I am a lucky mom. My kids have been a treasure. We grew up together.
I had my first child when I was 23. It was November and I was living about five hours from my family and friends. I was petrified to bring her home as I had no idea how to care for an infant. She wasn’t an easy baby, not at first. She cried every night for about an hour until she was six weeks old. After that, she was a peach; happy, smart, adorable and very loving. We spent every waking moment together and she was my world.
My second child was born when I was 25. He was a very large baby and very peaceful, rarely cried and quite pleasant. He had these huge cheeks, wispy blond hair, dark brown eyes and was always happy. I was much more confident bringing him home but then, at that time, we were living near family. His sister was not thrilled at his presence. Oh sure, she thought he was cute, but he took a little bit too much attention… For six months of his life, we were a fun little trio. Then, I had to go to work and things got a whole lot more complicated.
I had my third child when I was 30. In the interim between child 2 and child 3, I had divorced, remarried, and had 2 miscarriages. She was our little miracle girl. The smallest baby thus far, she was like a little china doll with fair skin and light brown hair. We were all thrilled at her arrival. Such a pretty, smart and dainty girl, she was all smiles and giggles. She adored her siblings and they adored her.
My fourth child was a surprise package I delivered the very next year when I was 31. He was born a little bigger than child 3 but he looked smaller because he was so thin. His hair and skin were dark and his eyes were almost black, at first. The first two months of his life, if he wasn’t sleeping, he was eating. He eventually filled out very nicely. Child 3 dubbed him “boy” and that is what we called him for the first few years of his life. By now, I was an old hat at bringing babies home from the hospital. I had lots of help and he was an easy baby, very happy, handsome and laidback.
As I look back now, I enjoyed motherhood. Although at the time, it was very labor intensive and I was constantly filled with self doubt. I had divorced when child 1 and 2 were very small and I worried about them constantly. They didn’t see there dad very often and visitation was hard on them. Also having to deal with a “step” family was an adjustment for them as well. I was also working full-time and had to shuffle between shift work, babysitters and school. It was exhausting and my time was spread very thin. Above all, I wanted all four of them to know they were loved but to grow into good citizens, caring people, loving parents.
I often felt inept as a mother and had to learn as they grew. Lots of mistakes were made and some were corrected on subsequent children. If I knew then what I know now – wouldn’t it have been better? If wishes were fishes.
What I do know is that I am very proud of my children. So much of what they are today has more to do with their own personalities and growth as adults than my abilities as a mother. They are intelligent and caring people; loving to their partners; great parents – loving to their children but also intent on teaching them to be good people; they have good friends; they are good to each other as siblings. I am go grateful to have grown up with them. They taught me so much.