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home : opinions : columns   November 25, 2015

6/5/2013 9:29:00 AM
Column: Motherhood

Amy Flanery

I am convinced that no amount of planning can fully prepare even the most eager of new parents for the beautiful way their lives will be turned upside down when they bring their baby home for the first time.
After the last visitor has left and you are officially responsible for your new bundle of joy, you begin to realize the nurse who commented after the delivery, “Now the work begins,” actually knew what she was talking about. Your precious little miracle proceeds to alternate between sleeping and squawking, often at the most inconvenient times. The first months are full of things like colic, teething and night feedings.
But they are also peppered with things like a toothless grin meant just for you, little arms that reach for Mommy and an exuberance bordering on crazy over every little “first.”
You learn that there is no sound more beautiful than your baby’s laughter and nothing that can break your heart like seeing him cry in pain. And at some point you look at his little round face and realize: I would give my life for him.
And, as my mother-in-law pointed out, you do give your life for him — every day.
Every decision you make now is more about him than it ever was about you. At the end of the day, when other people go home to relax, parents go home to do more work, which is infinitely more exhausting and infinitely more rewarding at the same time.
If I had time to think about it, I would be terrified of all the parenting decisions that lie ahead. But right now I’m too busy trying to keep the chaos of our home to a manageable level. Of course when I think it’s time to clean the kitchen, my 9-month-old thinks it’s time to cry until Mommy holds him.
The ironic part is that I would rather be holding him than cleaning the kitchen.
I’m learning so much about God’s love just by looking at my son. I can tell you right now there is nothing he could ever do that will make me love him less. Nothing.
I wonder if God sometimes wants to just hold us and watch cartoons. You know, after we’ve had our bath and gotten our fresh PJs on. That is the good part, after all. The real quality time comes when all the work is done; all his needs are met and it is just time to rest. Or time to play, if you ask him.
For those who have been parents much longer than I have, let me just say: you are amazing.
I had no idea.
So to my father-in-law and mother-in-law ... Thank you for all the baseball games you attended when you were probably tired from working all week. Thank you for all the expensive trips you made to the E.R. for your son’s broken bones. Thank you for all the delicious meals you prepared which I will probably never make exactly right but which you continue to produce for your grown children’s birthdays. Thank you for raising a man who is generous, compassionate and genuine.
And to my own parents ... Mom and Dad, thank you for being brave enough to take three small children on a camping trip — more than once.
Thank you for providing nutritious meals on a regular basis, even though they often went underappreciated. They were amazing. Thank you for training us to sleep on our own, to use the bathroom, to drink out of a cup and to obey authority. Thank you for wiping the tears I don’t even remember crying.
And when I can’t be there, thank you for making your grandson laugh, changing his diaper and holding him while he sleeps.
Somehow, when you look at my son, I get the feeling you would do it all over again.
Then again ... so would I.

Amy Flanery can be reached at (815) 220-6975 or

Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Article comment by: Anonymous39683

Great article Amy!!!
Motherhood, you just do. You don't think about it. Reading this article made me reflect on my three children ages 22, 19 and 18.
I would do all over again!!

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