Monday, May 11, 2009

A new mother is born, continued

Ever since finding the Osho quote I used on Mother's Day, I have been thinking about the creation of the mother. Since I was an only child and so is my daughter, I don't know this for sure, but I will bet every mother is a different mother to each child. How can that not be true?

A woman of my acquaintance, who was Catholic Mother of the Year, was asked by another acquaintance, "Tell me, if you had it to do over again, would you have eight kids?" And her grim reply was, "No, and I know just which ones I wouldn't have."

When you have a child who coos happily and goes to sleep, aren't you likely to feel different, and be different, from the you whose child is cranky and colicky and wakeful? And that's only the beginning. There's the child whose independence scares you and the child whose dependency bores you. The one who wants to be with you and the one who refuses to be. The one who loves what you love and the one who can't stand it. The one who looks after the baby and the one who leaves him bruised. The one who reads books on how to be an effective babysitter and the one who reads Gossip Girl. The one who breaks bones and the one with unexplained fevers. And on and on.

I recently reread Grandma McLaughlin's autobiography, for the first time in at least twenty years. And it brought home to me how much she loved her children, and how much she knew her children -- even the ones she admitted that she didn't understand.

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