I will!” Thankfully she overcame her disdain for school, and went on to be an honor student.
My youngest grew up to possess far more clothes than I, mainly because she’s been stealing out of my closet for years. This child when young, HATED changing clothes. She always wanted to pick out her own clothes, usually the same damned thing, a pair of stretchy shorts and a Sylvester the Cat t-shirt. She tried for three years to wear that outfit every single day. It would mysteriously reappear into her drawer, after I bagged it up to take to Goodwill. Once when she was about three, and I was tired of the daily “dress the toddler cage match” I let her pick out an outfit herself. She picked out socks and a belt.
When they all were in grade school, their collective antics were funny, sometimes dangerous, and often messy. I refused to buy grapes for a year. Why? Because Michael, the oldest, thought it would be a great idea to make grape juice. Their method of juicing was to smash grapes on the table, then try to capture the juice somehow. I don’t think they’d figured out the last part when I walked in on them.
My crew was the first generation of kids to successfully use the laundry chute at their great grandmother’s summer cottage as a slide. To determine its safety factor, they piled all the blankets and pillows they could find, and used Megan, the youngest as a guinea pig.
They also decided to play “cat fishing, extreme style” one day. On this event, I heard uncontrollable laughter coming from the living room. I walked in to see the kids in helpless heaps, one cat staring at the ceiling, the other making rapid laps around the room. I looked where the first cat was looking. There tied to the ceiling fan was the racing cat’s favorite stuffed duck. It was making slow helicopter rotations tethered to a shoe lace. Cheese-puff was desperately trying to catch his toy, while the other cat eyed the whole scene in disdain. Once I too stopped laughing, I made them stop the fan and take down the wind blown stuffed duck.
There were so many things that have made me so proud of my kids. Michael broke his collar bone one summer. He had made the middle school cross country team. Even though he nursed that shoulder for most of the season, he ran in every event. His tenacity was to me an inspiration. He’s been running ever since, and regularly enters events.
All three of my kids have accomplished something I’ve never managed, a college degree. Ashley did so, while parenting very small people, and with her husband either deployed or based far from home for most of her time in studies. She graduated, with honors, weeks before she gave birth to their third child.
All three are home owners, and accomplished that feat before age 30. I was in my mid forties before becoming a home owner. Megan, the youngest bought her first home a year and a half ago. She and her new husband purchased an older home close to ours. It needs to be upgraded to meet the standards of, at least, the early 2000’s, but they are up to the task, taking things one small project at a time.
One more thing I appreciate about these amazing people I birthed is how well they support one another, genuinely like each other and have become a source of support for me. When I made the decision to finally end the marriage from hell and leave their father who had been abusive to all of us, they were there for me, for each other. We were all hurting, yet they rallied around me, listening to me, chiding me at times, giving me ways to distract me from how difficult things were, and letting me know how much they loved me.
I know Mother’s Day is a time to honor mothers. I, of course, appreciate the sentiment and the bit of extra personal attention. This year, I want to spend more time enjoying the gift, of being a parent of three people, who have made my life so rich. It has been a delight watching my children grow from adorable chubby babies, to strong beautiful adults. Being their mother hasn’t always been easy, as we’ve endured some truly difficult times together. We’ve also had a lot of fun together. They’ve made me laugh, cry, lose my temper, exhausted, physically ill, (because germs are the gift that keeps on giving), want to run away from home and join the circus, proud as any mom could be, and feeling extraordinarily valued. A couple years ago, when I remarried, I gained two more grown boys, so now I have more fantastic kids to love.
What Mom could ask for anything more?