Today’s article is a bit more personal than usual because graduation is right around the corner, and I’ve been feeling very nostalgic. It’s a bittersweet time – Our son Matthew is graduating from high school – Class of 2015! – and with this time so close at hand it’s been impossible for me to avoid feeling a bit misty at times.
I became a mother somewhat later than most – well into my 30’s. Looking back, I don’t think my age really felt like much of an issue. I felt really good most of my pregnancy, I worked out, and went to yoga class into my eight month. I remember talking to my yoga teacher, planning to bring the baby in his carrier after he was born so “he could sleep while we had class.” Neither of us ever having had children, we were clueless as to how completely unrealistic that was. (I went back to yoga class 12 years later.)
I have not ever before or since experienced what I felt when Matthew was born. Suffice it to say that from that moment on, I was changed forever.
When I look back now, I realize I had two guiding principles throughout his growing up years that today I feel very grateful for.
- It goes so fast. From the time Matthew was very young, I heard this from friends and strangers alike. People would stop to visit and maybe fuss a bit over him, as we do with babies and small children, and it seems I heard that repeated, often wistfully, more times than I could count. I am so glad I paid attention, because I felt that what they spoke was true and so I became determined to be there as much as possible for everything I could. I am so glad I did. It went so fast.
- “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.” – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis I came upon this quote around the time Matthew was born. It rang true for me then and it rings true for me today. It was my call to action when it came to child-raising – whatever else I did, I wanted to be the best mother I could be for him. I wanted to be present in his life, and see to it that he had everything he needed to grow well. Most mothers I talk to are this way. Motherhood is initiation into that group of women who have in their lives that special person or persons that are more important than themselves, that they would pretty much be willing to do anything for. As a youngish mother once said to me, “You can’t remain self-absorbed and be a good mother.”
I’m fortunate that Matthew was raised in a loving home with two parents who made him a priority. My husband was, and is, a devoted father and has been a strong partner in our marriage and family. We’ve had a lot of fun over the years, leaving some great memories. We always travelled as a family, starting with a trip to Canada and New York when he was just two months old, and have been able to experience many wonderful countries and cultures together. I am so grateful to have had these times.
Mostly, though, I’m grateful for Matthew and who he has become – a kind, intelligent, responsible and honorable young man and, often, the funniest person I know. It’s been my gift to be his mom. So to Matthew, and the Class of 2015 – Congratulations and the best of everything always – Well done!