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Freeze Frame

by Julia Sneden

Mothers' Day was great. My sons came through, one after another: a funny card from the youngest; an early-morning phone call from the Californian; an afternoon visit from the eldest, bearing two pots of chrysanthemums, one for me and one for his grandmother.  I'm a bit embarrassed to be so pleased.
       There have been years when one or all of the boys ignored Mothers' Day, scorning it as a "Hallmark Holiday"; or perhaps they were busy with exams or term papers, or merely caught up in the self-absorption of the young. I truly didn't mind that, because I never felt the need of a special day for celebration.  Motherhood is, after all, its own reward. And as some wit once said, it's the only job that - if you do it right - self-destructs. Maybe I didn't do it right, but I had a good time. Mostly. 
       Aside from a general delight in being a mother, I have memories of special moments in the development of each of my sons. They are like freeze-frame moments from a film.

  • John's first big question, age about two: We stood at the window after a night sleepless from croup. "oh," I said, "the sun is rising."

          "Why?" he asked. Try to figure a fast, simple answer to that one. I think I said: "Because that's what it does."

  • William's first steps: who could have guessed that a 9-month-old would throw both arms in the air and run, not walk, not just a step or two, but clear across the living room and into his father's arms?

  • Rob sat in his aunt's lap as she read a magazine: "Look!", he said, reading from an advertisement. "'Fabulous Fake Diamond Ring!' Why don't you get one of those, Aunt Sally?" He hadn't even started kindergarten yet.

          I have long since come to terms with the fact that while there will continue to be developmental milestones in my grown sons' lives, I won't be privy to them, or even if I am, few will be as endearing as those very first firsts. But now that I'm a grandmother, I have discovered a whole new chapter.
         One day when I was visiting my granddaughters and their parents, I lay on the living room couch, just exhausted from a morning spent going through boxes and boxes of my late father's stuff. The 18-month-old, who was playing nearby, suddenly decided to check out what her mother was doing in the kitchen. En route, she made a quick detour to the sofa, planted a huge, wet, sloppy kiss right on my mouth, and trotted on. 
       It wasn't her first kiss, nor even the first we had shared ("Give Grandma a kiss goodnight" her parents tell her, and she sweetly obeys). But this one was unsolicited and unexpected, silently given, silently received, straight from the heart. Perfection. And the sweetest moment I've had in a long, long time.



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