When my mother said this to me years and years ago, I wasn't sure if it was a threat, a warning or a premonition. Maybe a little of all three. I didn't get it. I couldn't have gotten it. I was just a kid whose life revolved around me and who couldn't see any further into the future than a psychic with short-term memory loss. And now, here I am decades later, saying the same thing to my kid.
It's not so much a warning or a threat. It's more of a wistful plea that someday, at some point, he'll look at me and say, "I get it, Mom." That someday he'll realize why I am the way I am. Why I worry. Why I nag. Why I persist. Why I pray. Why I drive him crazy and he drives me the same.
|This is me. Now you know why Mom encouraged my writing.|
"Just wait until you have kids of your own." It's the only recourse moms have. That someday, when their kids are older and procreate they'll have that almighty "aha moment" and realize that mom wasn't the blithering idiot they thought she was all along. But it's not so much the satisfaction we'll gain in finally having our kids understand all of our worries and fears despite their best attempts to reassure us that they "know what they're doing." (We sure as HELL know they don't know what they're doing. But the only way they're going to KNOW what they're doing is NOT know what they're doing and make a mistake so they KNOW how to do it in the future.)
But I digress.
Above and beyond all that "mom knows best" stuff, "Just wait until you have kids of your own" to me means that you will never, ever know how much you can love another human being until you have a child of your own. You cannot ever imagine the amount of joy, pain, pride, frustration, hope and worry that someone can can cause you to have until you are responsible for the rise of this child from innocent infant to tempestuous teen to (hopefully) admirable adult. You can't fathom that for once you will not have all the answers and that you will more often than not question your validity as a parent yet you will still be compelled to tell your child that you do know best even when you're not sure you do.
"Just wait until you have kids of your own" is no different than the quote (paraphrased), "Being a mother is deciding to forever have your heart go walking around outside your body." It's going from being able to completely focus on one task to doing ten things at once and knowing at a drop of a hat that your son is right now giving a presentation in 4th hour and saying a quick prayer that his nerves are calm and he doesn't have toilet paper stuck to his shoe. It's the difference between cheering on your favorite sports team and making a deal with God that you'll never ever say another curse word again if your son connects with the ball just this one time. It's watching him drive down the street and holding yourself back from running alongside the car shouting for him to wear his seat belt, use his turn signal and watch for deer.
No child knows how overwhelming it is to be a mother. And I don't mean overwhelming in just a negative sense, because for every hour of angst there can be sixty seconds of joy that completely negates that other 59 minutes - do you know what I mean? If you're a mother you do.
If not, just wait.