I'm in the blue off to the right looking at the camera. My brother, Ray, has his eyes closed and is probably in the middle of saying something ridiculous. My younger sister, Maria, is in the pinkish/red dress up front, grabbing at God-only-knows-what in her mouth. My older sister, Evelyn, is holding onto my youngest sister, Shannon, who is happily playing with penguins. Yup... this same scene could likely be played out in a similar fashion at our next holiday dinner.
Anyway, the reason you've got this concoction of sibling commotion sullying your screen is a conversation I overheard in the pediatric office yesterday as John, myself and Vince were waiting to be called back.
A young mother sat against the wall facing two other mothers, each with a toddler in tow. The young mother had a 7 month old on her lap, calmly sucking his thumb and watching the toddlers cycle around him. Within minutes, the mothers of the toddlers cooed over the 7 month old and commented on how cute he looked sucking his thumb. Inevitably, one of them had to ask "Did you ever try to get him to stop?" to which his mother replied, "He's so calm and content this way, I figured I shouldn't bother."
The other two mothers nod in agreement and then say, "Yeah. If he's so good like that, just let him go. Take it while you can get it."
This coaxes Infant Mom to shyly laugh. Apparently not content to leave well enough alone, the toddler parents begin with stories of how their toddlers, while infants, were calm and content the same as her son. They wistfully spoke of the days when their children weren't tearing apart magazines, throwing blocks against the wall or calling "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy" every two seconds. Considering the behavior of their children in the waiting room, I could see why those musing were wistful.
So of course, as seems to be conclusion of these ridiculous "modern mom" discourses, they confidently affirm to one another that they'd never "do this to themselves again" and suggested to the new mother that she, too, steer clear of future children, especially since her first was so calm. 2nd children are apparently all the spawn of satan. One of the women repeatedly spoke of this "friend" of hers with two children who had absolutely lost any semblance of her former self. She'd "lost herself" to the "rugrats."
Seriously??? Rugrats? LOST herself? I dunno about other mothers out there, but if anything, I've FOUND myself in my son. I've found my calling as a mother, and found my fulfillment as a woman in bearing him into the world. Just because these women were so turned off by the idea of motherhood doesn't mean there are those of us out there (her "friend" included) who can't find joy, happiness and fulfillment in being "just a mom."
Now, I was in the corner of the room playing with Vincent as he opened and closed a toy mailbox. I was cringing the entire time, 'cause I just knew where this conversation was leading. I kept tossing glances over at John, praying he wasn't paying attention as these women openly discussed - with horror and disdain - the idea of multiple children. Considering he's already gun-shy regarding more children, this sort of talk is NOT something that'd alleviate his fears. Plus, it made me angry that they were trying to convince this new mother that it was all downhill from where she was currently at.
Luckily, we were called back before I was forced to endure more of that wretched conversation. As I passed the young mother, I said, "He's adorable... I have no doubt you'll be blessed with others who are just as beautiful and content. It's all in how you parent, and considering his disposition, you've got quite the knack."
Ugh - again... what is wrong with our culture that we openly despise the gift of children? That's it considered humorous or "in vogue" to look upon children as horrid little monsters who suck away independence and vitality? We are, indeed, a selfish, selfish culture. Our poor children.