Meaning of motherhood changes with the years

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 14, 2005

God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers. 

-Jewish Proverb

On the beautifully sunny April day that Brianna Ruth brought her baby daughter Kaitlyn home from the hospital, her 3-year-old son Matthew wanted to spend the day outside playing.

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It was the first of many challenges for a second-time mom who now has two little ones vying for her attention.

Make no mistake, Matthew loves his new baby sister, as he’ll demonstrate by talking about her to anyone who will listen.

But the toddler is still adjusting to the new addition, and though he’ll occasionally help out with baby chores, he’s surprisingly unreceptive to the "dirty work" of infant rearing.

"I thought maybe he’d help go get the diapers, and throw the dirty diapers away, but he doesn’t want anything to do with it," Ruth said. "He’ll talk to her and play with her, that’s about it."

Ruth is more confident in managing two children now, she has a routine, and things are moving like clockwork. It’s a far cry from her experiences when Matthew was born.

"I was really nervous, I was young, I was 20, and I was scared to death," Ruth said. "I was really nervous about having someone else’s life in my hands."

Brianna Ruth is older now (though still young at 23), and motherhood has become second nature. That doesn’t mean that some of those old fears don’t sneak in, she still works very hard to do everything right, even if that means exhausting herself.

"I’m just worried if I’m doing everything rightŠand getting enough sleep," Ruth said with a tired laugh. "She gets me up every hour-and-a-half to two hours."

Soldier's mom

When Nancy Tipton’s son Michael was growing up, she had no idea that her little boy would someday travel to Iraq to help in the nation’s defense.

"This was a shock, when he was a senior in high school, the military came to his school, and we were shocked when he told us that he wanted to go into the Navy," Tipton said.

Michael Tipton got out of the Navy in June of 2004, then decided to join the Navy Reserve. In March of this year, Michael got the call that he was to be stationed in Iraq, working with communications.

Tipton says that letting her son go was one of the hardest things she has ever done.

"When he first told me he had to go to Iraq, I just broke down and cried," Tipton said.

Though he may be miles away, like a good son, Michael still keeps in touch with his mom.

"He calls me about once a week," Tipton said. "He seems to be fine, he says he misses me, but he’s doing pretty good."

Though Tipton stops short of reminding Michael to wear clean underwear during telephone calls, she can’t resist a little motherly doting.

"We tell him just to be safe, and to look out where he’s going," Tipton said, "Šand to eat good."

Despite the phone calls, despite the immense pride she has for her son’s service, and despite the fact that he’s 23 years old, Nancy Tipton is still a mommy, still worries about her little boy.

"I’m afraid I won’t see him againŠI’m afraid something’s going to happen," Tipton said. "It’s just hard not seeing him. He’s not married, and all he’s got is his sister and his dad and his mom."