Reflections on Mother’s Day
Its Mother’s Day, so I feel compelled to write an obligatory toast talking about how great my mom is. You know, how she always encouraged me to do big things, how she was on the sidelines at every tennis match, basketball and softball game and how selfless she is when it comes to my brother and I. I could write a post about how terrific she is, but anyone that knows her already knows all that.
Instead I want to tell a story about what it means to be a mom. It means watching your child struggle and allowing them to overcome it on their own, against all your longing to make things right. It’s about being an advocate for your child no matter the circumstances to be sure they get a fair shot. Its teaching your bratty-pain-in-the-ass-giving-you-gray-hair-teenager about keeping your word, no matter how it embarrasses her at the time, so she knows that you will not allow her to stray down a very dark path.
And even when we’re adults, we still need our moms. My mom was at my bedside whenever possible while I was on bedrest in the hospital, pregnant with my first child. I vaguely remember after my daughter was born, lying in a dark hospital room with drugs flowing into my system to prevent a stroke and for pain control. People took turns coming to sit with me, although I wasn’t allowed conversation (too much stimulation). A nurse brought in a Polaroid of my small, premature daughter, then one day old. I asked how she was doing. The nurse confirmed my Girl was doing well, was no longer completely dependent on the breathing tube and my husband was with her. I dozed off after the nurse left the room. Enter my mom. When I awoke she was holding my hand. Her hand was trembling and I could tell she was crying. “Don’t cry, Mom,” I told her, “the nurses said my baby is doing well.”
“I know,” she responded, “but my baby is in pretty rough shape.” So there you have it. I had no idea of my own condition. I just knew my baby girl was doing well, (or at least Okay), and it carried me. My mom knew her granddaughter was OKay yet still wanted to absorb my hurt. I was 29 years old, with a child of my own, yet still her baby girl.
Just last summer, my daughter and I ran a 5k race. As we crossed the finish line, the image of her in the NICU came back. But she’s not a baby anymore, right? Don’t we all see our kids as babies, no matter their age?
Happy Mothers Day to all those with this life altering, joyous, frustrating, painful and always exhilarating gift of motherhood.