Anna Quindlen on Motherhood

I’m not one to share quotes but reading the ever-wise Anna Quinlen’s thoughts on motherhood (coupled with the fact that my baby is turning one) has me hanging on to the sweet days of babyhood!

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“Oh, I loved having babies. The smell, the feel, the … well, I liked the stupidity of them. The way they grabbed their own feet and then looked perplexed at the fact that they somehow felt it in their bodies. The way they’d be entranced by sunlight or ringing phones or the thrum of the dishwasher. There’s a popular YouTube video that shows a baby in near-hysterical laughter because someone is tearing up a piece of paper. That’s babies all over. Why paper? Why tearing? Who knows?”

**

“The biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three on them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4, and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in a hurry to get on to the next things: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.”

**

“The great motherhood friendships are the ones in which two women can admit [how difficult mothering is] quietly to each other, over cups of tea at a table sticky with spilled apple juice and littered with markers without tops.”

**

“I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.”

**

“Your children make it impossible to regret your past. They’re its finest fruits. Sometimes the only ones.”

**

“When children are small, parents should run their lives and not the other way around.”

**

“Even today I’m not sure what worked and what didn’t, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I’d done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That’s what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.”

 

One response

  1. So eloquently put! Such an honest & heartfelt perspective … as a grandmother now I begin to reap
    the hoped for and surprising kudos from my three! And what love I feel when I see them parenting their children…as I gingerly become Yaya to those precious new lives.

    Now, I hopefully have more wisdom, more playfulness, time to muster up more presence! All of us mothers carry with us that search for how we could have made more quality time. But you said it so well – that they do manage themselves to become who they were meant to be! We mothers are all so blessed to have experienced the joys, the hurts, the miracles in being human!

    Love your blog!

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