In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Five years ago:

I stood in the driveway, holding six-month-old Christa in my arms, and watched my son, Josh, drive off to college.
The boundaries of our family stretched to encompass his new life away from home.

Two days ago:

I watched Josh walk into the airport with his fiancee, Jen, to catch a red-eye back to New York after a whirlwind weekend of wedding planning. Christa snoozed in the car. She insisted on taking the late-night drive to the airport with us, wanting a few more minutes with her big brother and soon-to-be-sister.
The lines of our family are stretching again.

I find myself navigating yet another rite of parental passage. I wonder just how do I do this? How do I watch my son take the hand of the young woman he loves and pledge to love, honor, and cherish her? It's such an overwhelming bittersweet blend of emotions. I can't even begin to sort them all out. A touch of sorrow. A sense of joy.

And as I walk this out, I am oh, so mindful of Christa--and the emotions she is feeling. She's not quite sure what this all means, although a wedding sounds like fun. She likes the idea of wearing a special dress, but wonders if her relationship with Josh will change.

So,I'll be watching my step these next few months. And I'll be keeping a close watch on Christa too.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Being Grateful

Life's been a bit hectic for me, what with a writer's conference last week (yea!) and then a lingering bout of the flu (boo!)
I am determined to end this week on a thankful note, because there are always reasons to be thankful. So here goes! I am thankful:

that my son, Josh, proposed to his sweetheart, Jenelle. They've said all along they don't want a long engagement, so we'll be planning a May wedding. Woo Hoo!!
for library cards and for a six-year-old daughter who gives me a reason to spend time in the children's section of the library. We read fun books like Barn Cat and The Little Cloud and Click, Clack, Moo and Sun Song and anything with Curious George.
for the end of the week, the upcoming weekend, a quick visit from my son and his fiancee to talk about their wedding, and for everyone who said, "I'm praying you feel better soon!"

May your day be anchored in gratefulness.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

An Exemption, Please

All mothers--be they young moms or old moms--should be exempt from colds and viruses and fevers and the like.
I remember feeling this way when my first three kiddos were little--and I haven't changed my mind now that I'm trying to keep up with Christa.
It's hard to pace a six-year-old when I'm down and out and on the couch with the flu.
Granted, this time around I have a lot more help. That's one advantage of being a repeater Mommy-come-lately.
My husband made sure Christa was dressed and ready for school this morning. All I had to do was drive Christa there--and walk her to her classroom, hoping no one noticed just how bad I looked.
Big sister Kate saved the day and picked Christa up after school--even taking Christa back to her apartment, which is a real treat.
So, I've spent the day sipping soda and napping and thinking, "I've got to feel better tomorrow" because there are no sick days when it comes to motherhood. You can't get a note from your doctor that says, "Please excuse Beth from being a mom." That's not how this motherhood commitment works.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Something to be Ashamed Of?

I spent the past weekend at a writers conference and became friends with several late-in-life moms. We traded stories as we walked to workshops or ate lunch or sat sipping cups of tea or coffee during breaks.
One Mommy-come-lately admitted some people's reactions made her feel like she should be ashamed of her Advanced Maternal Age status.
"This is a good thing?" one friend asked after finding out about her pregnancy.
Oh, the things people say.
Common courtesy dictates that you assume a pregnancy is a good thing and that you respond accordingly.
Even when I was reeling from my unexpected pregnancy at 41, I didn't need anyone else's negative reactions. I battled enough of my own. As a matter of fact, it was all the joy-filled assurances of other late-in-life moms that finally overcame my fears. Certainly no one ever made me feel ashamed or guilty that I was I late-in-life mom.
Children are a blessing, whether the mother-to-be is twenty or thirty or forty. There is no expiration date on that promise.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day Redux

You don't ignore Valentine's Day when you have a six-year-old.
I spent yesterday morning in Christa's classroom doing crafts with eighteen kindergarteners. Lots of red and pink and purple and white tissue paper and Modge Podge glue and pink hearts. I'm getting the hang of this now--realizing it's more about having fun and less about being perfect. I still marvel at the kiddos' creativity and complete comfortableness with crafts.
Last night Christa sat at the kitchen counter and colored her unicorn Valentines and then printed her name in red colored pencil. She also had little goodie bags stuffed with candy hearts and pink and red M&Ms and pink and red and white candy corn. Christa's teacher, Mrs. Jarboe, believes Valentine's Day is all about love and sugar. I agree!
This morning Christa and I walked into her class with red fruit punch and a heart-shaped tray of cookies and a big bag of popcorn. Other moms brought contributions for the Valentine's Day party too.
I remember dozens of school Valentine's Day parties when my first three children were growing up. This year I sent a box of goodies to Josh in New York. I have a few goodies for Amy and Kate too.
When they are young, it's all about tucking memories into their hearts. Letting them enjoy being children. And it's about letting them know they are loved--when they're children and when they're grown up too.
Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Encouraging News for Late-in-Life Moms

I'm encouraged when I read news articles like this one titled More Risky Pregnancies are Succeeding. The CNN news article reports how the definition of a high-risk pregnancy is expanding beyond the age limits of Advanced Maternal Age (AMA), when a mom-to-be is 35 years old or older. More and more women who are breast cancer survivors, women with organ transplants, and even women with the AIDS virus are having babies.

