Babies have been on my mind a bundle lately. I see them everywhere and smile every single time I see one. I love to smile right at them. To get one of their sweet little smiles in return is a big bonus. I love to catch their eye, to make a happy connection. I like them each to know, yes, on a personal level, that they are noticed and enjoyed. Besides, a baby smile can make your day. It’s an angelic flash of innocent life and love.
More than ever before, I am loving seeing young couples with their one, two or few little ones in tow. Sometimes I walk right over and tell the Mom or Dad that their children are darling (especially if the kiddies have been acting up or making noise and the parents look exhausted, or embarrassed). Somehow, I want those parents to know that they are appreciated for their ceaseless efforts. I remember how overwhelming it could be when I had little ones. And I remember occasional scoffs or scorn of the uncaring ignorant. Not to realize the real worth of little children is true ignorance.
Parenting is challenging to say the least, but there is no earthly joy quite like it. Offspring are definitely worth the sacrifice. To father or mother one’s own, as well as to cradle and guide little ones of others, this is truly noble.
Thirty-many years ago I became a mother. It’s been twenty-many years since my last baby was born. About ten years ago I became a grandmother. Now joy abounds as we await the arrival of another grandchild. I can’t wait to see her. She is going to be beautiful, and she is going to be loved. No matter what. She will live and grow under the umbrella of the unbreakable unconditional kind of love that I have always felt for all my kids and grands. Nothing can change that enduring love. Like the never-ending universe. Like apron strings made of absolute rawhide. Protective eternal devotion.
The love for one’s progeny is somewhat incalculable and unexplainable. Like infinity. Everything.
When I think of mothering, I think first of nurturing. Nourishing, guiding and cuddling. Of course, women, especially those who are absolutely wired for mothering, are inclined to worry and fuss over their little ones. And even their bigger grown up ones. “Don’t forget your coat!” Things like that. It never stops. Once a mother, always a mother. It’s a woman thing. I’ve always inclined that way. I always understood the ideals of motherhood. I grew up admiring and emulating fabulous mothers, anywhere I could find them. I was born a bit motherly, and then that grew.
It took me longer to figure out fatherhood. To comprehend it. To entirely honor it. My appreciation of good dads has grown over the years. More and more over decades, actually. I adore a real dad. A man who can man up to being everything best that a father can be. That’s a real man’s man, to me. Watching my husband and sons in their fathering and uncle-ing, taught me the most about all the good that a Dad can do. What fatherhood should encompass.. How important fathers really are. And how kids need good men, mentoring in their lives. That manly example and guidance.
The first worthy and obvious things that come to my mind about fathers are provider and protector, but a good dad is so much more than all that. He’s the lovingly rough and manly side of the parental team. He tosses, tickles, teases and wrestles, urges, challenges: in ways that a motherly soft woman doesn’t always incline. It’s tough to be the dad kids need. Dad’s are generally expected to know everything, to pay for stuff, to stand super tall, to be strong and to be able to accomplish nearly anything. Man’s work. That stuff I’m not quite up to, as a woman. It took me a long time to realize that dads were only human too. They aren’t really supermen. I just thought they were supposed to be.
Thus, I honor parents who do all they can to do parenting right, and to do it as a committed loving team. I love to know couples are working to make their marriages work, for more than themselves, together: but more especially, for the love of their children. Happy loving families just make me happy to see. Children deserve no less, and no greater joy can be found than in raising your children in a united bond of enduring love that enfolds them in that security. Bravo to husbands and wives who give their children this treasure of a gift.