Mothering: a two part profession
Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 05:54PM



So I think I finally figured out this mothering thing.  I figured it out when I overheard something my son Teddy (I can still call him Teddy even if he is professionally now “Ted.”) on the phone to a friend.

 You see, there are actually two parts to this mothering thing.  The first one I am really good at—the holding in.  The second part—the letting go, not so much. 

 Now at the beginning, when he was a baby and then a toddler and then a little boy it was completely different.  My job then was to keep him healthy and safe, and happy.  That meant feeding him when he was hungry and holding him when he cried.  It meant getting really really angry when he tried to cross the street without looking. It meant sleeping at the hospital when he was two and had a severe stomach flu.  It meant obsessing over where he would go to school and who would be his friends.  It meant checking his homework. It also meant watching him play baseball and gasping when he got hit by a pitch or he fell down.

 Granted, I did get a little carried away.  But my job was to keep him healthy and safe and happy. So what if I checked the computer several times a day to see what grades were posted by his high school teachers? So what if I “happened” to drive through the Pomona College campus frequently when he was a student there?— So what if  when he didn’t return a text last year my friend and I put out an All Points Bulletin on Facebook?    So what if I complained to anyone who would listen and almost yelled at the coach who didn’t start him at third base for the last home game of his college baseball career?  

 That was my job as a mother.  And I was really good at that.  In fact, a friend and I were so pleased at how good we were we had a name for our jobs.  We were not “soccer moms.”  We were “stalker moms.”

 Unfortunately, that is only part of the job.

 The other part began gradually, so gradually I barely noticed it.  It might have been when long answers to my question “What did you do at school today,” became shorter:  “Stuff.” It might have been when I finally realized that if he and his dad got “intense” about his baseball they were both better off when I didn’t try to jump in the middle and fix it.  Maybe it was when he wrote his college essays without my help and selected his college quite on his own.

 All that time I should have known that my job was changing.  After all, he knew it. I should have known because there was the incredible moment when he told me.   He was about ten, I think. We were driving home from somewhere I can remember exactly where we were—on Towne Avenue just north of Foothill. I was talking about his weekend, how he and his dad had all sorts of great stuff to do together, including a special event at Angels stadium.  Pretending to be light hearted (but really being a little envy hearted) I asked him my big question:  “So you are getting an awful lot of dad time.  What about me?  Don’t I get some mom time?”  He looked at me with a bit of a puzzle on his face.   “But mom,’ he said, “We’re friends.”

 That was the beginning of my ending and the beginning of his beginning.   Because that’s  the part of this mothering thing which seemed almost harder than keeping him healthy and  safe and  happy.  That’s  the part of this mothering thing when I send him into the world instead of protecting him from the world.  It is the part when I ask him for advice, instead of giving him advice. 

 And though it has been going on for a while, I didn’t figure it all out until the other night.  In fact I didn’t realize I actually had been doing the hard part of the job all along.  Because when he was talking on the phone to his friend I heard him say  ‘I’ll call you back later.  I’m at my Mom’s house.”

 So there it is.  All grown up.  A life of his own.  A home of his own. 

 But guess what—he will always have a mom of his own too.  

 For some loves, mother love and God’s love, are simply .everlasting! 







Article originally appeared on Pilgrim Church Pomona (
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