Recently, I’ve noticed that the older I get the bigger and better my life’s milestones become. I’ve also noticed that these milestones have less and less to do with me and much more to do with the people I love.
As I start reeling in the years I’m beginning to suspect that I’m being haunted by the ghost of pitchman Billy Mays from those old “blue ads” on TV. I keep hearing his voice in the background whispering “but wait, there’s more!”
Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Billy. I actually like his message, but I’d rather that his voice be relegated to late night reruns instead of the back of my head.
I can remember when I thought that my high school and college graduations were a pretty big deal. Then I was convinced that nothing could surpass my wedding day … until our children came along and I couldn’t imagine anything that could top the day that each of them was born. I recall the tremendous pride I felt at their college graduations and thinking that we had finally fulfilled our parental role.
Then their wedding days arrived and with them the joy of welcoming wonderful new members into our family. Surely my life was now complete even as I resigned myself to quietly stepping back and letting their day-to-day trials and triumphs recede from the forefront of my life as they moved ahead with theirs. Boy was I wrong.
I recently found myself sitting in the birthing suite with our oldest daughter and her husband awaiting the arrival of our first grandchild. Their invitation to be present at his birth is the greatest gift I have ever received. In all my maternal musings over the past 30 years, I could never have imagined that day. There are some moments that are so exquisite, so poignant that they defy description; and I was about to witness the greatest of them all.
How do you capture the wind on the water?
How do you count all the stars in the sky?
How can you measure the love of a mother?
Or how can you write down a baby’s first cry?
“Candlelight Carol” — John Rutter
Silly, but as I stood there watching our daughter laboring with her first child I just couldn’t get that Christmas carol out of my head. I kept thinking there was nothing that old Billy could possibly have to offer me after this. And then I heard him again. “But wait, there’s more!”… It seemed that Billy’s ghost still had a few surprises up his sleeve.
Even as I watched our grandson’s arrival I was still not prepared for the moment when our daughter placed him in my arms or when I watched my husband, the new grandpa cradling him for the first time. I know now that the voice in the back of my head wasn’t Billy Mays.
Our 25-year-old son recently remarked to his older sisters that he thinks his parents are having more fun than he is. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but he just might have something there. He’s two years into his first real job out of college, student loan paybacks are a … well you know, and he’s working his tush off. But then again, he’s 25 and single. How bad can it be?
Maybe the next time he hits a rough patch I’ll tell him to channel Billy. Because he was right: There’s so much more.