Monday, March 22, 2010

The New Mrs. McMahon

A long, long time ago, when our family picture had only three little smiling preschooler faces I had a friend who loved my children nearly as much as I did. She was a valuable friend to have because her children were almost exactly eight years older than each of our children. It gave us a daily glimpse into what our not so distant future might look like.

When she was dealing with the struggles of beginning middle school and seeing high school on the horizon, we were just getting started in the elementary school thing. While their family dealt with pre-teen hormone swings we were studying second and third grade spelling words. It was interesting to watch how the parents of older kids coped and it made me appreciate the stages we were in, not a hundred percent confident that I could handle the older kid stuff.

After Jeff, Sandra was the first person I told when I found out I was finally pregnant with baby number four. She nearly flew out of her chair as we sat waiting for the PTA meeting to start. “A baby!?” she cried out, “We’re having a baby??” She was so involved in my life and my children’s lives, that she felt like she was the one having just one more.

It would help to know that Sandra was a baby person. Maybe that’s why I bonded with her so quickly when we first met. She is the only person on the planet I’ve ever met who understood how deeply I love all things baby. She had other life interests but when it came to her four kids, who would always be her babies, nothing else mattered. Her first and most important role in life was to be a mommy.

Through my whole pregnancy Sandra kept track of every milestone. The first flutters of movement and the first bouts of morning sickness were our constant topics of conversation as we chatted by our minivans at school pick up time. We pored over the ultrasound pictures until they were almost rubbed thin. When we found out our last child would be a boy, it led to weeks and weeks of baby name discussions.

When the third week of October brought productive labor pains we were all ready to meet this new family member. Just days after Sandra’s son, “Big Sam” turned 16, our little Sam arrived into the world.

He received much love from his own older siblings, but just as reliable were the daily kisses and tickles from his other mom, known to my children as Mrs. McMahon. She adored him so much that when we went to activities after school, if I put my toddling Sam down on the floor, he would stumble down the slick hallways to leap into the arms of his other mama.

It broke Sandra’s heart when we announced we would be moving to Washington D.C. and taking her extra son with us. She knew his little toddler memories would never retain the love and fun they had shared. But she knew it was best for our family, and ultimately any baby is blessed to be loved by extra moms, even if he never remembers it.

We keep in touch, through Christmas and birthday cards. I can’t believe her adorable children are all grown up into such amazing adults now and she can’t believe our big kids are now in high school and middle school. And of course she can’t get over how big her ‘second Sam’ has grown, year after year.

This story of my good friend Sandra comes to mind because I feel myself becoming the next Mrs. McMahon. In the past year I have been blessed with the addition of three new babies in my life. All were born last fall and two of them live right next door to me. This means I get to see them on a regular basis and will possibly see them even more as the weather warms up enough for lawn chair chats.

It has been a pure joy to meet these little people, hold their floppy heads as they were first introduced to our family, and now to see their bright smiles when I coo at them. I love spending time with them, as it reminds me so clearly of the time, so long ago, when our children were the ones just learning to sit up and hold a toy.

I’m at that in between stage, where the years of being the mom of a little person are over but the years of being the grandma to a little one are still years away. So these new extra babies have found a perfect fit in my life.

I suddenly understand, so clearly, what drew my friend Sandra to my baby boy. Her youngest was eight when my Sam was born. My Sam was eight when these new babies of mine were born last fall. It just seems right.

The pattern has come full circle and now it’s my turn to be the goo-ing extra mom. It’s my turn to provide love and support on a part time status. I am ready. It’s my turn.

It will be an honor to be the next Mrs. McMahon.


Terry said...

I know just how you feel. I am one of the old ones now. It's wonderful and kinda sad. I don't want to be done with all things baby! But in reality I probably don't have the energy.

Life goes so quickly.

Here's to Mrs. McMahon and the new Mrs. McMahon!

jennifer said...

Lovely post. We all need the Mrs. McMahons of the world in our lives.

By the way, I am so jealous, all my boys are teenagers and our only neighbors are empty nesters and bachelors.

I feel gypped!