What a tragedy: A newborn baby dies while lying next to his mother in bed. The family dog is the culprit and the world turns upside down for a very young mother. Whatever the circumstances, the right and wrong of the decisions that were made, a woman will always carry the burden of the loss of her child.
At times, motherhood can be frustrating and wearisome, but in the same moment satisfying and rewarding. One minute you want to send a child to live with his grandparents, and the next minute you want to hold him tight. All parents get a lump in their throat when that tiny hand curled around their finger. A sleeping child can erase all the exasperations from an entire day.
I have come to believe that being a mother is the consummate situation in life. If someone handed you all the chemical ingredients of a human being, you could not replicate a human life even though science tries to. Creating and building a child is the way our lives continue even after we stop breathing.
So often I talk to women like me who have grown children living all over the globe. When there is a crisis in one of our child's lives, we are right there to worry and pray. We often look at each other and comment, "Once a mother, always a mother."
My own mother was no different. My brother was scheduled for surgery to remove a cancerous growth. At that time, my mother was a resident in a nursing home with an advanced case of dementia. During one of her lucid days, she was informed that my brother was to have surgery. I promised my mother that I'd stay with her the day of the surgery. I also promised that I would go to the hospital and bring her the news of the outcome.
I drove from the nursing home to the hospital to speak to my brother's wife. I was assured that the surgery went well but the prognosis was yet to be determined. I went back to the nursing home, finding my mother deep in her state of advanced dementia. I held her hand and quietly told her that her son was fine and the surgery was a success. She immediately became cognizant and cried his name and thanked God that he was okay. We spoke a little about the good news and then she slipped away.
In my life, a phone call once brought some very bad news about the serious illness of our oldest child. As we progressed through the stages of the disease, we faced the real prospect of losing him. We are so fortunate that good medical care and the grace of God has seen the years pass and a remission has taken place. From this incident, I can suspect what devastation it brings to lose a child. We are supposed to leave this Earth before our children.
Motherhood has its tremendous rewards and the biggest of these is to see a grown child be a parent. When we become a grandparent it is a great day, but this also means the mantle of raising another generation is passed on to our own children. As our grandchildren grow and succeed, our mission comes to fruition.
I check on my grandchildren via Facebook and tweets, and even in this advanced technological age I am, and always will be, just a mom.
Mary Partington lives in New Port Richey.