“I’m pregnant.” Words that bring joy to all, especially to grandparents.

And so it begins, Motherhood, a time of wonderful ignorant bliss for the first timers. We have all been at this starting point where we thought our beautiful little infants would sleep, eat, smile, sleep again, etc. but this is not reality. We did not understand that with the arrival of our baby, comes the departure of sleep. This is further compounded if a second child follows within the next couple of years. Mothers look over at the snoring fathers as they once again crawl out of bed to attend to their babies. Sleep to moms is as elusive as finding the holy grail.

The toddler stage arrives in the wink of an eye. I was in awe at how much knowledge these little human sponges soaked up. They are developing their personalities. They are becoming little people. But there is a downside that would try even the patience of Mother Teresa. Your two-year-old develops ‘attitude’. Tantrums, unruly conduct, kicking, biting, etc. become the behaviour of the day. For the mothers, patience, strength of will, belief in God, maybe even a little wine, help get you through this time. I still marvel at the fact that both my son and I lived through this period.

By the age of five or for some maybe even younger, mothers add taxi driver to their list of occupations. Swimming lessons, gymnastics, skating lessons, birthday parties, etc. become part of the family program for the next several years. Mothers become excellent time schedulers as they learn to juggle work and family life to accommodate the social lives of their children. Suppers are served on the fly. In my day, there were no options on what the kids ate. Well, that is not totally true. The choice was simple – “eat it or leave it,” followed by my favourite comment, “I’m not running a restaurant here.”

All mothers, from day one, are cursed with the ‘worry’ emotion, and this feeling is always lurking in the background. Too many times I have sat on pins and needles as I nervously watched my children perform in activities. Only after the event was over, could I relax. You experience their wins and you feel their losses maybe even more so than they do. Your heart bursts with pride for all their achievements and your heart breaks as you share their disappointments. That is just part of the mom territory.

Then before you know it, your children are young adults and you thank God that you didn’t totally screw up this job. They are no longer at home under your care and watchful eye but you will always be their mother. You observe these independent kids launch a career and begin a new life with a partner. You happily expand your mother’s role to include their mates. Your family is growing and you are so grateful for the happiness this brings.

Grandchildren enter the picture and now another calling opens up for you, that of being a grandmother. This is a wonderful, calmer career. You do not have the responsibility of raising them. You just enjoy having them in your life. Afterall, God’s gift to seniors is grandchildren. And so, the cycle continues.

What does a mother give her children? A mother offers unconditional love, encourages and supports them, fights for them, guides them, listens to them, is patient with them, laughs and cries with them and always has time for them. A mother is all this and so much more.

What do children give their mothers? Our children are a source of joy and happiness right from the day they are born. Their love and respect see us through both the good and the difficult times in our lives. They give us a reason, a purpose in life to try to be the best that we can be. Through their eyes, we see all the possibilities life has to offer. They give us grandkids! As we get older, they start to help us by taking on some of the responsibilities we did for them when they were young. They fight for us, they look out for us, they listen to us, they are patient with us, they laugh and cry with us and hopefully they will always have time for us.

So, on behalf of all mothers, I thank our children for giving us this incredible role to play. It is an amazing journey. There is no other job more significant in the whole world than that of being a parent and yet there is no manual, no formal training for this position. To our children, we, your mothers, are doing the best that we know how.