In Paris, nearly three decades ago, I was filled with trepidation, anticipating the birth of my child. How could I possibly measure up to the task? Within the previous year, I lost my career due to a car accident and my baby in a miscarriage. With my confidence shaken, I struggled to rebuild my life one step at time. And to top it off, I would be raising my child abroad in “French” no less.
Would I be patient enough to let my independent two-year-old do everything herself when she embarrassed me by parading around the block with the hood of her spring jacket over her rump, and shouting, “Me do. Dress myself, Mommy.”
Will I be clever enough to turn a child’s disappointment at her dad’s not coming to dinner into delight by serving supper on a card table in the living room and pretending it is a restaurant?
Will I be creative enough to invent cool games for hot summer afternoons, like painting sidewalks with water, building tents over picnic tables, making lemonade ice cubes?
Will I be perceptive enough to know when my child screams at siblings that something went wrong at school?
Will I be kind enough to make Kool-Aid for the entire neighborhood, to pitch whiffle balls to the kids next door, to volunteer as a bank mom at the grade school?
Will I be tolerant enough to accept the trail of muddy feet from the backdoor to the refrigerator and to answer the phone ringing at all hours?
Will I find time to watch track meets, tennis matches, basketball games, band concerts, and drama performances, to share my child’s interest?
Will I be flexible enough to reheat meals, alter vacation plans, celebrate birthdays early or late, put career plans on hold?
Will I listen closely enough to understand tears as my adolescent struggles to find herself?
Will I be accommodating enough to run out to the store when my child brings unexpected guests home from college?
Will I trust my teenager when she comes home late and my young adult when he picks a mate?
Will I have the faith to sleep when my grown child travels across the continents daring to experience adventures my generation never dreamed of trying?
Will I be wise enough to know that the soundest advice I can offer is by my example?
Will I be smart enough to teach by patience and understanding, not commanding and demanding?
Will I be strong enough to love as unconditionally as my mother loved me?
Will I be as deserving of the honor given on Mother’s Day as she?