Becoming a parent gives you a better appreciation for your own parents - especially your mom.

You always thought 24 hours of labor was a long time, but now that you have gone through it yourself (and then some), you really understand. Only, your mom was alone in the delivery room, because husbands weren't allowed to be with you at that time.

You are frustrated, because your child takes short naps, and your mom sighs. "Oh, yes. There was that period when you only took 20 minute naps." And you are suddenly grateful for the extra ten minutes your son stays asleep. Then she tells you that you gave up your morning nap at the age of one, and your afternoon nap at two. And you realize you don't have many little breaks left, and you should enjoy those thirty minute naps while you can. You also might want to rethink that whole homeschooling idea too...

You call her up to talk about teething and rashes and coughs. And you wonder how she survived your fevers, your accidents, your trips to the emergency room. Because your heart stops every time your own child has a bad fall or makes a strange sound. And you know that each bump and bruise won't be the last one, and you never stop being a mother. And you think, "Kudos, Mom."

You share the new words, the new teeth, the first steps, the first chuckles with her, and you wish your mom lived closer. Your son thinks Grandma lives inside the big box on the desk. He touches her pixelated face and hears her sing his favorite song with a slight delay. And you wonder why you moved so far away.

Because having a child makes you long for your family. You want your child to play with his cousins. You want your mom to see the rash in person, not just hear it described over the phone (or view it on a web cam). You want your parents to see his first teeth and his first steps. You want your dad to come over and help install the ceiling fan that is collecting dust in its box, because one of you is always watching the baby. You want your mom to babysit, so you can go out on a date and see a movie, because you can't remember what it's like to be a couple anymore. You want your entire family eating cake at your son's first birthday party.

But your family lives over 1800 miles away. And you don't want to live like this anymore, but it's a bad economy and not a good time to move. So you suck it up.

Then you remember that your own mom lived 760 miles away from her parents when you were a baby, back before cell phones and web cams and online photo albums. Back when you had to talk to an operator to make a long distance call. And your dad wasn't able to telecommute. He was working the night shift, sleeping all day, and your mom had to take care of you all by herself, and introduce you to your father on weekends when you were both awake at the same time. And she used cloth diapers with safety pins, sewed all your clothes, and made all your baby food in a blender.

And all you have to say then is "Kudos, Mom."

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In 2007, we moved to Austin, and this blog chronicled our adaptation to Texas life: festivals, wildflowers, and bats - oh my! Then we had a baby, and that changed everything, so now, we blog about where to buy organic food, what parks are fun for babies, which exterminator is taking care of our scorpion problem. (You know, the usual parental concerns.)

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