The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The Mother Looks Back

-By Elaine Slater Reese, a free-lance writer in Spring Green, WI who grew up in Hancock County, near Bowen, Illinois

The woman learns she is pregnant. Her world becomes filled with excitement, anticipation, and dreams. (She forgets that women before her have also become mothers.) Her child will obviously be different - more beautiful/handsome, more intelligent, more successful. She will be the mother her child should have - loving, accessible, encouraging, Her child will know that God chose this mother just for him.

As a teenager she earned needed money by babysitting. She had read books on the subject and taken courses on child care. She was certainly prepared for her little bundle of joy. It took just one long night to learn that babysitting for five hours on a weekend was not quite the same as having an unhappy little one with his days and nights confused - one who suffered from "gas" issues (not like the $4.00 ones at the pump). One or two diaper changes on the Friday night babysitting suddenly appeared totally different than "THIS BELONGS TO ME?"

She learned to adapt to little sleep, accepting the fact that this child was one who frequently "upchucked" the milk he had just screamed for minutes before. But there were also peaceful moments when he did look like her little angel sleeping peacefully in his crib.

Then she couldn't wait for him to walk and talk. AND THEN HE DID! And after learning to smile sweetly and utter Mama and DaDa, his vocabulary increased. His next word was that important one he would need for the next eighteen years -.NO!!!! He certainly got a lot of mileage out of that two letter declaration.

The years passed - owies and BandAids, dandelions and puppies, colds and vomiting in the middle of the night, baseballs, footballs, and soccer balls. Tricycles, bicycles, motorcycles - high insurance premiums came with the territory. Hours and hours of homework - then in junior high there was suddenly no homework - that was his version of the story.

And one day the mother answered the phone. The sweet feminine voice said, "Can I talk to Johnny?" The mother sank into the chair. She didn't even notice the wet dishtowel she had crumpled in her lap. It must have been a wrong number. Johnny was her little boy!

The years passed all too quickly. She found herself attending his high school graduation ceremony. Then he was packing his bags and a UHAUL of essentials for college. He had a part-time job, difficult courses, and a steady girlfriend. Life was different - he had little time for the mother. He was polite and remembered Christmas and Mothers' Day and her birthday. But he was no longer her little boy. That tall handsome twenty five year old was her Son.

The mother sat down to reflect. She had not been perfect - far from it. But if she were to do it all over again, her beliefs, her methods would probably be much the same. And there were two things that brought her peace and joy. Every day from the moment she had learned she would be a mother, she had prayed for this child of hers. Every day from the moment she had learned she would be a mother, she had loved this child of hers. The mother knew she would take her last breath still doing these two things. And she knew she had been blessed.