Becoming a Mother

Before you were conceived I wanted you.

Before you were born I loved you.

Before you were here an hour I would die for you.

This is the miracle of life.

– Maureen Haskins

The moment that I saw this little verse, I copied it into my May folder because I thought it would be the perfect jumping off point for my Mother’s Day column. Becoming a mother is something special; I truly believe that. I remember finding out that I was expecting our first child. We did not have an ultrasound. We did not know what the sex was. All we knew is that we were going to be parents.

I truly fell in love with the little one that I was carrying as soon as I knew. A mother has an advantage over a father. Oh, a father can hear the heartbeat and can feel movement once it begins, but the mother carries a baby within her and gives her heart.

I consider motherhood a sacred estate. No, it does not take brains to become a mother. Bearing a child is an act of nature. Some couples long for a child, but nothing happens. Other couples have child after child with little difficulty. It is not something I take for granted. I was blessed to be able to have two wonderful children.

The amazing thing is that once a child is born the parents have to grow to be able to learn how to rear their off-spring. I had done a lot of babysitting so I felt adequately prepared. My husband had a niece and a couple nephews so he brought some experience to the process. Little did we know how much the young ones would teach us.

Some things I did not learn until I was a grandmother. Why did I not think to give the babies a fork to use before a spoon? A baby fork is certainly not dangerous because it is not sharp, but it is so much easier for the little ones to pick things up with a fork and get it into the mouth. Things used to tip off the spoon so easily.

Another thing I learned as a grandmother was that potty training a boy is easier if you let the little guy stand up like he will eventually do! It was so much easier than navigating that nasty deflector that always got in the way.

They did not even have Sippy cups when my children were small. We used a straw. Then, there are the pull-up diapers. I am not a fan of those. The little ones have to feel uncomfortable to learn the process. It really goes a lot quicker that way.

It takes a lot of love and patience to become a good parent. It takes the desire to love, to learn, and to be prepared to discipline. While little ones might be cute at times, they can have a naughty side. You cannot ignore the naughty behavior. It takes a firm hand to teach your children to honor and respect their elders. It does not all come naturally.

If something happens out of ignorance take time to teach why that thing should not be done. Children learn better when they understand why something is so.

Our best Mother’s Day celebrations were simple family affairs. Sometimes we took a walk. Sometimes we took a ride. While my mother and mother-in-law were still with us I usually cooked a meal of some sort in honor of them.

One Mother’s Day we took a walk on our property in Scandia. We drove up to the top of it and walked down through the pasture. It was a good thing we wore heavy coats because we experienced all sorts of weather. Before we reached the bottom of our trek it was snowing. My husband graciously walked back to the top to retrieve the car.

By some Mother’s Days we had already mowed the lawn at least once. Usually the small- blossomed rhododendrons were in blossom. One Mother’s Day I received an azalea from Dick and the children. The children told me they got a special price on it because the grower was not sure what color it was. That azalea is a beautiful shade of peach. It is planted near my porch and still very much alive.

Plants were a favorite gift that my husband loved to give. For my very first Mother’s Day I received a set of gardening tools that should have been the tip-off that a lot more plants were to follow. The blessing of plants is that they give beauty over and over. I can look around my house and see many of my Mother’s Day gifts.

When my mother was still living in Dunkirk she used to come over to visit for Mother’s Day weekend. She would come on Friday after work and stay until Sunday after dinner. She found living in the country very different than the way she grew up. She was with us on that cold Mother’s Day walk. It is a good thing that I made her some slacks so that she was prepared for anything. Up until I made mom that slack set she had never worn pants of any type.

I do not remember Mother’s Day being anything special when I grew up. I guess my mother and her siblings gave grandma a gift of some sort, but we never went out to eat. Grandma still cooked Sunday dinner that day.

Now that I look at the photographs on top of my television cupboard I realize how fortunate I am to be both a mother and a grandmother. There is nothing more precious than family.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers out there. God bless you all!

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at