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Mothers have tough jobs to do
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First, for nine months, often through morning sickness and aching feet, back and elsewhere, mothers carry a baby until he or she is ready to debut.

Then, for the next few years, the baby-turned-toddler-turned-cute kid draws the attention.

For five minutes during pregnancy, someone comments how wonderful the mama looks. After that, it’s pretty much over.

I know some daddies share some of the load, but mamas tend to bear the brunt of the responsibility of child care. A few examples are:

Diapers

Sometimes in the course of input, the output can be very rough. Granted, most people now use disposable diapers, but that baby doesn’t change itself.

Clothing

When children get old enough to recognize arms and legs, they can turn getting dressed into a tug of war. The same is true for shoes if you can find them.

Runny noses

Every kid is going to have a runny nose at some point in time. That’s enough about that.

Just being kids

This involves everything, including a child picking up breakable items and tossing them across a room. It also involves picking up a handful of something on a plate — the child’s or yours. Don’t forget doing things like trying out markers or crayons on your pristine walls.

These are just a few examples of the adventures a mama may face on any given day. Don’t forget the job of being nurse to wounded fingers, foreheads or feet and consoling your little person when you’re not really sure why they are crying.

We are at the stage of a house full of young adults. We have one who graduated from college this month and later another will plight her troth to a young fellow who has asked for her hand.

But the purpose of this epistle is to remind you a growing number of mothers are doing a second hitch at raising little ones.

One of the growing segments of our population involves children living in households headed by a grandparent.

Just when you thought the nest was empty, a little bird comes to roost. Sometimes it is because of death. In other cases, it involves a young parent who is incarcerated or has been found unfit to do the job.

At a time when most people are reading their retirement papers, they are reading Dr. Seuss. You buy Cheerios, not because of the oat fiber, but because they can be eaten on the tray of a high chair.

Your daily exercise routine includes bending over to pick up dirty clothes, toys and food that missed the mouth.

The 2010 Census revealed one in 14 children live in a household headed by a grandparent. That number has increased in the past few years.

I write all of this not to make you feel sorry for these folks, but to offer a heartfelt appreciation.

We tip our hat to all mamas on this day. To those who are involved in an unexpected repeat performance, we offer a full-fledged genuflect.

God bless those who open their hearts to those who fill the role of an absent mother. They truly are grand.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com/harris.

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