You certainly don’t realize it, but today is Mother’s Day. Don’t worry though– a smile is pretty much the only gift from you that I expect and I’m sure that you have enough of those to spare. Today we celebrated the day in the way we probably always will: by going to church and spending time together – enjoying our little family. Some people say that Mother’s Day is a corporate holiday, created by greeting card manufacturers and jewelry stores with the intent of driving up a demand for gifts, but in our family this day is pretty special. Our Mommies are important to us, today and every day, and on this day especially we try to make sure that they understand what they mean to our lives. You should get used to observing this holiday because you already have a lot of Mamas in your life; right now you have 2 Great-Grandmothers, 3 Grandmoms, an array of honorary Aunts and Grandma’s and, of course, you have me.
I’ve wondered for awhile how this day would make me feel, now that I can say without any hesitation that I am a mother. The process of bringing you to the world changed every part of me – stretched the heights and the depths of what I could feel. This is my first Mother’s Day to celebrate with you, but I have been quietly playing my part in this day for awhile now. I have been pregnant for this holiday 3 times. I have always tried to protect this day, separate it from my sorrow, in order to celebrate the mothers in my life – wonderful women who deserve more of me than the pained expression I’ve worn for the last few years. I have berated and chastised myself for feeling so sad and neglected on this day – frustrated at myself for not having an answer to what seems like a very simple question: Am I a mother now? If not, then what am I?
Being pregnant for any amount of time allows you to see yourself as a mother. If you lose that identity, it’s easy to wonder if you are anything at all.
You see, baby, this can be a difficult day for some people. I used to think that motherhood was inevitable – a predictable milestone on the path every woman walks. I didn’t realize there were women who wanted to be mothers and couldn’t be. It’s an empathy I have now, an awareness that haunts me even with so much to celebrate.
Now that you are here it seems decadent and extravagant to have this day. I feel greedy accepting the attention because I already have my prize – my wonderful and exciting life with you, a life punctuated with question marks and exclamation points instead of periods. My beautiful and sweet son, my crazy dare devil monkey, my light in the darkness. You came into my life and brought back my smile, my faith, and my hope. You fill me with confidence and there is no where I go that I can’t hold my head up high because I am your mother. You are already so strong, so smart, so fearless. You are growing up before our eyes and we spend our days memorizing images of you, never wanting to blink and miss a moment because we know. We know it will all go by so fast.
Right now you live in a small world and we are the center of it. Every day that world gets bigger and I am trying to prepare myself for the future when I will have much more competition for your affection. I’m sure I will insist on rules you don’t like and force you to visit with the family when you would rather hang out with friends. I’m sure that you will do odd things with your hair and wear strange clothes. Maybe you will love music the way that we do, and maybe you wont. Whatever you do, you will surely believe that I don’t understand you and maybe I wont. Right now I know everything about you, but one day I may be searching for you on social networking platforms just to get a glimpse of anything at all. But you know what? I’m not worried. We will figure it out – I’ve always done my best work on the fly anyway.
You will grow and learn how to walk, and someday I will grow and learn how to let you fall.
For now, though, I have my sweet little baby who smiles and lights up the room – who expects nothing from me but love and bananas. The boy who will always be the very center of my universe. My precious son, the child who made me a mother.
Mother’s Day, 2010