While resting in a hospital bed after giving birth to my tenth child, I answered a phone call from my oldest daughter.
“Mom,” April gulped, “my back hurts and I can’t walk.”
“Some people feel labor pains that way, “I answered. “Better get over here and get checked.”
“But what if it isn’t labor after all?” my daughter answered. “I don’t want to go to the hospital and have those guys send me home.”
Now I know most mothers and daughters don’t go into labor that close together but that is exactly what happened to April and me. A few minutes and pain pills later, I was in the labor room again, only this time coaching instead of pushing.
I became a new mother for the last time and a new grandmother for the first time so close together it left me panting. My husband and I used to watch our young children growing up and sentimentally lament, “Boy I hope it won’t be too long between the time we have our last child and when our first grandchild is born.” Little did we know.
Experiencing pregnancy, childbirth and new motherhood along with my daughter felt like a mystical linking of generations one moment and a medical experiment gone mad the next. My daughter and I raced each other for the bathroom, craved the same frozen yogurt and kept each other company in the waiting room at the obstetrician’s office. Everybody we met asked us if we’d seen the movie “Father of the Bride Part Two.” Talk about a crazy way to bond.
Yet the moment I saw my grandson enter the word, I was awe struck and euphoric. It was like singing, dancing and flying without leaving the ground. The circle of life, love and family didn’t end! My baby was having her baby.
There in that labor room as I stroked my daughter’s moist forehead, I realized in the most tender sort of way that everything I’d done as her mother for the past twenty-four years was worth it . . . absolutely everything. Every single moment I’d chosen to spend caring for my child was far more important than anything else I’d determined to do with my life. As I watched my first grandchild enter this world, I knew my part in the creation and development of his mother was my life’s most important work. I understood the whole purpose of this life was bringing down children from God and helping them find their way back to Him.
Before that moment, I simply could not begin to comprehend the importance of loving someone. It occurred to me that a thousand years from now, my babies would still be rocking their babies and the miracle of life of love and love would go on forever. I also understood that taking part in the creation and development of another human being was the greatest way to give birth to my own best life. I’d never even imagined I could feel so much joy.
Now when I see an exhausted and discouraged mother, I pat them on the back and whisper, “It matters. Everything you are doing for your family matters – so much more than you know.”