THE GREATEST REWARD, MY SONS

As a young wife and mother,

I wanted nothing more than to have children,

and to be there, for them, as they grew up.

I thought that  having newborn babies was

the greatest reward–

but then they became toddlers and I thought

this was the greatest reward–watching them

learn to speak and eat by themselves and

discovering all that life has to offer.

Then they became youngsters going off to school,

learning how to read and write,

and do multiplication tables–

and I thought this was the greatest reward,

as I became involved with their school and became friends

with some of the teachers,

and was a volunteer in their classrooms.

I taught my son, Steve, how to play Scrabble and

took them to book stores and thrift shops

to look for books.

I took all four of them on vacation trips to Ohio

to spend summers with my parents,

and boasted proudly that I could travel

with ease with all of them–including twice

on a Greyhound bus across country.

Then they became older boys and I thought

this was the greatest reward,

because we bought a camper and started

going camping with them.

Then they became young men and I thought

this was the greatest reward as they brought

girls home to meet their mother.

Then they were truly men, with wives

and children of their own–and yes,

I knew that this was the greatest reward,

for now there were grandchildren to love

and share my life with–

so, perhaps, in retrospect–it wasn’t any one

single period of time that was the greatest reward–

perhaps it was being able to recognize

that each stage in their lives

was the greatest reward.

 

Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted May 9, 2009

Updated October 7, 2018

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