I guess being in my mid forties allows me to have many thoughts to share. This journey I’ve been on has brought many life lessons as well as teachers to travel with me. Being a mother to three sons, it seems that life has given me hands-on teaching experience as well as learning experiences! Others have also experienced some of the lessons I’ve picked up along the way, which has been helpful since mothering doesn’t come with a manual. My thought is that life should come with a manual, and they should send it home with the babies when leaving the hospital nursery!
Being in my mid forties, when I brought my first son home in 1982, someone had gifted me a box of baby bottles. Little did I know (at seventeen), glass bottles with a baby was just a bad idea! One morning my son was at the age when he could hold his bottle up fine to feed, so I handed him his bottle and went out of the nursery. A few moments later when I returned to the room, he was covered in blood, his crib was covered in blood, and I had no idea what happened. I quickly picked him up to inspect what had happened, and apparently, he had cut his little finger on the bottle. Who would’ve thought that he was strong enough to bang the bottle against the baby crib (which years later this same crib would be pulled off the market and labeled unsafe). After cleaning Joey up and throwing away the bed linens, I immediately threw away every glass bottle in the house! The whole learning experience could have been so much worse. Plastic bottles replaced all the glass and I chalked it up as a learning experience for my nonexistent life manual for future children.
Two years later I had my second child, Terah Elizabeth. She was happy and healthy for three months until she died suddenly in my husband’s arms of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). I had no reference for this in my nonexistent life manual. All I knew at the time is my baby was happy and healthy. She had her shots the day she died, and her ears pierced and was given a clean bill of health. Then several hours later, she was dead. At this point, I was twenty years old and had no point of reference for such a trauma. I’d made it through two years of raising Joey with few incidents since the glass bottle, here I was facing having to bury my infant. I was able to find support groups and talk through the pain with friends and family and go on. It was painful taking down her nursery and packing everything away, including the dreams I had for her life already planned in my head. I recall feeling so old, and reading the old journal entry, I had written, “here I am twenty and feel forty,” which back then to me seemed ancient …
I went on to have two more sons after Terah. Both lived, both are fine young men today. What I’ve learned in my life so far is that we plan everything out in our mind about how life will go, and then plans suddenly change without warning. I learned that life should come with a manual and I guess our life experiences allow us to write it as we go and then share that wisdom with others!