I’ve been so blessed in my life to have such a strong and wonderful mother. Growing up, my mom modeled what it meant to truly put others before yourself and what true joy, dedication and commitment looks like.
While my relationship with my own mother has changed – I have a wife to cling to now in my most vulnerable times – I am continually impressed with how so much of who I am as a person has been shaped by my mom’s influence.
For the past eight years I have gotten to see my mother through a different perspective as she’s become a grandmother to my niece, Ella, and my nephew, Ezra. But on October 14, I got to see my mom and motherhood in an even different light when our son, Owen, introduced himself to the world.
Before Owen was born I knew there was no way to prepare myself or to understand what being a father would be like. I still don’t really know how to fully comprehend it, but I’ve discovered a whole new appreciation for my mom – particularly in her strength and relentless pursuit of ensuring that I had everything I needed to grow up a healthy and well-adjusted individual.
I’ve discovered this by observing my mom with my son but even more so in seeing Sara grow into her role as mom.
Those who have known Sara a long time aren’t surprised to see how nurturing and absolutely in love and attached she is to Owen. From the time she was little with her “babies,” through to college and grad school with the little ones she would watch, Sara has looked forward to the season in which we find ourselves.
I get emotional just trying to describe the love Sara has for our son. Seeing her face light up when she sees him after a long day at work says it all.
I like to say that being a dad is easy. We get to do a lot of the fun stuff and get credit and praised for everything we do. Being a mom on the other hand, particularly one as determined as Sara was to make breastfeeding work, involves a ton of work. There are late-night feedings and pumping, long breaks in the work day to pump, etc. And that’s not even talking about the birth.
Owen and I are truly the luckiest guys in the world to have Sara.
I am so humbled and grateful to have found a woman with the same passion and commitment of my own mother whose wisdom, love and experience (she is the queen of getting Owen to burp) has been invaluable in these first seven months of Owen’s life. I would be remiss to not mention the other mom in my life too, my mom-in-law, Deb. For the sacrifices she made raising Sara, for the many ways she modeled motherhood and for how she has loved and cared for me even through the struggles in our marriage, I will be forever grateful.
Happy Mother’s Day to the three moms in my life, Sara (Mama), Mama Ralph (Mo) and Mom-in-Law (Nona)! Owie and I love you so so so so much.
“Suddenly everything has changed.”
Our little boy, Owen, was born on Wednesday, October 14, at 9:06 a.m. at LifeCycle WomanCare in Bryn Mawr. He was so excited about celebrating his parents’ birthdays on the 7th and 13th he decided to come three weeks early, but he doesn’t like to be called a premie because he was 6 pounds, 14 ounces.
Words really can’t describe the change that instantly took place in my heart when I saw him take his first breath or the horror Sara and I both felt on that first night tripping over each other to check that he was still breathing.
We’ve both taken well so far to this parenting thing and are very much attached to Baby Owen – leaving him even to go to Giant has been so emotional. It’s all pretty wild, this little guy whose captured our hearts. I’m overwhelmed by the thought that my love for him is only a small window into what God’s love looks like and understand even better the love my parents have for me, my brothers(and their now three grandchildren.
I also know that this joy we feel is a stark contrast to the pain and sorrow others we know who have struggled to get pregnant, battled through health complications or have lost their babies have felt. My heart breaks for them as I’m reminded this morning of the lyrics to a Sara Groves song off her latest album – “These stretches of joy, these patches of sorrow. There’s enough for today; they’ll be enough tomorrow.”
The following is a piece I wrote for my mom’s surprise 60th birthday. My mom has since celebrated her 40th wedding anniversary with my dad. It’s been a year of milestones.
It was anything but a practical joke on April Fools Day in 1953 when Carla Mae Kent was born in Ramona, South Dakota. On any other April 1 it would have been cause for celebrating a birthday but on this particular day Carla crashed her mom’s birthday party with a birthday of her own.
I remember as a child celebrating one of the many joint birthdays my mom shared with my grandmother in South Dakota with a mother-daughter cake and thinking that was pretty much the coolest thing ever. That my mom and grandma were both born on April 1 was always something that separated my mom from the other kids’ moms.
Of course, it also meant that pranks were purely off limits. Pranks on my mom at least. As a kid my mom always made sure to get us with April Fools jokes, the one where she rushes into my bedroom on a Saturday morning yelling at me that I had overslept and was running late for school one that still burns me to this day.
That my mom is from a small town in South Dakota and that she was born on April Fools Day were two biographical features I loved telling people growing up and still love telling people about today because they are so unique but they don’t even begin to tell the story of my mom.
If you talk to people who have known my mom at various stages of her life, from her time as a young girl in Madison, South Dakota, to her days as a college student in Kansas and her life as a pastor’s wife that began in Ohio and her long career as an educator you will start to see a biographical pattern that is not so much unique or remarkable as it is consistent.
I often like to joke about my mom that even 40 years removed from the prairie, she’s still South Dakota to the core. She’s still skittish about driving in Philadelphia, buys her produce at farm stands, strikes up conversation with strangers at Target (or Terget as my grandmother would always say) and faithfully attends church several times a week singing the hymns with the same passion she sang when first learning the words at her small country church back home.