Watching the little child play is heartwarming. This time around, I am allowing a child to be a child for as long as he wants. That was my mindset back in those days. The first-born child wasn’t given that luxury. I was young and rigid and only knew what I knew as a new parent. I expected so much out of him. I loved him more than life itself but I placed responsibility on him that far exceeded what a child should have to do.
The second-born child lived free and easy. He still had responsibilities, but more appropriate for his age. I was in a better place too, in my life. Happier than I had been when the first-born came along. A bad marriage can do that to a person.
A second marriage came along when my second-born child was three. We had a new family and happier times. We had more of a family atmosphere. We did things as a family and it was so refreshing to realize a new life with new possibilities.
Along came my third child. This child was more challenging than the first two. Very strong-willed, smart and stubborn. This one was also given responsibilities but she would decide, at her discretion, whether she would comply or not. Whatever mood hit her at the time.
All three children were very different from each other. It only makes sense. I was a different person each time I gave birth. There was 5 years difference between each of them. Three children born and raised together with three very different personalities.
Today, they are all grown and each has moved in their own direction. The first-born has a wife and four children. He’s a very quiet and contemplative person. They live in the neighborhood that he grew up in. It makes my heart smile to know that there was something special about his childhood that he wanted to stay in the same place and raise his children there. The second-born has a wife and two children. His path has been a bit more complicated. After serving our country for many years, he now lives in the southern part of the United States. He’s got such a great sense of humor and although he doesn’t live close by, he holds onto family traditions very dearly. He wants things to be the same for his kids as they were for him as a child. My third child is recently married and currently serving our country in the armed forces. She is the most independent of the three. She moved south also. She built a life of her own, on her own terms and is set on a path of determination to reach a career goal within the time frame she planned very carefully. As independent as she is, she likes to create traditional holidays. She likes to make all the traditional foods that she grew up with.
I am very proud of my three children. All so different and yet in some ways, very much the same. All three cling to family traditions more than I thought they would. All three are friends now that they are adults. That is something I wasn’t sure would come to fruition but it’s true. I love all three with every fiber of my being.
Raising children is not for the faint of heart because they don’t stay children. They become pre-adolescent and behave in more difficult ways to handle. Then, they become teenagers, which is not my favorite life stage at all. Those days are stress riddled with all kinds of grown-up situations, yet still children in adult bodies. Finally, adulthood where they strike out on their own and make their mark in the world. Sometimes, their mark isn’t easy for a mother to watch. They all have their own bumps and rollercoasters to deal with in their lives. But, as a mother, I’m still riding those rollercoasters with them even though they are not my lessons to learn. We are tied together forever and every situation in my children’s lives will always affect me. That’s just how mothers are.
I am thankful to have become a mother. Throughout struggles, trials, tribulations, celebrations, graduations, grandchildren and everything in between, I have grown because of my children. I thank each and every one of you for the gifts that you are in my life.