"...most results have been so surprisingly good that they are overturning decades of gloomy dogma about who is medically fit to have a child."

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Running with the Little Doggies

Today was field trip day.
One teacher. Five moms. Seventeen kindergarteners.
Off we went to watch an ice skating competition. Now, that is an amazingly beautiful perfomance. How do two people dance the tango on ice skates? I can barely skate on ice skates.
I was one of the five moms running with the little doggies, so to speak. The kiddos were great. Even so, I came home exhausted. Needing a nap.
Maybe it was the combination of navigating highway construction. And herding rambunctious five and six-year-olds in and out of the World Arena. And telling them to "Sit on your bottoms. Sit on your bottoms. Sit on your bottoms," while they played with the arena seats. And taking a group on a bathroom run and trying to convince two little boys it was really okay to use the girls restroom just this once.
I wouldn't have missed all the "ooohs" and "aahs" as the kiddos watched the performers. They seemed to like it whenever a girl hung upside down, her head dangerously close to the ice, while a guy spun her around.
But while running with the little doggies is always a lot of fun--it is exhausting.
Is it nap time yet?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Deliverer: Just Another Way to Say OB-GYN

Christa has a Thankful Journal. Every night, right before her Dad reads a Bible story and says prayers with her, she writes down one thing she is thankful for. A recent entry reads:

I am thankful for my deliverer.

That morning we had breakfast with Dr. Mark Campbell, the ob-gyn who delivered her. Whenever Mark comes in town he enjoys seeing Christa. He always marvels at how quickly she is growing up.

Like me, Mark remembers the day he slathered my tummy with gel and maneuvered an ultrasound wand around until he pinpointed a tiny beating heart. My eyes met his and with a smile he said, "Congratulations, Mom."

I threw Mark a lot of curve balls during my pregnancy--including a kidney stone about six weeks before my due date. I experienced some serious complications after Christa was born too. I am so thankful I had a supportive and well-trained medical provider both during and after my pregnancy.

That's why I encourage other Mommies-come-lately not to settle for anything less than the best medical care, whether they use a family practitioner, ob-gyn, or midwife. My hope and prayer is that they receive the same compassionate care that I did during my late-in-life pregnancy.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Pretty, Pretty Mommy

I'm typing this blog with flourescent pink nails. Two fingernails are even adorned with two tiny, shiny hearts.
See what happens when I take Christa with me to my nail appointment?
Those who know me best know that I am more of a sedate French manicure kind of girl. It's true, I like a nice vivid OPI red too, but that's about as flashy as it gets for me when it comes to nail polish.
Every once in a while, schedules collide and Christa has to accompany me to the nail salon and somehow keep herself entertained for an hour. One of her favorite things to do is select my nail color.
Today as she walked to the wall rack filled with a rainbow assortment of polishes I reminded her, "No purple!"
A few minutes later she brought over not one, but two bottles of orange nail polish.
I then explained I do not wear orange nail polish. I reminded her that I like reds and pinks. And that's what she brought me next--two different bottles of bright pink polishes.
It was time to ignore what little fashion sense I have and pick one of the colors Christa selected for me.
Forty-five minutes later, Christa watched as Gail, my ever-faithful nail technician, lavished each nail with two coats of an exuberant shade of pink.
"Where's your stickers?" Christa asked.
Amy, my eighteen-year-old, has been painting Christa's nails and putting nail decals on them. Now it was my turn to have some "stickers" on my nails. Christa sorted through Gail's selection and chose the equally shiny pink hearts.
"I'll put two hearts on each pinky finger," Gail offered.
Oh, thank you so much.
I get my nails done 'cause it makes me feel pretty.
Today I feel slightly ridiculous. I'll probably feel that way until my next appointment two weeks from now.
But it's a small price to pay, right? Christa sure had fun today helping me be a pretty, pretty Mommy-come-lately.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

One View of Late-in-Life Motherhood

We are not alone.
Quite the opposite. As I've often said in this blog, as Mommies-come-lately, we are part of a trend.
Some of us are first-time moms in our mid-thirties and forties. Some of us, me included, are repeater moms.
Some of us planned our late-in-life pregnancies. And some of us were oh-so-surprised.
If you stood staring in shock at a positive pregnancy test, you might want to check out Leslie Leyland Field's book Surprise Child: Finding Hope in Unexpected Pregnancy. She understands how you and I felt because she experienced the astonishment also--with two unplanned pregnancies in her forties.

e-newsletter signup
Free Resources
Books and CDs
For Writers
For Moms Over 35