I was married just before my 21st birthday and at that time my husband and I had decided that we would not have any children. After almost 10 years of marriage, we changed our minds and my son was born just after our 10th Anniversary.
It was a joyous time, but filled with concerns for the unknown—even questions as to how to change a diaper! I had a good job in the bank and had a career path lined out in front of me. I had control of my life and the power to change things I thought needed changing. Along came a baby, Walter, and that control ended. I found myself on my own and floundering much of the time.
There were no other young mothers on my street. I felt isolated and alone. A few months after my son was born, I joined a 10-week new mothers’ group, and I travelled across the city on Monday mornings to join other new moms. This was lifesaving, but I still didn’t know anyone in my neighbourhood. It took a friend mentioning a program called Take-A-Break, run by the YWCA in local churches, to give me the connection to women in the neighbourhood that I so badly needed. There I met other stay-at-home moms, some of whom are still my very close friends. By the time my second child, Liz, came along I had my life in better order, but there were still ups and downs!
Another connection that was made shortly after Walter was born was really a reconnection. I had a phone call from the choir president at my church. She asked, knowing my choir background, if I could come and help the choir for their Christmas cantata. I said “yes,” and now more than 35 years later I am so thankful that she called for all the blessings I have experienced in the church.
These two things held my life together along with a very supportive husband. Poor Walter Sr. would come home some days and wonder where the cyclone had come from that had only affected the interior of OUR house! I couldn’t seem to look after a baby and get meals and housework done. Thankfully, Wally was very understanding and helpful and continues to be.
My children are now grown but I look around and watch other families and see their successes and their heartbreaks with their families. Being a mom is a life-long job—something I didn’t understand when I was younger. You are caught up with your family at whatever age they are. You provide drives, dinners, support in many ways, and are glad to do it because it helps you stay connected to the younger generation. For many, becoming a grandparent means that they are even more involved.
Thankfully, my children live close to us (my son still lives at home). There were several years when Walter Jr. worked in Bahrain and part of that same time Liz was studying in Australia so we were empty-nesters. Although I was happy they were taking opportunities offered to them and having new and exciting experiences, I really missed them and was very happy when they returned home. I am interested in what they are doing in their lives and in their work and it is hard not to be too nosy.
Motherhood for me is a never-ending journey. With the help of a special relationship with God, my church, friends, and other members of my family, I have felt supported all along the way. The journey has not fully unfolded so I am looking forward to even more interesting things to come. I have been one of the lucky ones who have had the opportunity to stay at home during much of my children’s childhood. I look back and realize that I was given a very special gift—thank you, God!