A pretty, petite woman stepped out of the crowd to introduce herself to me recently, and with that came a lovely surprise. I was working the Mid-South Baby Expo when I met, or I should say re-met, Josiah Crutchfield’s mother.
“I don’t know if you remember me,” she said, smiling, “but my son, Josaih, was on the cover of your magazine back when he was 6.” I smiled politely; we’ve produced more than 120 covers over the years, after all.
But then I remembered the handsome little boy she described, sitting smartly at attention with a confident smile on his face.
“Well,” she continued, “I wanted to tell you that he’s 12 now and I still read your magazine.”
Her comment rocked my world.
Seven years later, she still finds the information we gather each month relevant to her life. That’s the kind of news an editor loves to hear. Thinking of her comment made me realize that I’ve been editing this magazine long enough to have seen an entire generation of children grow up.
It’s true. I took over as editor when my son was 4. Back in July 1999, he was just getting ready to go off to preschool. This year, Evan celebrated his 17th birthday, and this fall, starts his senior year of high school.
To mark his special day, I created a bulletin board of snapshots taken over the course of his life — a wonderful montage of family and friends. As I assembled those images into a collective whole, I must admit, I cried just a little. It's scary to realize how quickly time passes.
Of course, it doesn’t feel like that when you’re in the thick of the child-bearing years. The day-to-day messiness of raising kids can be rewarding and sweet, but can also leave you feeling frazzled and even confused at times. I’ve written about those instances over the years. And hearing back from you has helped me feel so much better as a mom. Just knowing that other parents are sharing this journey with me makes the travel lighter.
So as we talked about ideas for this May issue, I liked the notion of arriving at a single word that best summed up our own journeys as mothers. I know it’s not easy to arrive at just one word, but I'll bet something comes to mind. When I sought to claim my word, I settled on Discovery. Because I have discovered so much — about myself and what it means to be human — as I’ve raised my boy.
I’ve discovered what it means to love someone completely, and how that love embodies so many facets, like forgiveness and compassion, generosity and care. Raising a son helped me rediscovered the tomboy I thought I’d left behind when he was younger. And the teen years have led to rediscovering my own independence, and taught me how to loosen the ties that bind me to him, so that my son can walk more independently of me. Overall, motherhood has been a journey like no other, and I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything in the world.
So give yourself a gift this month, and consider your word. What has raising children meant to you? Cherish is the word.