I’m not sure where or when that famous saying originated, but it’s always been one of my favorites. After welcoming my fifth grandchild into the world just a couple of months ago, I’ve come to realize that the saying seems to apply especially well to Mother’s Day.
It’s hard to believe that more than three decades have passed since I was only on the giving end on Mother’s Day. I was lucky enough to have a wonderful mother, grandmother and great-grandmother in my life during my formative years and beyond. They were the recipients of countless homemade cards, wildflower bouquets, plaster-of-paris handprints and lots of other good presents on countless Mother’s Days.
I became a mother myself for the first time when I was 29 years old. I’m pretty sure two-month-old Meg didn’t give me a present that first Mother’s Day, but in the years since I’ve received myriad wonderful and heartfelt gifts from her and her brother and sister. But none of those material presents can compare to the amusing and gratifying things my daughters and daughter-in-law have said about motherhood since they had children of their own. Many of them were the very same things I said to my own mother. Such as:
- “I had no idea natural childbirth would hurt so much.”
- “Do you ever get a good night’s sleep after you have kids?”
- “I read to them because you read to me.”
- “Why do they like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups so much more than broccoli?”
- “How old will they be before I quit worrying about them?”
- “How did you figure out how to nurse a baby without a lactation consultant?”
- “You’re right. Singing ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ really does help put a baby to sleep.”
- “How did you survive without diaper-changing tables in public restrooms?”
- “How did you know we were sleeping okay if you didn’t have a nursery monitor next to the crib?”
- “I never dreamed that a dirty diaper could be so horrible that it would force an emergency bath.”
- “Pacifiers are the best invention ever.”
- “Expensive baby clothes are a total waste of money.”
- “A baby is a lot more trouble than a puppy.”
- “A baby is a lot more fun than a puppy.”
- “The scariest thing in the world is when your baby won’t stop crying and you don’t know why.”
Last but not least, here are my two favorite things my girls said to me after they had children of their own. I can only hope I said them to my mother while she was still alive to hear it.
- “I had no idea how hard it is to be a mother until I became one.”
- “You’re the very best mother in the whole wide world.”
Those words are better than all the homemade Mother’s Day cards, wildflower bouquets and plaster-of-paris handprints put together.
(May 10, 2015)