This month I have had an unusual opportunity to review my life and the choices I have made. My great-niece, an ardent feminist who volunteers for Planned Parenthood, asked me to do an interview for one of her classes in women’s studies. [Those moms who knew me well knew that as president of West Virginians for Life, the state affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee, I’m ardently pro-life. My precious niece could not be more opposite in her convictions.] She gave me a series of questions that prompted me to review my life decisions, especially the one that settled my primary vocation as motherhood. The last question was, “any regrets:” My answers for her will be my word to you young moms.
No, not really. Perhaps that I had journaled more. I am content that I have lived each stage of my life thoroughly and productively, and I am ready to move on to next one. For example, I was concerned about “empty nest,” since I had been very actively involved as a mother, school volunteer, band chaperone, sports support club (I started to say athletic supporter, but that didn’t come out right!) I did weep when our firstborn started college, recognizing it as a Passage for our family, but when the youngest left and Joe and I were alone again, it was quite romantic and free, and we found a new spark. Joe sometimes refers to the teaching fellowship I was offered but gave up when he began his internship and we had to move. He wonders how my life might have been different. However, if I had continued on with my PhD, and we had lived apart, I doubt we’d still be together, or have the five wonderful adult children we share. No, I feel I have lived a cherished life, protected in many ways.
Motherhood and marriage permeate my history. Woven through the fabric of who I am is the beloved constant of my husband and the challenges and joys of my children. Raising children is wonderful. I love watching young minds make connections, inquire into new dimensions, and thoroughly enjoy what their bodies and minds can do. The relationship with adult children who are proud to call you friend is one of the greatest treasures of life. My dad used to say that grandchildren and great-grandchildren are the closest thing to immortality we experience in this life. Great-grands are still ahead for me, but when my grandson runs out to the car before I can get out, catapulting into my arms, spilling out questions, and sharing his experiences, I know the meaning of an overflowing cup.