Motherhood, Like a Fine Wine by Margaret Hart
I’m excited to start blogging for Motherhood Later. I’ve been a professional writer and editor for more than 20 years, but this is my first time as a blogger. In thinking about my qualifications, I guess I’ve been blogging since I was a kid. In elementary school, my mother said I’d lay on the living room floor and hum, while writing a story or a poem. In middle and high schools, I wrote letters, had pen pals, and like every teenage girl, I kept a diary. In college, I wrote poetry and short stories, and I kept a journal, encouraged by professors during my semester abroad.
So where to begin? A good introduction, I thought, would be the start of my motherhood journey. I was well over 35, but to be honest, I didn’t feel older. Being older has been a gift. While other, younger moms were having their first kids, I was observing and learning, and taking mental notes. When it was my turn, I was scared, but calm and more self-assured. My friends would comment how I just didn’t seem to get flustered by the baby and toddler years. It’s true no one is ever truly prepared to become a parent, but being an older mom definitely gave me advantages often envied by younger moms.
When you get right down to it, though, whether you become a mom at 25, 35 or 50 (a good friend of mine just became a first-time mom at 50!), we are all faced with most of the same challenges and joys of parenting. Still, I often can’t help doing the math. When I’m in my 60s, my son will graduate from college, and hopefully I’ll still be cool enough to throw him one hell of a graduation party! When he’s in his 40s, chances are I’ll be in a nursing home, despite my efforts to stay fit and eat right. I probably won’t be here for him like my parents are here for me today. That’s reality, but I don’t have to like it, and it makes me cry. But being a “glass is half full” kind of person, I tell myself I’m doing everything I can to be the best parent, and hopefully when my time comes, I will have left my son with a legacy of independence, strength, courage, and love to face life’s challenges without me.
I admit I sometimes feel sorry for myself, wishing I had married younger and started a family sooner. But had I taken that path, I would have missed out on all the bright lights of the big city that I experienced living and working in New York City in my 20s and 30s as a writer and editor, traveling the world for business and pleasure, and not to mention, dancing until dawn at most of the famous clubs of the 1980s. It wasn’t a conscious choice, I just lived my life knowing that when the time was right for me to get married and have a family, it would happen.
Today, I don’t really think about being an older mom a lot, and I try not to let myself do the math. When I feel my thoughts drifting there, I remind myself that I am blessed with the most incredible little man in the world. I try to refocus, and to just live in the moment, enjoying the simple and complex pleasures of being a mom. As weird as it sounds, I’ve enjoyed staying up all night changing bed sheets after rounds of vomiting. I wear it as my badge of motherhood! I know I’m stronger having survived my son’s severe allergic reaction to penicillin that nearly hospitalized him. I’ve developed a thicker skin defending my son against bullies and honed my diplomatic skills with parents who have no boundaries for their children. I’ve also loved every off-key concert performance, and cherished every home-made Mother’s Day present. And I have way too may boxes filled with school projects and artwork.
Most of all, I am grateful for the love and laughter my son brings to me every day, and the opportunity to be a mom — his mom! Speaking of laughter, I almost peed my pants from laughing so hard when, on the way home from a Halloween event, my 6 1/2 year old son handed his vibrating pumpkin lantern to his best friend and said, “Put this on your penis–it feels good!”
For me, motherhood just keeps getting better, like a fine wine! And I drink it every day!