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Let’s Hear it for Parenthood

May 12, 2021

Another Way for week of April 30, 2021

(Editor’s Note: Seventh in an eight-week series on “Let’s Hear It.”)

A few days ago, I reminded my husband, “Forty years ago today I went into labor.” It was our first baby and the labor was extra easy, about six hours total. And later we went through two additional labors, much longer and more intense, but there is something about the first time that initiates you and makes the memories stand out as pillars in your life.

Forty years ago I had planned to have lunch with a coworker that day. My husband and I both remember that lunch keenly because I had garlic, and he did not—he ate his regular packed PB&J at the warehouse where he worked. Evelyn and I indulged in something Chinese. When I went into labor that evening, husband told me later: next time, please don’t have Chinese food for lunch. As if that was the major hard thing anyone was enduring that evening. But I did apologize. After losing my lovely lunch.

Our first born, four days old.

I wouldn’t trade the experience of parenthood for anything and it only gets better with grandparenting. I know grandparents who are raising a second generation who would perhaps argue with that, but the love and commitment and energy they share at this older stage of life with their young’uns is nothing short of amazing, with its own rewards. These little ones bask in the love and attention the grandparents shower.

And the love goes both ways. A friend of mine, Sara Wenger Shenk, shared this precious story in her new book, Tongue-Tied: Learning the Lost Art of Talking About Faith.

New book by Sara Wenger Shenk, a college friend.

This experience happened before the Covid pandemic: “My husband and I visited the church where our two-year old grandson attends with his family. In the foyer when he spotted us, he shrieked with delight, danced a little jig, flinging his arms wide, and made a dash for his grandpa’s arms. He beamed from head to toe. Everyone who watched him glowing in his grandfather’s arms saw the radiance of pure love.” A lot of us have now been vaccinated twice and are once again enjoying hugs from our little ones.

In my experience, being a parent teaches us about love, patience, understanding, glee, sacrifice, hard work, the nature of pain, courage, stick-to-itiveness, and what our own parents taught us (if we were among the lucky ones with good or great parents).

Back to the forty-year-old daughter. Does it stop me in my tracks realizing her age makes me pretty old? Of course. Does it make me ponder what’s ahead? Of course. My mother’s own situation (and gratitude that we still have her) also jerks me into the reality of knowing my husband and I won’t be on this earth forever.

Young parents.

What a wonderful gift God gave us through families! Parents are meant to nurture, shape, raise, and influence the next generations. No one said the job is easy. There are always conflicts, different ways of viewing the world because of the different generations we’ve grown up in, different values and goals. And there have always been political conflicts in families—think of the wars that have split families before even donning a uniform or choosing a path different than your parents did. The pandemic of the past year and months has caused many family conflicts too.

But the God of love showers us with energy and compassion and good will and hopefully wisdom, even when we disagree on paths. May we continue to do our best with whatever children and grandchildren and even great grandchildren come our way.

Labor stories?

The best parenting advice you ever received? Or the worst? We’d love to hear!

***

Working, mothering, and other "minor" dilemmas: An inspirational guidebook for raising kids while working in and out of the home Hardcover
Enter giveaway for a paperback version of this book, first published in 1984

This month I’m giving away two copies of one of my early books, Working, Mothering, and other “Minor” Dilemmas. Enter your name by email at anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com or the Another Way Newspaper Column Facebook page. Or send to Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834 postmarked before May 20, 2021.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.  

2 Comments
  1. Thanks for sharing a precious memory. I loved being a Mom and now a Nana, as you do.

    My labor story? Crista Joy arrived a week early, on the day husband/father was to sing “Comfort Ye, my People” with a church group presenting an excerpt from Handel’s Messiah just before Christmas. He was all set to take off for his tenor solo, when I felt a pain. . . then another. In short, he never attended the recital. Instead our Christmas present came early. On admission to labor & delivery, the doctor remarked, “You won’t have the baby until the evening. It’s your first baby.” He then disappeared, leaving me to have my firstborn without the aid of meds or other attention–after only 3 hours of labor.

    We received an early Christmas gift, which explains her name, and a tax deduction too!

  2. I like the way you played on the Christmas theme with your name for your first born–without burdening her with a literal name of Christmas like some have done! Wow, you did whiz through, how nice, even though it interfered with the recital. The doctor was late to my sister Pert’s birth too–not sure if they used meds on Mom. My daughter enjoyed reading the Chinese lunch story, she claims never having heard it. 🙂 You and I were both lucky to have quick labors first time out. Blessings and thanks for sharing your story!

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