Sunday, May 9, 2010

Second Chances

Currently, in the United States, $14.6 billion is spent on moms every Mother’s Day. That number is second only to the Christmas holidays. I can believe it. Mothers have such a major and important role in shaping our character and personalities.

While I still had the option to have a child, I chose for a host of reasons not to do so. Chief of all the factors is that I watched my favorite sister struggle with having had 4 babies in 2 ½ years - by the time she was 20 ½. Although she loved each and all of them dearly, I could see how mightily she struggled to take care of them and the house, prescriptions for a good wife in the 1950’s and the 60's. I would take the school bus to her house at least once a week to help her, and all I would do was iron clothes. This was also a time long before permanent press fabric and where a good wife starched and ironed all of the family’s clothes, including sheets and tee shirts. Because my sister couldn’t keep up with everything even with my help, on my arrival, I usually would locate the sprinkled clothes in the freezer where they would have been put to avoid their molding before one of us could iron them.

There is no doubt that her example was my best lesson in planned parenthood. I just didn’t think I would have the wherewithal to be a mother and to manage my studies and meet my life goals, too.

However, when I met and married my husband Paul, I got a second chance. Paul has three adult children from his first marriage. From two of these kids, we have five grandchildren, one great-grandson who will turn one year old in a couple of weeks, and the unrelated half brother to two of our favorites who asked, “Grandma, will you be my Grandma?” There was no way I could refuse that request, nor did I even consider it.

If you think kids will eat your heart out as a parent, just wait until you become a grandparent! I would give these kids anything and do anything for them. I joke, “You want a car? Sure, I’ll get you a car. What kind do you want? You want a trip around the world? I’ll hire a travel agent immediately.” Of course, I am exaggerating. But that is genuinely my emotion. I can’t seem to say “I love you” enough and give and get enough hugs and kisses. And I am over the moon when one of them calls just to talk. And when Tristan, now 13, calls us “my most precious grandparents,” my heart swells with love for him and for all of them.

Paul’s willingness to share his grandchildren and the children’s receptivity to me bring a very special dimension to my life. As any grandparent knows, being a grandparent is one of God’s greatest gifts. In fact, it’s a little bit of heaven on earth for which I am incredibly grateful.

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