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May 10, 2014

ALICIA MORGAN: Today, let’s celebrate the rewards

TERRE HAUTE — “The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.”

— Indian spiritual leader, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho)

Mother’s Day is not about mothers at all.

Sure, it’s a day when we honor our moms by recognizing their daily sacrifices. But without having someone to sacrifice for, there would be no Mother’s Day.

In fact, I bet if you asked most mothers what makes today so special, they would reply, “my children.”

As soon as a baby is born, so is a mother. And just like that baby, the mother grows and learns right alongside her child.

She learns patience isn’t optional, understanding comes with the territory and that you can spend insane amounts of time worrying about another human’s well-being.

From the moment you realize you’ll be a parent, nothing is about you anymore. You are a part of something bigger, and you have a new sense of purpose. You are driven to help your child succeed, become a little person and then grow into an adult. You do your best to make sure that when they get there, they will make the right decisions and be motivated by the right reasons.

While having lunch with a friend, she asked that I name 10 benefits to having children. I knew they existed — far more than 10 of them — but I couldn’t quite come up with a list, at least not right then.

The long-term benefits to being a mom are definitely difficult to see at first. After all, you’re in the midst of teaching the basics of life. You’re too busy trying to figure it out or accept that you will never have it figured out. You’re consumed by first steps and sippy cups, “terrible 2s” and potty training, so immersed in getting through the stages as they hit you, one after another. There isn’t a lot of instant gratification, just a lot of hard work. But at some point, those rewards start rolling into our lives and our hearts.

They emerge as small victories at first. They come randomly while watching your child grow as a result of that hard work. You see him use the potty (without making a mess), make the right decision without urging, or care for another person before thinking of himself. Then you realize those bits of wisdom you’ve been doling out have been seeping into his conscience, and values are being established.

Experiencing that up close, being right in the middle of it, ironically, is where the best rewards can be found. Through wins and losses, you learn to love unconditionally, develop a level of patience you never knew was possible, and establish a bond that is one of the strongest ever felt.

All mothers should celebrate those rewards today. From lessons we have learned to the small and large accomplishments of our children, each of us will have unique blessings to count.

Today, I will do my best to look at the world through the eyes of my two boys, ages 5 and 1, and strive to see what they see in the brilliant yellow blossom of a dandelion. I will find joy as I watch them investigate what’s crawling around in the dirt and how the grass feels in their hands and under their feet. I will listen as they giggle, and be ready when they come running to me with smiles on their faces and stories to tell. I will share in my own parents’ joy of their grandchildren’s exuberance and youth.

And I will let out a deep sigh of contentment when we climb into bed at the end of the day for story time. There’s truly no other place I’d rather be, and when I see this is also true for them, I receive the best gift of all.

Alicia Morgan can be reached at 812-231-4298 or at Alicia.morgan@trib

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