On Growing Older and Wiser . . .

By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund

Since Mother's Day is just around the corner, I wanted to take this chance to wish all the mothers reading this blog a happy Mother's Day!

I always chuckle when I see "mom-humor" pins and pictures because I've been there and done that plenty of times over the years.

Like most kids, when I was growing up I didn't appreciate all the hard work and sacrifices my mom made for me. Nor did I realize the incredible amount of time and effort she was continually pouring out.

But there's a funny thing that happens as you get older (especially when you have your own kids). And that's this: You begin to see your parents, particularly your mom, in a new light. As you raise your own kids and deal with struggles, you FINALLY empathize with what life was once like for her. And you realize she was a saint for putting up with you back when you were so awful.

I now realize that everything my mom did was because she loved me and wanted me to turn into a hard-working, well-functioning, wholesome adult. Not because she loved to torture me with chores or rules.

I have to remind my kids of these truths quite often. I'm not trying to make their lives miserable by making them work or limiting their screen time. Everything I do for them is out of a deep love–because I want them to be able to thrive when they grow up.

And while I get glimmers that they understand that concept from time to time, I have the feeling they won't be able to fully grasp it until they're adults, especially when they begin training their own children.

The growing older and wiser principle can apply to a lot of things in life, can't it?

When I think about the writing life, for example, I realize that growing older and wiser applies there too. Once upon a time, before I was published, I had certain expectations about what life was like for a published author. I believed that once I was published the road would be paved with roses and rainbows. And that every day would be filled with sunshine.

When I looked at other published authors, I only saw their success, smiles, and popularity. I thought that getting an agent, a book deal, and being a multi-published author would somehow catapult me to the "other side."

But now that I'm here, I realize there really is no "other side." I'm not all that different than I was before. I still have bad days. Things don't always go perfectly in my life. And some days the road is paved with dandelions and thunderstorms.

In looking back at the naive young writer I used to be, I see that I wasn't able to appreciate just how hard those more experienced authors worked day in and day out. I didn't understand the incredible amount of time and perseverance they'd put in to get where they're at. I didn't realize all the sweat and tears they'd shed to reach success.

But now that I'm more experienced myself, I can appreciate (just like in parenting!) those who've gone before me. I see them in a new light. I now realize what it takes. And I can look upon all of their accomplishments with more awe because finally I know first-hand just how hard it truly is.

Yes, growing older and wiser is a funny thing. We realize how foolish we once were and at the same time recognize how far we still have to go.

This Mother's Day I'm reminded of just how much I have to appreciate about my Mom and all she did for me. And I'm reminded to stay humble and not take for granted any of those who are ahead of me in this journey of life.

How about you? Are you doing anything special to celebrate Mother's Day? How have YOU grown older and wiser over the years?

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