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Cynthia Wilson James and her daughters

Cynthia Wilson James and her daughters

I’ve ceased to question the unrivaled perspicacity of children. Instead, I’ve simply learned to accept the wonder that it exists—like the Great Pyramid of Giza or the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Yesterday, 4-year-old Lizzie clambered into my lap, threw her arms around my neck in a tight squeeze and whispered fiercely: “I’m going to keep you, mommy. Even when I grow up, I want to keep you!”

I felt a sudden pang of guilt. Would I be here for her to ‘keep’ when she grew up?

I pulled her gently away from me—just far enough to peer deeply into her guileless hazel eyes. Then I attempted, just as fiercely, to drink in the moment, to ‘take a picture,’ to irrevocably brand her image on my brain so that it would rest there forever, despite the inevitable and unforgiving passage of time ahead.

What I wouldn’t give for God’s promise that I will be there for her future debut on the world’s stage as an adult—to be ‘kept’ for her, until she is a ‘grown-up.’

For all of my certainty that it is our right as the mother of the human species to bear progeny, no matter what our age, sometimes I falter:

Where is the wisdom in later life motherhood?

And when I falter, I talk to a lady I’ve personally awarded the title, the ‘Queen of Common Sense’—over-40 mom, former childbirth educator and founder of InSeason Mom (http://www NULL.inseasonmom NULL.org/), Cynthia Wilson-James from South Carolina.

Wilson-James—who gave birth at 42 and 44 to her now 8 and 6-year-old daughters, aptly named Faith and Jewel—believes that there is a ‘season’ for everything in our lives, especially motherhood.

And if that season happens to fall in the autumn of a woman’s life, then it’s all according to God’s plan.

In getting to know Cynthia, I’ve begun to realize that there’s far more substance to her than being a ‘seasoned’ mother after 40. She’s the sort of gal you turn to for voting advice when the Republicans and Democrats are so deadlocked into strangling each other that you can’t see the road ahead between them.

In short, she’s grounded—and I expect that’s probably a prerequisite for her current role as a high school career counselor.

True to form, her take on the differences between older and younger mothers—and the ‘keeping’ of our children as they grow up—is reassuring.

“One mistake that younger moms make is not appreciating the gift of time with their children,” says Cynthia Wilson-James.

“It s hard to tell a twenty-something mom to treasure every moment she has with her child because life holds no guarantees that she will see the child s next birthday.”

Despite the fact that younger mothers benefit from few health concerns, Wilson-James feels that mothers over 40 are more likely to savor the moments with their children for the very reason that they’ve stared mortality in the eye.

With strong roots in her spiritual faith, she also embraces the humility that tempers us through age and experience engenders more parenting wisdom.

“I am a better parent now than I would have been at a younger age,” Cynthia admits, “because life has humbled me and I am less judgmental and more grateful.”

“As an older mom, I am able to pass on wisdom that only comes with experience and age.”

To prove the point, she recounts a recent experience with one of her daughters:

“Just the other day, I learned from my six-year old that one of the life lessons that I passed on to her helped when dealing with a mean classmate.”

“I beamed with pride when she said: ‘You warned me about this mommy!’”

It begs the question: how do we weigh the importance of being a wise teacher against the resilience of youth?

Young mothers may potentially live longer, but they can be blissfully ignorant or hopelessly naïve—however you want to slice it. I wouldn’t have wanted me as a parent in my twenties.

Wilson-James also feels better off as a parent later in life: “During my twenties and thirties, I often taught the children of family and friends that I babysat everything from songs to games and I taught bible school to preschoolers.” she recalls.

“However, as I have grown older, I still teach my own children, but I also listen and learn from them, which is as important—I’m more balanced.”

She emphasizes that most older mothers are better prepared mentally to deal with young children.

“We aren’t trying to move up in our careers or blaming our kids for keeping us from hanging out with our friends,” she says.

Given her views, you’d think Cynthia Wilson-James would lead the march in favor of women having children at any age with a bible-thumping zealotry, wouldn’t you?

Well, that’s where you’re in for a unique ‘Cynthia’ surprise.

“I do not advocate every woman should wait until she is over 40 to have a baby any more than I advocate all women should have children,” she argues.

“I strongly believe there is a season for everything in life, including giving birth.”

