I was 26 when I took on the most demanding, most frightening, most difficult job of my life - motherhood.
Like all moms-to-be, I had gone through long months of preparation for my new role. During that seemingly endless period of waiting, George and I had been reading, asking questions and readying our world for the upcoming addition. We were both sure we could handle all the details of this family addition.
As my "bump" grew, so did my confidence. After all, I had a college education and was a levelheaded woman of the modern can-do era. With all my carefully laid plans, I knew our child would be blessed with an efficient and unflappable mom.
Finally, in the early hours of a cold January morning, I realized the time had come. George and I tried to stay calm as we gathered the pre-packed suitcase and headed for the car.
By the time we reached the hospital, my physical discomfort had increased, but I still felt in control. We were directed to the maternity floor where I gave a quick good-bye kiss to expectant dad George. Then I was taken to a room for the next step in what I was still considering an interesting experience.
But, during the next four, six, eight, 10 hours, my confidence began to slip away. The feeling that I had any control of this new and stressful situation faded as the hours dragged on.
While the sun came up, crept across the sky, then began to fade into evening, the hospital staff moved through each stage of the process so familiar to them. And, as I tossed in the bed or walked the floor, I began to question my carefully built ideas of just how this whole situation would play out.
Just before 9 p.m., my doctor stopped in for another check on my progress. Finally he alerted the nurses, and they moved me into the delivery room.
By this time, all my pre-conceived notions had been discarded and, like every mother-to-be before me, I was simply part of an unstoppable miracle of nature.
So it was that I met our fresh-from-heaven daughter, Becky Lynn Schenk, at 9:13 p.m., on Jan. 8, 1960.
When they placed this priceless bundle in my arms and I touched her for the first time - counting her tiny fingers and toes - an amazing transition took place. No longer was I a know-it-all mother-to-be. No longer did I have all the answers. No longer could I claim the unshakable confidence of the uninitiated.
Instead, I realized I knew absolutely nothing about how to care for this tiny human gift from God. How could He have seen fit to entrust such a heavenly treasure to mere mortals like me and George?
How could I find the courage to lead her through all the days and years ahead? How could I open those blue eyes to the world? And how could I possibly tell her of the overwhelming love that filled my heart at that moment when she became my first-born child?
I wasn't even sure how to hold this delicate infant. Would I break her while trying to learn?
At that moment, I became aware of two of the most constant aspects of parenthood - humility and gratitude. Humility at the very thought I would be given the opportunity to bear and raise a child of God, and gratitude He had found me worthy of the awesome title of mother.
Today, well established both as a mother and, happily, as a grandmother, I wish all my sisters in motherhood - and grandmotherhood - a Happy Mother's Day.