I don't know how I would have made it so far through "daughter-hood" had I not made it through the rigors of "parenthood" and come out alive to tell. But, alas, I must admit, being a mother was so much easier than being a daughter.
I recall how many times I heard the words "motherhood is a full time job" and then "it gets easier" and "what do you expect...he/she's only ____years old!". I also recall times when I wished that my babies would grow up, get to the next developmental stage, just so that they would understand what I was asking and I would understand what they wanted. I loved having babies in my life, I truly did, but during those moments of complete frustration, I took comfort in knowing that as each day, week, month and year went by, things would change and most of those things, for the better. Surely, I have used my own experiences as the foundation for the guidance and, hopefully, support, I have handed to my daughter as she winds through the twists and turns of motherhood and deals with the inevitable drainage of her patience. I already see that life with her two "babies" looks somewhat easier, more enjoyable in a different way than it appears when those babies were under age five. Yes, we all get nostalgic, even sad, when we look at photos, think back to the crinkle of Huggies and the warmth of a tiny person just waking from sleep. Were I able to turn back the clock, I surely would, if only for one day but I would not want to advance ahead, knowing that the rest of the time would fly by. I would hug, squeeze, kiss, caress and not unlock my embrace for one second of that day.
Roles, they change. Now, instead of me giving my sage advice to a fledgling mother, I often times find myself on the opposite side, taking advice from a seasoned mother, one who more recently than I, found all the adages to be true and came out of the rabbit hole all the wiser. It's me who vents. It is I who is frustrated and in need of guidance and support. I used to fret about the prospect of my daughter getting ill, having babies who needed her, and a husband who travels for work and might not be able to help. Her girls, even at their young age now, could easily come to her aid and hold down the fort until Daddy came home or grandparents arrived. Little did I know that the anxiety about illness and inabiltiy to deliver care would once again be mine. I used to feel her pain when she would repeat herself over and over to be understood by a toddler to deal with the fallout when toddler did not understand her demands and chose to act out in a way only a baby could. Little did I know that I would spend hours and hours again, re-explaining the basics of life, knowing that my words were going into a brain where they would not be processed as they were intended and that I would have to start all over as if I had never said one word in the first place. I used to wonder how any of us, as young parents, endured through the constant repetition of baby songs, baby stories, and questions, questions, questions, so many that simply did not have answers. Little did I know that I would, at this age, be listening to the same stories, answering the same questions, explaining the same things that did not have answers. Over and over again.
Parenthood. Babies grow up. Parenthood. Parents grow old. And that is where the analogy sadly ends. Parents, in growing old, do not become easier. As each day, week, month and year goes by, it only gets harder. There is no sun in the Sun Room. And, instead of looking forward to the wonders brought by developmental stages, I, for one, find dread in anticipation of what's down the road, what's next. And, my one day at a time attitude, the only management tool I can dredge up, is telling me that today is one of those days. Today, I have to tell my baby that he must pay a handsome sum of taxes because my yesterday was spent with an accountant and my Power of Attorney. And, I have no idea of how I will explain the whole thing, get the check written, and prepare for the next tax season by making the necessary changes in withholding. I know that my words will result in the frustration of not being able to understand one thing I say and that, of course, I will be feeling that it is my fault that he has to pay taxes, and that there isn't a lollipop big enough to quiet what I know will ensue. I just wish my Mommy were here to give me some advice.