Hands On Learning – Experience Not Required

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

This is the very first picture of me as a mother. I was very young. Seventeen. But I loved that baby from the first moment I knew I was expecting even though it meant my life was going to drastically change. My girlhood days would come to an end and I would have to be an adult. A mother. 

I didn’t know anything about being the mother of a baby. I knew my mother. She was a wonderful mother to me, but I was the baby of the family. So while I was fascinated with babies, I had rarely held a baby before my own baby was born. My older sister had a baby a little over a year before I did, but her baby was a mama’s girl and didn’t take to other people holding her. So I had mostly smiled and played with her without picking her up. I was afraid I wouldn’t know what to do if she cried. Actually, I do know what I would have done if she cried. I would have handed her off to her mother or my mother.

But suddenly (9 months can feel sudden sometimes) I was a mother. A baby boy was dependent on me for care. I had to hold him and keep him fed and dry and smiling if I could. I had to rock him through stuffy noses and teething and nights when he wouldn’t sleep. Besides that, I had to put meals on the table and keep our old farmhouse relatively clean. I had to wash clothes and diapers and try to figure out how to treat diaper rash.

The one thing I didn’t have to figure out was how to love him. That was with my whole heart. And somehow I stumbled along and with the help of my husband and my mother who was always ready with the answers I needed about what a mother should do, I managed to raise a wonderful son. Not quite two years later, my daughter came along and then some years after than, my youngest son. By then, I felt like an old hand at being a mom. 

But the first baby, it was all hands on learning. In spite of my inexperience, he turned out all right. Well, better than all right. He was a wonderful son and still is. Now he’s a great husband and father too. Here we are probably when he was a senior in high school.

You know what got me through. Mother love. Mine for him and my mother’s for me because she was always ready to help. She never said I was too young although she probably thought it. She was my rock when I needed someone to lean on. I treasure the days we spent together when my kids were little. A good time for me. A good time for them. A good time for Mom. And she loved my grandkids too. Here she is with my two oldest grandkids about twelve years ago.
Mom doesn’t remember those times now. But I believe they are still part of her and at times the echoes of their happiness brings a smile to her face even if she can’t remember what is being echoed in her heart. 

I put this quote I really liked in our church bulletin today. “My mom is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune.” (Graycie Harmon)

That’s Mom – remembering the tune of a loving mother even though she has forgotten the words. 

Did you know all about babies when you first became a mother? Or were you like me and had to learn on the motherhood job?