I stare at the email on the screen. It’s from an old, high-school friend. “Our ten-year reunion is just around the corner. Tell me about your kids . . . your life . . . and ideas for our get-together.” My fingers click on the keys as I type in my reply; “My kids are my life, seriously! Cory is in the 4th grade and loves chess and Legos. Leslie is my dramatic, little actress. Nathan, my baby, is four.” I stop typing and recall what I had heard about my fellow classmates: Julie is the manager of a large company. Ann a nurse. Veronica an electrical engineer. I do a little work at home, but how does typing on a peanut-butter-stained keyboard compare? Before I know what’s happening, “what-ifs” play through my mind. Lunch with coworkers . . . a closet full of designer clothes . . . business trips to exotic locations . . . Had I made the right choice?
I shake the thoughts of an exciting career from my head and scold myself. I didn’t get on opportunity to go off to college, but this was God’s choice for me . . . right?
I can’t deny having three children by twenty-two years of age wasn’t my childhood dream. Colic replaced college, pampering replaced partying, and Spring Break is now spent spring-cleaning. And unlike most of my twenty-something comrades (many of whom were still single) when I celebrated my twenty-fifth birthday, three small faces helped me blow out the candles.
Some days I wonder if I’m going to spend my whole life picking Cheerios from the carpet and playing Simon Says. Oh no, I remind myself, my life is filled with much more than that. For example there’s the storybook, A Day at the Zoo, that I read over and over . . . and my life’s crowning achievement, finding 101 ways to serve macaroni and cheese.
But isn’t that what motherhood’s about? Don’t all mothers face the same struggles? When I think about it, there really is no difference between other moms with school-aged kids and me . . . except about ten years.
Not that being a Generation-X mom doesn’t have its advantages, I think. I lean back in my computer chair and remember that just last week at Cory’s soccer game, I was mistaken for his sister—not that I minded, of course! I also think of the gathering a few years ago when my daughter let it slip that I was only 24. A friend raised his eyebrows and eyed my offspring. I could see his mind calculating a million-miles-a-minute. A soft “Hmmm” escaped his lips. I didn’t know whether to be horrified that he assumed I was older or pleased that he considered me “mature” for my age.
While the email still flashes on the computer screen, I grab a pencil and paper from my desk drawer and consider the benefits of having kids at such a young age. I list a few: 1) I’ll be thirty-nine when my youngest graduates from high school. 2) When my daughter is a teenager, she won’t be able to look in my closet and say that I have “old-fogies clothes.” And 3) If any of my children ever comment that I’m over-the-hill, I can retort, “Well, you’re not far behind!”
This makes me feel a little better. I decide to list some of my kids’ benefits too, 1) When I help Cory with his schoolwork I still remember how to do long division. 2) I adore the Sears Christmas catalog. 3) And, something really cool, my children have grandparents and great-grandparents. What a deal!
Perhaps in our house the generation gap is more like a generation hop-skip-and-a-jump, but I experience the same joy as mothers who actually get the “over thirty” car insurance discount. I too have a love/hate relationship with McDonald’s, and look forward to the thirty minutes of peace every day when Blues Clues comes on. I suppose what really matters is not the age of the mother; it’s the appreciation for the young lives we’re entrusted with.
“Dear Janie,” I write back to my friend. “I’d love to help with the reunion. I can give great insight into the ‘Family Day’ preparations. As for my life . . . it’s sometimes fun and sometimes frantic, my to-do list has more words than War and Peace, and I’m still sitting around in my p.j.’s while other ‘adults’ have left for work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way . . .”
I pause as I type those last words, letting them sink it. I realize they are truth. I wouldn’t have it any other way. And although this isn’t how I imagined life in my twenties, my dreams are not forgotten. I have three little dreams running around the house, trailing toys behind them. Big dreams tucked away in little bodies. I have Cory, Leslie, and Nathan . . . my choice. The right choice for me.
Ruth in the Desert says
Amen! I love being a stay at home mom! When asked “what do you do?” I proudly state “I’m a MOM!”
Lynnette Bonner says
I hear you! I had my first child at 21. Several of the parents in my kids classes at school graduated a full 15 years ahead of me. But being a stay at home mom is a good thing. Many blessings. Learning to be content, that is my constant battle, as well. Oh that I could say with Paul, “I have learned to be content in every circumstance.” Maybe one of these days, I’ll get there.
Nikole Hahn says
Some of the same insecurities get to me, too. I took a few classes in college, but never pursued that route. We couldn’t and didn’t have kids. Though I sometimes wonder what it would be like I know the reality of kids is not for us. Adoption would put us in the poor house. God sort of made it clear to us what He wanted us to do in that regard. So instead, I mentor children from broken homes whenever that opportunity arises hoping to inspire them to greater things than to make the wrong choices and help them overcome the hurdles of not having a complete home.
Screwed Up Texan says
I was twenty-four when I had my youngest. I’ve asked myself the same things you’ve written. I didnt attend my ten year reunion, but that was for other reasons. I’m finally coming to the realization that being a mother isn’t any less that having a career. Oh and it’s feels great knowing that I’ll be 42 when my youngest graduates high school.
Wonderful!!!! I was a mom at 21, 5 by the time I was 35! I’ve had a similar moment when talking to people about our class reunions (married my highschool sweet heart). Anyway, there are so many benefits!!! And when my older three where born they had 4 grandparents and 7 great grandparents! 2 of those great grandparetns have passed away but still we are blessed with generations!