The Mother’s Day Announcement that Changed My Life

The Mother's Day Announcement that Changed My LifeFive years ago, on Mother’s Day, we informed our parents that we were expecting our first child by year’s end. I knew life would change just as we all can predict how we work, socialize, and shower daily can change once children arrive. The most life-changing way I changed has more to do with my heart. Joy and sorrow have never been so clear as hearing the first giggle with a twinkle in my child’s eyes or watching my son try to make a friend on the playground only to be rejected.

To be clear, experiencing emotions more deeply or utilizing empathy skills are not qualities that come only to people who have children. For me though, my children have offered inspiration to live my emotions more fully, less fearfully. They’ve challenged me to take a deep breath and see things from another person’s point of view in moments that I haven’t the time or interest in something outside of me. This could be a temper tantrum, or my child wanting so badly to play a game while I’m trying to finish my work and more. It’s in their pain that I better understand others’ pain (and my own) more fully.

Maybe this is simply called growing up or maturing in some ways. I’d say that I’ve always been on the more mature end of my age, so there is more to it than that. I think I’m more invested in life, in humanity at large if that doesn’t sound too dramatic, now that I have children. I can’t turn away so easily to protect myself when it comes to my child or children in general. Maybe I’m underestimating how connected I was before children considering my life’s work includes social work, studying social problems, and advocating for love in all things. But since having children, I’m bound to life in a visceral way that may have been present but I did not notice or live into before having children.

Likewise, I’ve never known simple joy so sweet as when I see my child toddle to me for the first time or conquer the monkey bars. I know the joy of my own work, interests, and accomplishments; I feel content in things that make up my life. But I’m talking about the kind of joy that can bring a smile to my face and warmth in my heart years later as I recall the memory, the photos of life that make up a scrapbook and add vibrant color and depth to life.

These zestful moments encourage me to keep life simple because there I see joy more effortlessly. It’s easy to get bogged down in outward success, whether my child’s or my own—or my parenting success supposedly demonstrated through my child’s behaviors. It’s also easy to get distracted with some of the difficult parts of life like bills, sick loved ones, lost jobs, and more. My children have a way of pulling me out when my perspective gets too narrowed by giving me simple hugs, cute questions, sweet observations, and joyful play. I invest my life in them and it’s partially in their ups and downs that I come to experience my life more fully.

Lynette shares her life with her husband, brand new daughter, and two sons, ages two and four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

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