I couldn’t write a list of all the things that a mother does…the list would never end and I’d be writing for days.  There are the mundane things when a baby is born; changing diapers; carefully tending to raw rear ends from diaper rash; getting up in the middle of the night to feed and burp and soothe; reading stories at bedtime; cooing and talking baby talk; running to the doctor’s office for ear infections, colds, chicken pox and everything in between.  A mother is a nurse, a babysitter…the total caregiver in every sense of the word and on call twenty-four hours, seven days a week.

When they are a little bit older you can add these things to the list:  There’s potty training; teaching social skills and manners; teaching them how to spell and count; playing games or doing anything to entertain them.  A mom is a teacher.

When your children are school age your life centers on more societal aspects of their lives:  will they fit in; who will their friends be; will they be treated right; will they adapt to new things; homework; taking the bus; after school activities; social life.  A mom takes on the task of the advocate or the fixer.

Once ensconced in the everyday life of a teenager a mother these days does a fair bit of worrying:  what kind of a driver will they be; how will I let them get in a car with someone else driving; will they get into drugs or alcohol; are they being bullied; will they do well enough in school to get into college; are they happy?  A mom has to be a driving teacher, an enforcer of rules, a guidance counselor, a college recruiter, a great listener, a giver of advice (only if asked), a barometer.

Fast forward.  Your children graduate college.  They leave home.  Your house is empty.  All these jobs you’ve been doing for over twenty years are no longer a part of your life.  You are supposed to adapt quickly when the rug has been pulled right out from underneath you, when your emotions are at their rawest. 

You are supposed to be happy; this is what you have worked so hard for!  For their independence, good work ethic, intelligence, amiability, freedom! AND YOU ARE HAPPY! 

But, there is also sadness…the sadness that comes from losing your job, a job that meant more to you than anything in the world…and the sadness that comes from missing those special cuddles when they were small and only needed you; when they sat on your lap and listened with rapt attention to everything you said; when their world was only you.

No one said it would be easy and it certainly isn’t.  But, that’s what a mother does.