I was barely a mom for a month on my first Mother's Day; in fact I had not even left my mom's house after having my baby when I got my first Mother's Day wish. It was a text from a former student
, and it took me by surprise. It was a strange feeling to get cards (from my dear twin girlfriends) and good wishes based on nothing more than losing sleep and nursing for three weeks. I mean it pales in comparison to what my mother did over a lifetime for three children. But there I was, being celebrated in all my non-earned glory. My husband made dinner and we watched a movie while the baby slept. My mom left the house to have dinner with my siblings after having lunch at home with me and it was a pretty perfect day. A baby boy, a doting husband (you know the new “my wife just had a baby and I'm on top of the world” type of husband)...I mean it was just a lovely first Mother's Day!
The guilt I felt for being celebrated for those first three weeks has quickly diminished. Now that I am six plus years into this mommy gig, and have two kids, there have been times I could barely go to the bathroom and take a shower so if the world wants to have a day a year to celebrate, that's fine by me! However, on the bright side, it's amazing how much more time I have with a four-year old and a six-year old than I did just last year or the year before. The interactions are getting deeper, the personalities are so much stronger and the time we have is so much more adaptable...not perfect but so much easier than ever before. They still don't cooperate in every situation but being a mom is a trying, thankless task yet one that most of us wished for anyway. At this age, my children express themselves so well; and, to know how much they love me is a fulfillment hard to express in words, I won’t even try since I know I’m preaching to the choir here.
Recently, two of my close girlfriends lost their moms and I cannot stop thinking about them. We went to college together, met in the same sorority and navigated the years of single sisterhood together. They took me to Miami before I got married to celebrate. When Julene lost her mom in November, it was a complete shock. Her mom suffered from pneumonia after hip surgery and she never managed to recover. Three months later, Kim's mom was admitted to the hospital for colitis and she passed away there just a couple of weeks later. I obsessed about this.... talking to my mom, my siblings, my husband because I could not get over it. How can this happen so completely unexpectedly to someone my age? I mean I'm young, this should not be happening to anyone in my age group yet...and two friends from the same small circle of five, it's unthinkable. I've had another close friend lose her mother but it was from Parkinson's so it was not as unexpected although equally devastating. To be completely honest these losses just completely freak me out!
While most of you moms out there are fiercely independent and doing amazing things on your own, I am not ashamed...okay may a little embarrassed...but not ashamed to admit that I live just a couple of streets over from my mother, about half a mile away. Like my friend Kim used to do with her mom, I talk to my mother multiple times a day. She drives me crazy with her constant advice, concern and wisdom but I don't go a day without speaking to her or seeing her. My husband is in sales and he often travels and on those days...and MANY other days, we have dinner at my mom's. I mean what's the point of cooking an entire meal when she's doing it anyway and doing it exceptionally well I might add?! My son's favorite place to get off the bus is at her house because he knows that he'll walk into a house full of love and she'll make something hot to eat and he savors that time.
My mom worries when I have too many baking orders, when I lose sleep, when my husband is on the road. When I'm sick she makes homemade remedies and brings them over. When I gave birth, everyone was understandably thrilled about the baby. My husband was excited to be whisked away to give our newborn a bath but my mom kept her focus on me, staying in the room and making sure she was there if I needed anything. When I was nursing she made water using fennel seeds and food using fenugreek to help my milk flow...the hospital lactation consultant wanted her recipes! When we're on vacation, she makes sure that she leaves milk, bread and dinner for us so we have it when we return. Hmmmm..I'm beginning to see where my obsession with food originated.
After having each of my children, I stayed at my parents’ home. Three months with my first born and one month after my second...that's right, you read it correctly: three months. You would too if someone took as good care of you. When my son was born, my house was still in disarray because we had just moved in so I wasn't anxious to return to that chaos and I have a room at my parents’ home anyway. The same room I had when I lived there. Yes I'm a grown woman, a mom in my own right admitting to a huge truth...I am still dependent on my mother, I still rely on her advice far more than she realizes and I am damn grateful to have her down the street. To me Mother's Day is not so much a celebration of me as it is about being grateful to her for modeling the behavior I hope my children see in me some day.