I’ve thought quite a bit about this topic, and hope that I can write it without sounding shrill or dramatic. (Well, overly dramatic, anyway.) I’ve thought, and wondered, and come to a depressing conclusion.
I’ve wondered for a while now about how I am viewed by those lovely young Moms with babies and toddlers in their arms.
For twenty four years I have felt myself to be a part of that very special club of Mommies. I have been comfortable and secure, happy to chat about labor, delivery, diaper rash, baby sitters, breastfeeding, kindergarten, school sports, first crushes and late nights. I have considered myself to be something of an expert on any and all of these subjects, and always assumed that the other Mommies in the group were hanging on my every word. After all, I listened raptly to their stories of sibling fights and strep throats, didn’t I? We all shared our Momminess and felt special.
Recently, though, I have noticed that when I am admiring a newborn, or asking about a pregnancy, the young woman, no matter how well I know her, gets a slightly vacant look on her face as soon as I start one of my “I remember when……” stories. She will sort of nod, and almost smile, but she won’t ever ask a question or make a comment back. These new Mommies don’t seem to be particularly interested in what wisdom I have to share, and that has left me feeling a little sad and a little confused.
And then a few weeks ago, I was reminiscing about the days when my kids were little ones. And I remembered what it was like, at the tender onset of my Mothering life, when an “older” woman wanted to talk about her own experiences. One memory in particular came back to me. I was talking with a colleague whose children at the time were about 10 and 12. I was expressing my concerns about my son with severe asthma, and about the medications and worries and allergies. She started to tell me about her own son, who had gone through the same things, and I thought to myself, “What does she know about any of this? Her kids were babies AGES ago!” I distinctly remember thinking that everything she knew had to be completely outdated and useless. I paid absolutely no attention to any of her advice or input, although I would like to think that I smiled and nodded as she talked.
So here I am, older now than my “outdated” friend. And I realize that my memories are of a time that feels so close to me, a time that feels like just months ago, when my babies were new. But those memories have no relevance to anyone who is living that joyful, stressful time right now. Twenty fours years is, well, a lifetime. The torch has been passed to a new crop of beautiful young Mommies. My job is look on from the outside as they share their stories, and to complement them, admire their children, and use these moments to touch my sweetest memories once again.