Yes, interviewing your own mother takes at least two parts (not to mention a whole lot of gratitude for her willingness to participate). So here's mine... And thanks, Mom. I (literally) don't know where I'd be without you.
Which was (or has been) more challenging—the earlier years or post-teens?
"Definitely post-teens. It's harder to listen to your choices and provide feedback while knowing that there are things I cannot influence anymore."
What stands out in your mind as the most rewarding/joyful part of motherhood?
"That I have the most loving, caring and giving children. And while they're not mini-mes but instead very unique individuals, I can still see pieces of me."
What makes you proud- beyond-words?
"That you are your own person. That you are thankful for what you've been given and for what you have earned. I am proud that I had a piece in all that."
Your special memories of me—which ones stand out?
"I'll always remember you falling down as a baby, looking up at your brother, and choosing to laugh, get back up and move on. I also remember you falling off your bike and skinning half your face off, but still acting so tough about it. And I remember you giving your time solely to me one Mother's Day, pampering me all day instead of being with your friends."
What's something you would've done differently?
"Listened more, talked less, and said 'yes' more often."
The greatest lessons you've learned as a mother?
"Patience. And that my time is no longer just mine anymore."
What's different about parenting (in general) these days?
"The biggest change I've seen is more coddling and less allowing children to experience failure (and all the feelings that go with it). Allowing independent problem-solving also seems to be lacking. Parents tend to want their kids to feel good all (or most) of the time, instead of letting them experience the discomforts that come with challenges."
What's it like being a grandma now?
"Being a mom is an emotional rollercoaster—all the laughter, tears, worries, successes, failures... Being a grandma is steadier and smoother—lots of joy, not as much fear."
Compared to your years as a mom, how would you say I'm doing so far?
"You're doing a much better job than I ever did in those first five years. You're more patient, more diligent, and you spend more precious time with Cade."
What advice would you give me for my role as Cade's mom?
"Stay as consistent as you can. Give more hugs. Take more time to hear what Cade has to say—he is so revealing, funny, poignant, surprising and smart. Also, encourage independence—both in play and in thought."
What makes me your favorite child (don't worry, I won't tell my brothers)?
"You're my friend as well as my daughter. You always have something special and unique to share with me. And you're still my biggest challenge when it comes to balancing my tough-love honesty with my emotional, painful, heartfelt love for you."