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We all have heard the statement, “Before becoming a parent it should be mandatory that one should take an exam and be licensed.”

I tend to think that many would fail the test, myself included. But after becoming a mother a million years ago, I have changed my views completely on parenting.

Our first child, Paul, was born just a few years after I graduated from nursing school. After our physiology professor’s wife had a baby, he informed our class that he was going to tell this child that he was the SMARTEST, MOST INTELLIGENT, and BRILLIANT person in the entire world. In addition, he conveyed to us that whatever venture this child would attempt, he would succeed. I was young and stupid so I told Paul the same things. What was I thinking?

Paul did grow up possibly with a bit more self-confidence some might say. But he also is handsome, kind and has achieved success in almost everything he did.

Nineteen months after Paul was born, we had a little girl, Karen. Now, try on this concept: Because I had two babies under the age of 2 and a full-time job, something in my brain suggested that because I was so busy, she might think I didn’t love her enough. So after that epiphany, I started putting her in bed with us after her nighttime feeding. Five years later when Karen started kindergarten, her bus driver told me that even after two months of going to school she cried day after day, stating that she missed her mom and needed to be close to me.

Four and a half years later when we were absolutely positive our family was complete, we had another boy, Steven. As Bill Cosby used to describe his son, “He was the one who flew down the chute with a glass of champagne in one hand and a cigarette in the other.” That was our Steven. Possibly because the older two wore us down, everything Steven did was accepted at face value. Or maybe we were too tired to notice.

Before we knew it, the grandchildren were here, all 10 of them. I had the honor of being present at five of their births. Of course, sometimes even perfect grandchildren misbehave or disagree with their parents. Like any good grandparent, I encourage them to come to me with their problems. When they are upset with their parents, I tell them all the bad things THEIR parents did when they were young.

Some may call this blackmail. I call it payback. (I do recall Karen telling her children that Grandma wasn’t always this nice.)

Two years ago we made it on the great-grandparents list. Our oldest granddaughter, Ashley, had a gorgeous little boy, Zachary. Here’s the fun part: Zachary and his parents are living with us until they buy a house.

And we have the pleasure of changing diapers in this house again.