|My boys - They have taught me so much.|
I remember the first time I held each of my sons. I held infinite possibilities in my arms. I loved them instantly. I wanted to protect them. I looked into their eyes and thought, “Who will you be?” Little did I know that I was also beginning a journey that would define who I would become. One of my sons is in college. The other is getting ready to embark on that adventure. I often sit in an empty house. I rejoice in their independence because it shows that my husband and I have done our job. After 21 years of the busy schedule of a working mom, helping them, driving carpools, doing homework, navigating joys and sorrows, it is quiet and I can think about all that has transpired. I have changed so much since I was a young mother holding them. I have learned about life because of them.
Motherhood has taught me so much about the depth of love. I love them so much that I still fight my instinct to protect them from every hurt and failure. I love them so much that I have taught them to leave. I truly believe there is no greater love than that which allows you to take joy in letting go.
Motherhood has taught me about the beauty of just being alive. I have relived the world through their eyes. I remember being a girl on a swing in the warm sunlight of summer. I watched them swing and could feel that childhood sensation. I took them to places that I had already seen and watched their wide eyed wonder. Parents get to have “first times” twice. We had our own first successes, first friends, first dates. When our children have their “firsts,” it feels like we are experiencing it ourselves.
Motherhood has taught me about gentle honesty. We watch our children get hurt and have to confirm that the world can be a hard place. When my boys were 8 and 4 years old, my father died from cancer. I had to tell my sons a most difficult truth – Papa has died and we won’t see him. It was one of the most poignant moments of my years of mothering. As I reflect, I think it helped to define the honest relationship that we would have to this day. I tell them the truth and then we cope.
As I sit in this quiet home and I reflect, I realize that the most important lesson I have learned is that of forgiveness. When you are a parent, you realize that your own parents were human. I am the best mom I can be and I now know that my mom did her best, too. I have made mistakes with my children. We all do. I remember being so mad at my mother while she was doing what she thought was best. I realize now that she was being the best mom she could be and she knew the anger would pass. I know that I have angered my children. I also know that they love me and we have a bond that cannot be broken. I have learned to forgive their humanness – my mother’s and my children’s - and even my own. My intentions as I parent are always good. When I make a mistake, I forgive me. I have faith that they do, too.
I hope that someday my boys are parents. I want them to learn the things that you can only learn from putting bandaids on cuts, helping with homework and celebrating triumphs. I want them to sit in a quiet living room and know that their lives were changed from raising children who are now amazing adults.
For more information, click on these titles: "The Goal of Motherhood" and "A Love Letter to My Boys"
Read my articles in “The Shriver Report”: "Stress in the Family: Helping Our Children to Cope" ; "From Working Mom to Working Woman: The Opportunity of the Empty Nest""Family Finances: Tips To Teaching Your Kids About Money""Equality in My Home"
Read this blog for more articles. Ask your parenting & education questions and learn about early childhood workshops for parents & educators on my website - Helping Kids Achieve
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