For the first 4 or 5 years after I had children, I considered motherhood a temporary condition -- not a calling. It was a time of my life set aside for exhaustion and long hours. It would pass. Then one afternoon, with 3 kids in tow, I came out of a supermarket pushing a cart (with four wheels that went in opposite directions) when my toddler son got away from me. Just outside the door, he ran toward a machine holding bubble gum in a glass dome. In a voice that shattered glass he shouted, "Gimme! Gimme!" I told him I would give him what for if he didn’t stop shouting and get in the car.
As I physically tried to pry his body from around the bubble gum machine, he pulled the entire thing over. Glass and balls of bubble gum went all over the parking lot. We had now attracted a sizable crowd.
I told him he would never see a cartoon as long as he lived, and if he didn’t control his temper, he was going to be making license plates for the state.
He tried to stifle his sobs as he looked around at the staring crowd. Then he did something that I was to remember for the rest of my life. In his helpless quest for comfort, he turned to the only one he trusted his emotions with -- me. He threw his arms around my knees and held on for dear life.
I had humiliated him, chastised him, and berated him, but I was still all he had. That single incident defined my role. I was a major force in this child’s life.
Sometimes we forget how important stability is to a child. I’ve always told mine, "The easiest part of being a mother is giving birth.... the hardest part is showing up for it each day..."
Mother’s day is traditionally the day when children give something back to their mothers for all the spit they produce to wash dirty faces, all the old gum they held in their ...
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