Tuesday, October 25, 2011

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!

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Blogger Cara Meyers said...

Welcome, Margaret! Your blog made me smile as I just finished uploading my depressing one. I love your attitude and your spunk! However you honestly can't say you loved changing vomit sheets at 3am! Unless it was occasional for you as opposed to almost nightly for me...for 3 years!

Anyway...welcome aboard! We're going to enjoy having you!!

3:18 PM  
Blogger Robin Gorman Newman said...

Welcome, welcome Margaret!! Look forward to your ongoing sharing of your parenting experience.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Margaret said...

Thanks, Cara and Robin. Glad to be aboard.

6:19 PM  

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