I read a wonderful blog on Facebook today by Kim Simon. It was entitled: To My Fellow Mom’s on the First Day of Kindergarten. It really, really was good and had tears flowing down my cheeks before I knew it. The author asked, “How did we get here?” And then she brilliantly expounded on all the first beginnings from trying to get pregnant, to staying pregnant, to giving birth, to cutting off the hospital bracelet and all the things we did to get to the point of launching a Kindergartner. Even though I have a grandson going to kindergarten this year, I still remain wildly tied to being a mom. I just don’t buy that line that being a grandparent is better than being a parent. I just don’t.
I am not trying to start arguments or convince anyone what I believe is right. I am sure that I could be swayed to thinking that it’s more fun to be a grandmother. I just don’t think so at this moment. I even admit that I often remember the past with rose colored glasses too. I do that. And, I do love being a grandmother. I just really loved being a young mother.
Upon reading Kim’s blog and identifying whole heartedly with everything she wrote, I couldn’t help but add the sentences that came with mothering children past kindergarten. How did we get our children through not being invited to a birthday party without letting them know that we were more hurt and angry then they were? How did we learn to accept our child if he was not in the highest reading or math group and how did we learn to accept that being average is a very good and an all right place to be?
We became detectives of our children and what made them unique and we found places, classes or activities that fostered their minds and bodies even as we remembered our childhood and wished that someone had done the same for us. We homeschooled, or weathered middle school and all the debris that comes with adolescence and learned more still about not comparing our children to others, especially their siblings. We stood beside friends with their special needs child and realized what little we understood about life.
We saw how our friends’ children needed help when divorce, alcoholism or addictions befell them and we offered our homes, our carpooling, babysitting, and our ears and hearts to listen to their desperation. We wondered why them and not us? We watched our children lose friends for insignificant reasons and we saw our children befriend others and start over again. We weathered daughters not getting asked to dances and sons being a foot shorter than his seventh grade date. We were humbled as our children didn’t always shine or failed or rebelled and experienced punishments or even arrests. We learned not to judge other’s as we were humbled in ways we never expected.
We agonized over kids being too bright and not fitting in or not getting the needed SAT scores. We cried when our child’s sport season ended for the last time in their senior year with a losing match. Our hearts broke when our child wasn’t accepted to their first college choice or when we had to say no to the college they were accepted to because we could not afford it. We weathered homesickness in college and unhappiness that required transfers. We agonized over their first jobs that were not good fits and boyfriends who did not want to get engaged. We loved their fiancés and learned more than we could have imagined about ourselves in the process. We relived our own pregnancies through theirs and we could not believe how much we immediately loved our newborn grandchild. A miracle I still marvel at. God is so good.
We babysat and realized how different our energy levels had become and we saw in our grandchildren a whole new set of genes and characteristics we never could have imagined. We merged spirituality with our “in-law” families and our faith deepened in the process. We had holidays alone and children and grandchildren who lived abroad. We were criticized for being short sighted and we had to admit that that was the case. We helped financially with education, home buying, childrearing and loved being able to do so. We thought of our deceased parents and missed them more than ever and wished we could tell them how much we realize now what they did for us.
So, back to the phrase, it is more fun being a grandparent. It is fun being a grandmother and it is true, there is less responsibility. But youth has a beauty, energy, passion and vitality that I miss. Would I re-do it? Would I ever want to return to being 32 and having child going into Kindergarten? Nope. I am closer to heaven than ever before and I would not go back and re-live all that I loved living and all that broke my heart. So, I will be content with not being one of those young mothers reading the blog this year. I will continue to embrace being a grandmother, but first and foremost being a mom. I will ponder the joys and sorrows that have been my journey and be grateful for uncountable blessings and hard knocks that have been my lot and my life.
Happy back to school week to the young and the old! Happy back to school week to every child going to school and to the parents and grandparents sending them off. Happy back to school week to those who remember their own kindergarten beginnings and continue to be amazed at the territory they have traversed.