Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mother's Day.

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

I figured it’s appropriate now because, after all, my mother’s day cards are reaching all my female relatives right about today. Thursday. Yeah, I guess it’s the thought that counts, but it’s unfortunate that my thoughts are always cram-smashing into each other on the Friday before Mother’s Day, about five minutes before the postman is scheduled to drive up while I hurriedly scribble out messages that should be heartfelt and personal but probably all say something like,

“Happy Mother’s Day to a wonderful grandma! I hope your day is great! Love, Maegan.”

I honestly can’t remember what they all said.

My mom says there’s a demon that plagues the women of my family – the demon of obnoxiously late greeting cards and birthday gifts. My guess is that this particular demon doesn’t bother with the men because men don’t have mothers or fathers or relatives who celebrate things like birthdays or anniversaries.

Oh, wait – they do? Huh.

Well, beats me why this demon leaves Brian alone. Maybe it’s because he learned to ignore it years ago, when his mother and sisters wrote all his graduation thank-you notes for him. And then, in the years between living at home and marrying me, when his mailbox didn’t ever see an outgoing card, these people just laughed and shrugged and said, “Oh, he’s a man.” I can’t decide if that’s good for Brian, being let off the hook because of his gender, or bad for Brian – being let off the hook because of his gender. Hmmm.

In any case, this Mother’s Day was different for me than it’s been in the past. While I’ve got an incredible mother and have been blessed with a very sweet mother-in-law and several wonderful grandmas, this Mother’s Day was the first that I can remember that my friends were celebrating, too. My friends. Girls my age.

It’s a vivid reminder than we’ve grown up.

I imagine that the most pressing reality of adulthood is having a child. You start measuring your life by the span of your child’s development – a more dramatic measurement than a wedding anniversary or birthday or student status. You stop saying things like, “I’m a senior in high school.” “I’m turning twenty-three.” “I’ve been married for three years.” Instead, you say, “My son is two”… “My daughter is in kindergarten”… “I have three teenagers.”

The biggest thing for me – but of course, this is just observation – is that the rapid changes in your child’s life will just make time seem to pass more rapidly than ever before. Once you’re a parent, you’re bound hard and fast to a train that is unstoppable, heading straight for “my baby is graduating already” and “I can’t believe I’m walking my little girl down the aisle” and “it seems like yesterday that I was holding my son for the first time, and now I’m holding my grandson.” My parents said some of these things, and I remember thinking that they sounded so much like adults. But how else could they have explained the speed at which all those years had gone by?

In so many ways, I know that becoming a parent will be a sacrifice, a world of change. I guess one of those changes, one of the greatest, will be accepting the fact that time is just going to fly faster than it ever did before. It’ll be a whirlwind.

What I’m trying to say, I suppose, is that it seems that no matter how young or old you are when you become a parent, having a baby forces you into a realm of maturity that was never accessible before that point. While that’s a destination that I’m eagerly anticipating, spinning fanciful ideas about soft baby cheeks and handmade baby sweaters, I think the difference between me and my new-mother friends is that I’m still thinking about it as a destination. They, on the other hand, have realized that it’s going to be the most impossible, incredible, unimaginable journey of their lives.

And having grown up with some of these girls, staying up late painting fingernails and talking about boys with them, it’s somewhat of a monument for me to see that they’re starting this journey already.

Or maybe I should say… a MOMument. Ha!

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone.

(And my catchphrase: sorry it’s late!)

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