Goodness is about reciprocity, like Al Green sings in “Love & Happiness”: “Be good to me, and I’ll be good to you.” The notion that we take care of each other in this life extends to our children. While pregnant with my now 8-month-old son, JP Jr., the concept of goodness took on another meaning.
Cultivating and growing a man child in my womb, I was responsible for nurturing him early on. As pregnancy progressed, I could feel him extending his goodness in several ways. First, I felt so good and empowered to have the privilege of carrying new life. Feeling JP Jr.’s kicks and seeing his growth by ultrasound displayed the goodness of the process.
Second, my child displayed goodness through the pain and discomfort. His progress showed we were working together to achieve something amazing.
Third, it reflected in my changing body how good JP Jr. was to me: my glowing skin, ample bosom, and spreading hips and waddle. Uncomfortable, yes, and certain tasks became more difficult, but the goodness of God gave me strength to endure it all.
Now, JP Jr. displays goodness in his own unique way. As his mother, it is my duty to nourish and nurture, train him up in the way he should go. This kid smiles at me every time our eyes meet. He gives the strongest hugs and neck-grabbing kisses, covering my cheeks in drool. When his father caught the flu and spent all weekend recovering, JP Jr. giggled and played so that my husband could smile and forget about his sickness. During random middle-of-the-night feedings, my grogginess turns into a smile because we bond in silence, our bodies connected and warm. All of these moments capture goodness between parent and child.
Because I’m good to my son, he is good to me.
Fellow moms say, “Enjoy, because the days are long but the years are short!” I pray he will always be excited to see me when we greet each other after a long day of work and school. I know JP Jr. will be hormonal and have “Mommy, I hate you!” moments, but he won’t mean it (hopefully).
Goodness equals love. Goodness shows in character. Goodness extends kindness. Goodness will show in my example of a strong-willed mother who wants nothing but the best for her children. My purpose has never been more clear – a woman fulfilling her God-given mission of being a mother and storyteller.
About the Author
Terricha M. Phillips is an award-winning journalist turned public health professional living north of Jackson, MS. A Spelman Woman and Syracuse University alum, Terricha is married to James and is a bonus mom to daughter Jada, 14, and mom of infant son James, Jr. She enjoys reading, vocal music performance, church, taking naps, cycling, and tirelessly advocating for sickle cell patients and families. She aspires to author several books, win a Pulitzer Prize, and return to her beloved hometown of Cleveland, OH, to be part of positive growth and change.
Find more of her work at parlezmywords.blogspot.com.