The Clock

Pam Mathews

© Copyright 2006 by Pam Mathews


Do you hear that?  Tick, tock, tick, tock.  That’s my biological clock ticking away.

I am 38 years old, happily married and still undecided about having children.  Why the hesitation?  I guess it’s because at this point in my life, I can see the picture clearly.  Children come into your life and turn it upside down.  What once was, isn’t anymore.  Things you once could do, you can’t now.  Your nicely furnished, ultra organized home becomes an oversized  toy box .  I wonder, “Am I ready for any of that?”  “Will I ever be ready?”  Perhaps this sounds selfish but I think it would be more selfish of me to have children when  I wonder  if I’m ready  or if I’ll ever be ready.

It was my sister’s tenth wedding anniversary.  I was happy to take her three kids over night.  I adore them.  Morgan is 9, Dylan is 5 and Justin is almost 2.  The kids arrived, we wished their mom and dad a goodnight and I braced myself for what I knew would be a fun but tiring twenty four hours.    It was dinner time so I suggested we get pizza.  Everyone agreed.    I thought to myself, “Wow, that was easy.”  Knowing that Morgan didn’t really like pizza (go figure!)  I told her that we’d get her a sandwich at the pizza shop.  However,  now realizing that Morgan was having a sandwich, Dylan wanted a cheeseburger with the pizza . I searched the take out menu from the pizza shop.   I did not see cheeseburgers. As I broke the news to Dylan, I could see he was devastated.  “Wait”, I quickly offered as the indulging auntie, “I have an idea, Uncle Chris can stop at McDonald’s for a cheeseburger on his way home from the pizza shop!”    Problem solved,  or  so I thought.  “Auntie Pam”, Morgan asked.  “If  Dylan is getting a cheeseburger, can I get chicken nuggets?”  “Hey if she is getting chicken, can I have chicken too?”  Dylan was quick to add.  My head was spinning.    In the end, we did not get pizza at all.   I realized that being a mom takes a lot of patience.

The kids had brought their scooters and Justin had his car that he could get on and push with his feet.  The four of us headed outside so they could ride around my apartment complex before it got dark.  Morgan and Dylan rode ahead of Justin and me. Keeping him on the sidewalk was a chore.  Every once in awhile I’d have to tug on his hand to reel him in.  It was a messy job, because each time there was more and more of his popsicle dripping down onto his hand and mine.  Morgan and Dylan were having a blast on the scooters but,  Justin  soon tired of the car.  He wanted to run, and run he did!  How could such short little legs move so fast?   So there we were, going along like a parade.  Morgan gliding along on her scooter, Dylan doing his best to keep up with her , Justin happily running after them and Auntie brining up the rear.  I was chasing Justin, carrying his big plastic car and his melting popsicle.  I realized that being a mom takes a lot of energy.

Once we made it back inside,  I settled Justin down at the kitchen table with us to do arts and crafts.  Finally, I could sit down.   I spread out  crayons, coloring books and stickers  in front of him.  He was pleased.  I was relieved.  I put out the rest of the craft supplies for the older kids.   It was great.  The kids had so much fun.  Morgan and Dylan were entertained for quite awhile.   And,  though  I thought I was going to keep Justin busy,  it turned out just the opposite.  He kept me  busy.  I spent my time keeping him out of  the paint, glitter, glue and scissors.    My reflexes were quick and he seemed to have quite a good time testing them.  I realized that being a mom takes your constant attention.

Next morning, the sun came up and Justin rose with it.  Soon, we we’re all up and my husband left for work.  I put Morgan in charge of watching the boys while I took a quick shower.  As I lathered the shampoo into my hair, I heard a bang on the door.  You can imagine the thoughts that raced through my head!  Was someone hurt?  Is there a fire?    “What’s wrong?”, I shouted frantically.  Dylan’s voice came through the door and  I quote,   “Auntie Pam, Justin did a stinky one in his diaper!!”   I breathed a short sigh of relief  but quickly realized the problem I faced.   “I’ll be right out.”, I answered.  Calmly confirming my fears, Dylan offered up, “Auntie it smells REALLY bad.”   Thanks to Dylan and his no nonsense approach to the situation,  I  fully understood  what was waiting for me on the other side of that door.  Holding my breath, I bravely stepped out.  Morgan and Dylan ran for the hills holding their noses.  Minutes later, I gave them the all clear and we went about our morning.   I realized that being a mom takes courage.

Morgan and Dylan wanted to make pancakes.  I didn’t mind, it is fun to let them do some cooking with me.  This particular morning though, we had to get Morgan to a soccer game in a not so nearby town.  “Ok.”  I negotiated,  “If we all get cleaned up, dressed and ready to go, we can make pancakes.”  We got ready  and the making of the pancakes began.   I mixed the batter, wrestled with some pots and pans in the cabinet to retrieve my griddle and positioned the kids on a stool so they could pour and flip.   They did a great job.  We sat down to eat and I glanced around the table.  The pancakes were not moving.  “What’s up guys?” I asked.  “Um…Auntie Pam, we just wanted to make the pancakes, we didn’t want to eat them.” they quipped as if I should have known.  Maybe I did know.   I poured them all a bowl of  Rice Krispies.   They ate their cereal and I had somewhere in the neighborhood of  12 pancakes.  I realized that being a mom takes a great sense of humor.

After the soccer game,  the kids went home.  I wearily climbed the stairs to my apartment.  I sat down on the sofa and thought about the last twenty four hours.   I laughed to myself at all of the silly things that were said and done.   I looked through some photos and thought about  the day each of  the kids was born.   My heart just overflowed with love.  Right then, I wasn’t thinking about everything a mom has to give, I realized what she gets back.  What an incredible feeling to have these little lives depending on you for everything.  What an incredible way to spend your days.   Protecting, nurturing, and guiding them to be all they can and want to be.  I realized that being a mom has its rewards.  There are no prizes or trophies but rewards like,  laughter in your backyard, a goal scored at a soccer game, little ones tucked in safe and sound, and a good report at the dentist.  It’s these little things that are a mom’s greatest rewards. It’s these things that say you are doing a good job at what I consider to be the toughest job in the world.

 As I sat there, every muscle ached from carrying Justin around.  I was physically and mentally wiped out.  I looked around the apartment and let out a sigh. I could hear the clock ticking.  It was ticking louder than ever and ringing as if the alarm was going off.  I fluffed the pillows on the sofa, laid back and hit the snooze button on that clock.  I love being an aunt and I have a whole new appreciation for motherhood but, I may never be ready for the huge task.  And, I’ve decided that’s ok.

My name is Pam Mathews. I am thirty-eight years old and I live near Boston, Massachusetts with my husband Chris and my two cats, Harvey and Gizmo.  After spending almost twenty years as an executive in the retail industry, I have decided to pursue a career in writing.  I finally figured out, if you are going to work that hard, why not do what you love to do?   I have loved to write ever since I can remember.  I am currently taking creative writing courses from Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts and thoroughly enjoying my days to doing what truly make me happy.

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