Thirty years ago, we got married. Twenty-seven years ago, I entered motherhood. And I am convinced that once a mom, always a mom. Motherhood is such a hands on job, and while I had great teachers, I enjoyed reading everything I could about the subject.
I have been labeled a very overprotective mom. Call me worst-case-scenerio mom. Its a badge I wear with honor. Its a compliment. While my three boys suffered the usual ear infections, and broken bones from climbing---one on Ronald McDonald, and on a jungle gym (no longer found on most playgrounds)--one off a swing at the park, one off a junior bed, one off a chair at Sunday School, one off a swing at camp. I only remember one trip to the emergency room for stitches, when the youngest was horsing around in the youth Sunday School room with a board, a table and a girl.
Even without children in residence or underfoot, I now view the whole world through the eyes of a mom. It is like we are issued the eyes of a mom when the sperm and egg are joined at conception. Maybe the eyes of a mom develop with baby dolls, and babysitting. And I did lots and lots of babysitting. First, with my younger brothers, then neighborhood children at fifty cents and hour, and even after I had a job as an orthodontist assistant, I babysat for my bosses' children.
Even during those babysitting days, little boys were easier to babysit. They entertained themselves pretty well with toy cars and tools. Baby girls were different. Little girls like to talk.
And while other people's children's diapers could make me gag, once I had my own, there was nothing gross or too hard to do. I was not raised around bugs--roaches, in particular. But, the south has an overabundance, and before kids, I would scream like a girl when confronted by a "water bug" (roach big enough to ride). But, after my firstborn was in my arms, I could stomp cockroaches like a pro. The mother hen in me rose up to protect my baby. And that mother hen in me has never left.
I wear my now grown sons out with admonishments to wear a hat, and "don't forget your coat" and "did you close and lock the front door?" My mother trained me well. Most illness can be traced back to a problem with elimination. And low-flow toilets don't help big boys and their big boy poops. Fiber is our friend. Are you drinking enough water???
Anita Renfroe did a great rendition of what all a mom says in the course of a day set to the tune of the William Tell overture. So many of my phrases will resound through my sons brains for years to come--and hopefully said unto their dear children, or discarded as no longer applicable as they study the latest in science and health.
Mom is a verb. It is what we do. It is how we think. It is my signature. I will step in if I sense a child in danger. For instance, at a store, if there is an unaccompanied child...look out.
When I worked in the lunchroom at my sons' elementary school for a few years, it seemed so natural to perform the Heimlich maneuver on a boy choking on a piece of Halloween candy. I had read about it, and with the literature also warned how it sometimes causes the child to throw up. The school nurse was so impressed that she contacted the newspapers and city hall. I was just being a mom.
Motherhood also brought me back to my faith. More about that next post.