When people ask me what the best days of my life have been, I give them two answers: The day I was married and the day I first saw Christina, my baby. I had already lost a child to miscarriage so I never quite believed the miracle of my successful second pregnancy–until I saw the tiny kidney bean on the sonogram that proved she was alive. I remember exactly the pure joy I felt; the only thing I can compare it to was seeing my husband waiting for me at the altar. I knew in both moments that my life was exactly where it was supposed to be.
Being a mother is just as difficult as being a wife, but the job parameters differ. For example, both require a lot of patience, but unlike with spouses, motherhood seems to have the patience built in. Somehow when a little girl scrawls “I luv mommy and daddy” in permanent ink on the bathroom vanity, the reaction isn’t anger; it’s wonder. Though you know that wooden vanity will never be the same, you somehow do not care, and it remains there for the next 15 years to remind you of the sentiment.
Being a mom’s hardest responsibility is worry. It starts from the moment you get your little wrinkled being home from the hospital and suddenly realize there are no nurses there to take up the slack. It continues through school whenever your child struggles with a class, a teacher, the fickleness of young friends and the heartaches of first love. And while it slackens in certain areas as your child grows up and takes on more worry herself, it never leaves. Like the child itself, the worry matures and takes on tougher issues: Can my baby find something she’s passionate about as a career? Will this young man treat my daughter well? Is she taking care of her health?
Okay, so maybe fawning is called for here: Thank you dear for being my baby girl and bringing me so much joy.
Genilee Swope Parente
This blog is dedicated not just to Christina, but to Judy and my own mom, who both had a very rough week. I love all of you.