Monday, June 14, 2010

Feeling Like a Mother--by Jamie

I’ve been a mother for a little over three years now, but I don’t always feel like one. Sometimes I feel a bit like a three-year-old, myself—at times when I’m squishing Play-Doh with Jayda, swinging on the swing next to her at the playground, or even laying on the couch and “being the baby” while my daughter pretends to be the mommy and tries to stuff a binky in my mouth.

Other times, often in the middle of the night, as Jayda is fast asleep in my arms, I marvel at the fact that I am a mother. It’s both scary and thrilling to realize that this wonderful little girl is all mine—and that I’m responsible for her for the rest of her life (or, well, at least another 15 years, legally!). I’m the grown-up in our family—and sometimes that just boggles my mind. I’m 40 years old…but I sure don’t feel like it most of the time. About a year ago, I found my best friend from Junior High School on Facebook and since then, we’ve resurrected our friendship. When we get together, I can’t believe that the memories we reminisce about are from over 25 years ago! How can that be possible? I remember that Stray Cats concert we went to like it was yesterday—and can still recite all the lyrics to "Stray Cat Strut."

I’m taking a Child Development class this month at a local community college, and for two hours a day, four days a week, I do feel like a mother…and a rather old one at that! On the first day of class, a student approached our professor and said, “My mom told me I had to tell my teachers that I won’t be here for the last two days of class because we’re going to Florida to visit my grandparents.” Oy. Could he act any younger?! And, the other day, as a 20-year-old student sitting next to me groused about all the things she was doing to get her ex of two years back because “he was her soul mate—and worth fighting for,” and even started to show me the seven page letter she was writing to him, I blurted out: “What are you doing? You shouldn’t be in a serious relationship at your age—you’re too young!” She told me I sounded like her mother. Yikes. But wait—I am a mother.

As the professor—who is in her early 40s with two elementary school-aged children, lectures every day—she looks to me as both her student and her contemporary; we both discuss the development of our children with the class, and even roll our eyes at each other when a young student makes a ridiculously immature remark (this happens often). It pays to be a parent in this class because my life experience is an asset. But as a parent, I also have to work harder to find the time to study than any of these “kids” who don’t have to work like I do, or take care of a child. And, just like a true mom, I often want to tsk tsk the ones who are putting no time into this class—and who have the nerve to come in for a test without ever opening up their text books.

One student told me her mom was doing her extra-credit project (which entails reading three chapters of a certain book and writing three short reaction-papers); she said her mother was injured and stuck in bed with the spare time, and was happy to do it. Another girl piped in that she had a friend whose mom had written her college application essays. The first girl remarked, “How cool!” and I blurted out “How pathetic!” Ooops. They laughed and I smiled and turned away, knowing I’ll never be that kind of mom. But I am a mom—whether I think about it all the time or not. And I guess it often shows.


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