There are moments, tiny fraction of a second moments, that punctuate changes in our lives. I can clearly remember three such moments.
The first was shortly after I married. I married before meeting my in-laws. It wasn’t my idea but I went along with it. We married, in September and three weeks later we headed for my in laws’s. The meeting went well and I felt welcomed to the family. During that weekend we all went to dinner together. My father-in-law was a well known and well respected businessman in their town so wherever we went, there were people that came to say hello and pay their respects. That day when we went to dinner, one woman came up as we were about to leave. My mother-in-law introduced me as her new daughter-in-law. The woman shook hands with me and said she was happy to meet me and called me “Seňora”. I was shocked. A “seňora” had always been someone else to me, someone old, not me. But she was right. Technically, that’s exactly what I was, a married woman. I must have turned white. I felt like fainting. Just for a moment. Then I smiled as I realized that this was truly my newly acquired status.
The second moment was wordless. It was the moment I first felt my child move inside of me. That was an exhilarating, and awe inspiring moment. I was a mother. Even though I didn’t have my child in my arms, I had a child inside of me and I was a mother. That moment ushered in the newest and longest phase of my life.
And the third. As I sat with my daughter in the labor and delivery room, the hospital staff fussing over my daughter, and the rest of us and making sure we were all comfortable, one of the nurses said something to the effect that she would get us all some cold drinks as soon as she made “Mom” comfortable. I thought just for a second that it was unusual for her to want to make me comfortable before my daughter. Then I realized that for the first time in my life and my daughter’s life, the mom in the room was my daughter. I was “grandma”. And just like that I realized that time was passing “my” status as a mother to my own child and that I was entering a new phase in my life.
These are the moments that have punctuated my life and the most important phases and roles in it. They change from time to time and sometimes life has to gently tap us on the shoulder and ask us to move over as we go from one stage to another.