Turning 21 As A Mom
Written by Janet Frood

Twenty one years ago to this day I became a Mom for the first time. Our son Ryan Frood Hawke was born prematurely at 29 weeks. He has forever changed my life. Today he is my greatest mentor and guide. His life of five weeks was short and yet powerful in many ways. His life and death caused a major shift in my life that woke me up to my calling and the work I do today. I am abundantly thankful for the imprint that Ryan has left on me. I try daily to live the lessons I learned from him. Twenty one in person years represents a new stage of maturity. It’s a transition time to independence; to a new level of maturity and freedom. That’s what I’m reflecting on today – the new stage of maturity that I am standing in as a mother.

Ryan brought me into motherhood. Since then Shannon and Jason have nurtured me and taught me through the journey as we have grown up together. I’ve learned that parenting is an elegant dance of sharing and loving, giving and taking, certainty and uncertainty, simplicity and complexity. Parenting is a deep, binding connection. It is a role of limitless possibilities and infinite creativity. It requires a commitment to continuous learning, discovery and flexibility.

As a 21-year old Mom, I know that Ryan’s legacy is about living whole-heartedly. Ryan’s purpose was to help me open up to the magic and mysteries of loving with no boundaries and being vulnerable. Through that I have been willing and able to more openly share my heart.

Thankfully I learned early that it’s not my role as Mom to control the journey but rather to be with as each of my children has taken their first breath and with Ryan his last. Each new step, new school year, new passion and strength discovered, each new stage of independence achieved – all I have really needed to do was to just be present.

So turning 21 as a Mom brings me to a state of ease. I now realize that I know enough for this important role. Ryan, Shannon and Jason each have abundant wisdom about what their path is and I just get to be a partner with them in their own discovery and experience. I’ve learned to trust my instincts and to respect theirs. I’ve learned to be patient and to be open to discoveries. Humbly I’ve had to learn that I do not have all the answers and despite my intention to be loving and caring can be annoying sometimes.

On the day that Peter and I got married, these words from 1st Corinthians 13 were read. Today they have special meaning as I also reflect on the deep love I have come to know as a mother.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

I occupy many roles in life. However, the role of Mom is definitively and deliciously the one I hold most dear. Thank you Ryan for anointing me as your mother 21 years ago today. Thank you Shannon for helping me be courageous enough to love wholeheartedly again. Thank you Jason for showing me the fun, joy and ease of mothering. Endless thanks to Peter, my husband, who has been my partner in parenting these last 21 years. Without him, I would have been lost along the way. We make amazing kids together.

I won’t say I’m all grown up but I am certainly feeling a new sense of maturity as a Mom today. Here’s to the continuing journey.