There are numerous events I will remember for the rest of my life. There are the obvious ones. Graduating high school. Going to college. Graduating from college. My first job. Moving to Nashville. Grad school at Vanderbilt. Meeting Raj. Raj proposing. Marrying Raj. These are so many things I will never forget. Then, there is a whole other category of events I will not forget.
I remember when each of my nieces and nephew were born. I remember seeing Ryan’s naked body in the window of the nursery after he was born. Charles was such a proud daddy in the window that night. I remember when Rebecca Anne was born. Mom called and told me I needed to hurry to Athens, Ashley had gone to the hospital in labor and was about to deliver. I could not go straight to Athens. I had stuck myself with a dirty needle at the hospital the night before, and I had to go to employee health. When I finally did get to Athens, I got to see one of the most beautiful baby girls. Rebecca Anne had a head full of dark brown hair. She was so sweet hold. I got to sit and visit with Ashley and Charles, talking about their new princess. They have both grown up so quickly. I can’t believe Ryan is in middle school, and Rebecca Anne is in the third grade. I can’t believe how fast the time has flown.
Now Joy has started having her babies. I will never forget going to Waffle House to eat before Joy’s induction with EmmaClaire. The labor with EmmaClaire was so easy. It was such an honor for me to deliver her. That is something I will never forget. Then came Miss OletaKate. She was a little more drama than EmmaClaire. Joy had a much longer and harder labor with her. In fact, her labor dragged on until late in the night. I will never forget telling everyone OletaKate was a girl! It was so exciting. Joy could not believe it for the first few seconds. I had to tell her several times before she got it!
It seems like each of the kids should still be newborns. There is no way eleven years has passed since Ryan was born. It is wonderful how the family has grown and changed over the years. OletaKate is walking and talking. How did this happen?!
Today was a big day for EmmaClaire. Today, she started preschool. I can’t believe she is old enough to be going to school. Joy had the bittersweet job of taking her to school today. I know mom felt the same way as she sent each of us on a to new and exciting parts of our lives. I will always remember the story of mom going home and crying on my bed after she moved me into the dorm my freshman year in college. As the teenager, I was happily off to the wonderful new part of my life called college. My mom, on the other hand, was happy, sad, and nervous for me all at the same time.
Today was the first time I personally saw some one of my generation do the same thing mom did when I went to college…and assuredly many, many other times other times as we all grew up. Today, Joy called me crying after having dropped EmmaClaire at preschool. She said EmmaClaire happily hoped out of the car, told her mom she loved her, and bye. EmmaClaire went blissfully into a new, exciting chapter in her life without ever seeing Joy’s tears. Joy left crying with the knowledge her baby was no longer a baby. However, Joy gave EmmaClaire the gift of freedom to enjoy getting to experience preschool without any guilt or sadness. That is the greatest gift a mother can give her child.
I know mom experienced this more times than she could count. I remember Ashley struggling through these same events with her children. In fact, I bet she even experienced this same type of feeling as Ryan began middle school this year. Now, it is Joy’s turn to experience the mystery and magic of motherhood. It was an awe inspiring experience to be with Joy for a brief moment as she experienced one of the most magical and bittersweet moments of motherhood. Mom, Ashley, and Joy have each grown into stronger women as they have raised (or are still raising) their children. It is an honor to be a part of their family, and one day, be a part of that strong, gentle, wonderful group called moms.