The Day Sharon Hushed My Fears: A Mother's Day Post


 One night as a new mom, I stood next to my baby girl's crib. She was all swaddled up and it was time to lay her down for the night. But I just couldn't yet. I lingered a little longer. I loved her so much I thought my heart would burst. I knew that this precious bundle in my arms was not going to stay small forever, and as a new mom, the thought paralyzed me. I wished instead I could paralyze time and hold her in precious innocence forever.

As time went on, however, I found that her growing up was not nearly as scary as I thought it was going to be. It was my new favorite spectator sport. Very small things like rolling over and sitting up became very big deals.

And with sending her off to Kindergarten, it has only gotten better. She comes home spouting off facts about Antarctica, and demonstrating how she can count by 5's to 100.

Life is so sweet.

*****

This post is now going to take a major detour: to a whaling boat in Alaska, for that is how we met Joe. The details truly deserve an entire post of their own, but suffice it to say that four years ago, he and my family (my husband and little girl plus my parents, sisters and brother) ended up on the same excursion to go watch whales in Juneau, Alaska, an experience which also deserves an entire post on its own. 

Joe was traveling on his own on vacation from his church where he served as a pastor. His sense of humor and personality meshed so well with our family that day and on the remaining days of our Alaskan cruise, that he has since traveled out our way for weddings and high school productions of Les Miserables and The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Whenever Joe's in town, we get the whole family together for breakfast and lunch and dinner whenever people can make it because we're such big fans.

You could kind of say we've adopted him.

Except that he's already got parents who love him very much.

And last year he decided it was time we met his lovely momma. 

And his darling fiance.  

 *****

One thing I noticed very quickly about Joe's mom Sharon was that talking to her required practically no ice-breaking period. It didn't matter that she'd only been off the plane a matter of minutes, she could talk to you as easily as an aunt who watched you grow up.

And so I was thoroughly enjoying my conversation with her that day as we walked down the street, showing them the sights of our major city. We were swapping stories about what it was like to raise a little boy as Joe and his fiance Jill (with whom it is easy to get along famously as well, how do you think I got that cute picture up there ;)) walked hand in hand in front of us. 

I shared with her my experience of at first fearing motherhood would be one big painful farewell to each stage of my children's childhood, and then expressed what I already said in this post. That each new thing they learned how to do brought me so much joy, it was much easier to move from one stage to the next.

Little girl was bopping around next to us, probably freezing various trees and buildings as she sang Let it Go. "See, there was a time I wanted her to stay three weeks old forever," I said, motioning both arms toward my daughter. "But this age is so fun."

"And it doesn't matter that I've done it all before with his sister, watching little brother grow has been just as exciting. He's grown out of the baby stage, but I like this stage, too!"

Sharon smiled and nodded knowingly. "And you know what?" She pointed to her son a few steps ahead of us. 

"I like this stage, too."

Oh. That was profound.

Sharon went on to explain, "He's a hard worker, I'm proud of all the things he does for his church. He checks in with me from time to time so I can know how he's doing. He's kind of like the best kind of friend you can have. And now that he's found someone he loves and cares for so much, I'm excited about the new life he'll start with her. It doesn't get much better than watching your own child find happiness."

She had done it. She had passed that horizon that I think most of us mothers of young children fear. That someday when they are pretty well independent, they won't need us anymore. And that there will be some kind of final farewell. And so we are dragging, screeching our heels because we are terrified of that day.  

But she had just demonstrated that even when he's pushing 30, a momma can look at her child and say, "You know, I like this stage, too."

And that prospect, which I hadn't ever really considered before, flooded my heart with joy. 

Suddenly the future looked a whole lot brighter.



1 comment:

  1. Oh, Brittney, as I was telling Mrs. D at work yesterday a story about my son when he was 8 or 9 (he's 24 now) I started crying because I missed that little boy so much. Even though he has given me most of my gray hair, I always go back to that place where I wonder if I could have been a better mom. I've realized I can't go back to that place, because I know I did my BEST with what I knew. I talked to him about it last night and told him I cried when I told her about when I was volunteering for his school at the "reward store" and the kids brought all of their "caught ya being good" reward cash, my Seth never had any. Week after week I volunteered and my son would come say hi to me and never had any "cash" and it made me sad. He laughed and said, "That's because I was naughty and never earned any cash." I said, "I know. But it made me sad." He said, "Really. It's okay." Isn't that cute? I love my "kids" at this stage, too, but honestly there are days I mourn the loss of my tiny ones. All the "older" parents say that, enjoy them while they're young. :) I know you do!

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