THE GREATEST REWARD (A POEM)

As a young wife, and mother,
I wanted nothing more than to have children
And to be there, for them, as they grew up.
I thought that having newborn babies was
The greatest reward–
But then they became toddlers, and I thought
This was the greatest reward–watching them
Learn to speak, and eat by themselves and
Discovering all that life has to offer.
Then they became youngsters going off to school
Learning how to read and write
And do multiplication tables,
And I thought this was the greatest reward
As I became involved with their school and became friends
With some of the teachers
And was a volunteer in their classrooms.
I taught my son Steve how to play Scrabble
And took them to book stores and thrift shops
To look for books.
I took all four of them on vacation trips to Ohio
To spend summers with my parents
And boasted proudly that I could travel
With ease with all of them–including twice
On a Greyhound Bus across country.
Then they became older boys and I thought
This is the greatest reward,
Because we bought a camper and started
Going camping with them.
Then they became young men, and I thought
This was the greatest reward as they brought
Girls home to meet their mother.
Then they were truly men, with wives
And children of their own – and yes,
I knew that this was the greatest reward,
For now there were grandchildren to love
And share my life with–
So, perhaps – in retrospect – it wasn’t any one
Single period of time that was the greatest reward–
Perhaps it was being able to recognize
That each stage in their lives
Was The Greatest Reward.

–Sandra Lee Smith
May 9, 2009
(in recognition of mother’s day)

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