“Your season is not determined by when I think or when anyone else thinks you should give birth. I believe only God makes that decision.”

Amen, Cynthia. And may God ‘keep’ us all here to watch over our children as they grow up.

Notes for this blog:

For Cynthia’s resource website on later life motherhood, click here: http://www.inseasonmom.org/ (http://www NULL.inseasonmom NULL.org/)

 

7 Responses to In Keeping With The Season

  1. gmw3483@yahoo.com says:

    Fabulous!

  2. Lynn McKenzie says:

    I am 47 and I have 2 boys 19 1/2 and 17 1/2 and my little girl who is almost 9. I was 38 when I had her and it is a true blessing. She is everything I am not and I am trying to teach her to face up to the world and difficult people she may encounter. I try to teach her to be kind to all people no matter what they look like. However in the quiet hours of the night when I lay awake due to perimenopause I think of her on this planet without me. Great sadness overcomes me and I wish I had had her when I was younger. I am a believer that everything happens for a reason and I was not meant to have her earlier. I will miss her beautiful face and watch her as she grows up and I have sadness that I won’t be around when she has children. I love my boys but they don’t need me anymore or so they think. Life is funny but once you get past 40 you see things outside the box and become more aware of everything. I am blessed that I have had the opportunity the have 3 georgeous children who run me into the ground. You have not lived life until you have children.

  3. Fern Lehmann (http://Powhatan,VA) says:

    I think the only thing you can do is train them the best way you can while you are here and put a plan in place (in writing of course) in case something happens to you and then not worry about it for one second! Why you may ask? Because it is an incredible waste of time and energy to worry about something you have NO control over. I lost 4 babies before they were born and I refuse to waste a second of the time I have with my living children. Its not fair to them for me to spend my time worrying about when I will die. So I have plans in place just in case something happens to me or my husband and I don’t worry about it.
    I think the only thing you can do is train them the best way you can while you are here and put a plan in place (in writing of course) in case something happens to you and then not worry about it for one second! Why you may ask? Because it is an incredible waste of time and energy to worry about something you have NO control over. I lost 4 babies before they were born and I refuse to waste a second of the time I have with my living children. Its not fair to them for me to spend my time worrying about when I will die. So I have plans in place just in case something happens to me or my husband and I don’t worry about it.
    I think the only thing you can do is train them the best way you can while you are here and put a plan in place (in writing of course) in case something happens to you and then not worry about it for one second! Why you may ask? Because it is an incredible waste of time and energy to worry about something you have NO control over. I lost 4 babies before they were born and I refuse to waste a second of the time I have with my living children. Its not fair to them for me to spend my time worrying about when I will die. So I have plans in place just in case something happens to me or my husband and I don’t worry about it.

  4. c_hego@hotmail.com says:

    I agree wholeheartedly1 I am a better parent now than I ever would have been had I been in my twenties or even my thirties. I was drinking heavily and partying a lot. I just wasn’t ready. Now I love just being home with my little boy. I had him three months shy of my 42nd birthday. I am now 44 and would LOVE another! There is always hope.

  5. c_hego@hotmail.com says:

    I agree wholeheartedly1 I am a better parent now than I ever would have been had I been in my twenties or even my thirties. I was drinking heavily and partying a lot. I just wasn’t ready. Now I love just being home with my little boy. I had him three months shy of my 42nd birthday. I am now 44 and would LOVE another! There is always hope.

  6. c_hego@hotmail.com says:

    A lot of people are aghast when I say I still want to keep trying for another child at my age! But I have given up worrying what other people think about it. Someone said to me when I hit forty that I might as well face that I would never have kids and then I went on to have my son!
    http://www.fortysomethingfirsttimemum.blogspot.com (http://www NULL.fortysomethingfirsttimemum NULL.blogspot NULL.com)

  7. Tanya says:

    The decision to have a child is a very personal one. People who are ignorant and uneducated love to exercise their tongues and judge women over 4o who decide to pursue mother hood. I am over 40, my MIL who is pushing 80 never misses a chance to question my desire to be a mom. I’ll have the last laugh. I already have my outfit planned for the old goat’s funeral!!
    Only people with a total lack of class would DARE to challenge a woman on such a personal issue.

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