Seasoned. The first time I heard that word was at my son’s parent-teacher conference describing his very experienced second grade teacher. I always thought it was such a silly word, mostly used in the kitchen when preparing a steak to be grilled, but not to describe a human being! Only recently, when no one was looking, I discovered that I had truly become a “seasoned mom.”
My motherhood journey began 32 years ago, when I came home from my honeymoon in California, pregnant. Nine months later I gave birth to a perfect 5 pound little girl. Then I blinked, and out popped out my first son two years later. Again I conceived while away from home, in Italy, in my mother-in-law’s bed, no less!
Fast forward 6 years, and I birthed another son, my one and only planned bundle of joy. Then the timeless explanation, “It was my destiny,” could’ve never prepared me for Mother Nature’s next act.
At age 43, my 18 year old daughter went away to college. She absolutely hated it, moved back home. That same week I found myself in that “special” aisle of the pharmacy grabbing any pregnancy test before someone saw me. Just as I suspected, the plus sign appeared after 30 seconds. I was dumbfounded, weepy (already?) realizing I wasn’t getting my period any time soon. Big time OMG, I was pregnant yet again.
And just where do you go from there? You first share the news with your hubby, of course, who was still sporting that ridiculous, “How did that happen?” look on his face just like before, only this time we were gray, older, and fatter. And the responses we got from friends and relatives after sharing our little news kept us entertained for weeks. It went something like this: “This is your chance to have the perfect child,” or “ This is the child who will take care of you when you grow old.” No nursing home in our future.
My cousin’s teenage daughter was traumatized and unable to fathom the thought that we were sill-having sex at our age! That was by far the best. Or was it the many times strangers in my OB/GYN’s waiting room asked if I was pregnant this time with husband #2. Since my 18 year old daughter accompanied me to almost every visit lots of puzzling looks came our way. What crazy lunatic would knowingly get pregnant with baby #4, when her youngest was already 1o years old, with the same guy you had spent half your lifetime with? Umm, that would be me.
Making a long story short, life couldn’t have been sweetened any more by the arrival of my last baby almost 13 years ago. On the plus side, my oldest daughter and I bonded like no other mother/daughter team. I know it sounds sappy, but it is true. Not to mention, she finally got a little sister even though she was old enough to be her mom. Thank goodness she wasn’t! She was there for her birth and even though she almost passed out in the process, she was the first one of us to lay eyes on our new baby, and has been adoring and spoiling her ever since, until…
About a year and a half ago, my phone beeped with a new text. I was busy grilling, so my 12 year old picked it up, and came running outside with phone in hand. Again I saw that incredulous puzzling look on her face, similar to her dad’s. No words in my text, just a picture of my daughter’s own pee stick, and the plus sign again! How could such a little symbol transform your life just like that? I knew that transformation well, but this time I was on the other end. I was going to be a grandmother. I earned that position after mothering four kids spanning two decades!
Naturally, I accompanied my daughter to every doctor visit, ultrasound, and even blood work. I also had the privilege to watch my daughter pop out my gorgeous grandson. I won’t lie, it was pretty dicey watching my first baby writhe in pain, until of course, the epidural kicked in. I had an epidural with my fourth, and I’m still cursing the person responsible for allowing me to go through three natural births without any pain relief. But then again, I pat myself on the back often because I’m a “real woman,” suffering for hours, etc. Whatever it takes… what woman couldn’t use a little confidence booster, especially at my age? Estrogen dips, so does self-confidence. Ugh, I hate menopause, I think?
So yes, I’m living the life of a misfit mom. I’m out there but I simply love every minute. I go to school meetings at my daughter’s middle school, and now I’m the overweight woman with gray hair. But I’m also really smart and can hold my own with any teacher or principal. I’m the same mom I would stare at when I attended these conferences for my first girl. At age 32 I would think why is this old lady here too? Oh that’s right she’s also a mom, what a weirdo! Ha-ha, the joke is now on me. And then there’s the most satisfying feeling I’ll ever feel – watching my big girl, turned quintessential mom, hand off her baby, my grandson, to the arms of her little sister, turned auntie.
I dared to be different (I know it wasn’t planned), but I’m privileged to literally enjoy the fruits of my labor crossing into a new generation with my children and grandchild. I’m directly faced with the passage of time and it’s so scary. Take it from me, it goes so fast. In the meantime, I’ll bounce between my little girl who’s just now blossoming into a young woman, and my little guy working so hard to take his first step. And I’ll be honored to be called a misfit mom. In a way, aren’t we all? Let’s enjoy the journey while it lasts.