MOTHER MONDAYS: THE FINAL INSTALLMENT: LABOR DAY
Then we thought—the holiday is Labor Day—what better day to write about Moms—Whether or not you are like yours, the final step in becoming a mom starts with labor – although we hope something a little more fun transpired nine months prior to the big L (Not to forget adoptive moms, for whom the first step is opening their hearts). But the tales of labor are, and have always been the stuff of legend-whether the hours spent were magically brief or tortuously long, or the epithets and curses hurled at dads and nurses later brought profuse apologies, the stories of coming into the world become part of family history.
And since neither of us has children, we are at a distinct disadvantage here. So we asked Virginia’s sister, Valerie (who’s visiting from Buffalo for the holiday weekend) what she remembered most about her labor. “I literally saw double,” came tumbling out without a thought. It was followed closely by the story of how Matty, her cat, sensing that something was wrong with his “mom”, escorted her, one step at a time, stopping and going as she slowly progressed down the stairs—(Come to think of it, Matty was never too fond of Valerie’s son, Jordan.) When we explained we were trying to get a handle on our Labor Day Mother Monday she went on to say, “Mother’s don’t have Labor Day, they have a Labor Life.” She says she went into labor at 9AM and Jordan was born around 5PM “It was the most productive workday I’ve ever had.” So the labor that starts it all is just the beginning, a primer on what it’s going to take to raise a child—especially today—an unsubtle reminder that if you think this is tough, you ain’t seen nothing yet!
And despite all the challenges and hard work that comes with the job of being a mom (especially one who also holds down a “9 to 5”), Valerie says that Labor Day still is a bittersweet time. In New York the school year starts right after the holiday, so from the moment your child first goes off to kindergarten and their world expands beyond the one you’ve ordered for them, Labor Day is a marker of that separation. Virginia’s nephew, Valerie’s son, is now 19, and starting his junior year in college. Of course all the labor that went into getting him to almost adulthood wasn’t easy, but was so worth it.
We’ve only dealt with ways girls become like their mothers—so whether sons become like their mothers or look for a girl like (or unlike) dear old mom is a subject for another blog—someday. Maybe.
These are the last dozen of our signs that you are becoming your mother. Who knows—maybe we’ll come up with more one day. It’s been fun. We’ve enjoyed your comments—but don’t worry—we’re cooking up something new for Mondays!
70) Your kids birthdays make you feel older than your own.
71) The cute little smile lines at the corners of your mouth get longer. And they don't go away when you're not smiling.
72) You see a photo of your mother as a young woman, look past the funny clothes and hairdos, see the same sassy expression, the gleam in her eyes, you had at that age and wonder what she was thinking.
73) You see a photo of your mother as a young woman and realize she had more style than you do.
74) You realize that 4am bathroom trips are not optional.
75) You go into a room and scout out the high, straight-back chair so you don't have to scuffle to get out of the low-slung, cushy sofa.
76) You realize your toddler isn't the only one in your house who needs training pants.
77) Lycra and spandex are now used to suck in what you used to show off.
78) The thought of acting your age makes you shiver.
79) When the gadgets your kids take for granted still amaze you.
80) You have grown from a tiny acorn into a money tree for your own little saplings.
81) What other people think is less important than what you know.