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Happy Mother’s Day!

How fast those early years go by! Donna with a-few-months-old Bethany and her “big” brother Garrett.

I really didn’t understand until after I brought home my second baby.

At 6lbs, 4 oz, she was the tiniest being I had ever handled. Right after delivery the doctor placed her in my arms. She winked open her eyes, looking a lot like a kitten getting a first peek at the world. And the squeaky noises she made sounded more like meows than human cries. When she settled her ear against my chest, she calmed instantly to the sound of my heartbeat.

Here’s a message from Fisher Price we enjoyed that celebrates the love mothers share.

That lasted for about the first four weeks. Then something changed. It was like she suddenly really woke up. Although she was still very tiny, she filled her lungs to their maximum capacity and began to bawl. It was hard to believe anything that size could make so much noise! And it wouldn’t stop. Nursing, cuddling, bathing, and nursing again… nothing made her quiet.

The doctor called it colic. That is a non-descript diagnosis for a non-descript reason why a baby cries incessantly. While theories about gas pains or indigestion abound, the only cure for the condition is time. Not hours or days. More like months, maybe a year.

For a new mother, there is nothing more distressing than the sound of her baby crying. For every one else there is nothing more annoying. I tried everything I could think of: walking, rocking, burping, feeding, begging her to stop, even breaking down in tears myself. Her father took his turn as well so I could catch a few moments of sleep, even though he wasn’t getting much shuteye either with the waling that seemed to go on 24 hours a day. Her older brother also tried to help by bringing her toys—and then hitting her with them.

And that is when I began to comprehend something I never had before.  You see, I too am a second child, and I too had colic. I called my mom, and for the first time expressed my true sympathy for her and my gratitude for all she had done. With all the love in her heart, she commiserated with my situation and offered her unfailing support once again.

What is it that makes a mother a bottomless well of long-suffering for her children? Where does she get the strength to endure the many sleepless hours her offspring will put her through—both as infants and later as teenagers? My mom tells me the secret is found in the joy she received watching me grow, developing my inner potential and becoming a wife and mother myself.

It took another twenty years for me to really comprehend that answer. But I am beginning to see it as I watch my own children maturing into amazing adults. She is right. It is worth all it costs to have the privilege of being part of their lives—then, now and forever.I really didn’t understand until after I brought home my second baby.

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