Me 8 1/2 months pregnant on Mother's Day 2013
Last weekend we visited my parents in Denver. The girls were thrilled that we spent the night, played at the park, and had Grandma and Grandpa all to ourselves. They were so happy to be there that when I announced our plans to leave the next morning, they were quite distraught.
Until I told them Grandma would send them off with a small bag of miniature marshmallows. Things were okay then.
Even so, as my mom waved good-bye to us from the front porch just as her parents used to wave to me as we pulled away from the haven that was their home, Claire was concerned for me. On this particular trip she had really internalized that Grandma and Grandpa were my own mom and dad. She then wanted to talk about Daddy’s mom and dad – Gangy and Pop Pop. It seemed to be on her mind throughout our little stay. So, as Grandma waved and Claire thoughtfully munched on her marshmallows, she said:
“I miss Grandma.”
“I know, Babe. We’ll be back to visit. We’ll see Grandma and Grandpa soon.”
“Don’t you miss Grandma and Grandpa? Don’t you miss your mom and dad?”
And, then it clicked in my mind. However shallowly or deeply, Claire had realized that I, like her, used to live with my mom and dad. Now, I don’t. Don’t I miss them, she wondered.
Her question to me stung because even if it was on a very basic level, I think she knew that someday she won’t live with us. She’s talked about it several times since that drive, and I know she’s processing this somewhat distressing piece of truth – children don’t live with their parents forever.
At least not in this life.
I have also been processing this truth – what it means for me as a mother myself now, what it meant for my own mom, and what it meant for my mother-in-law. What it means to any mother who has already or will one day say goodbye to living with her child.
In this week before mother’s day, I have read many essays and thoughts and posts on the topic of mother’s day. Many feel guilt that they are not now doing or have not done enough. Others are overcome with joy at being celebrated for work that often goes unnoticed. Some feel sadness or even deep despair that they are not yet a mother. Some say they’ve never felt that mother’s day was about them, that it is about their own mother. Whatever your thoughts on mother’s day, mine have never been complicated – even struggling with infertility, I don’t think I felt more or less valued on this day celebrating the mothering, nurturing women in my life. I do feel a very strong emotion now, though. On this particular mother’s day.
My little girls still live with me. I get to see them every day and participate in and witness their lives simply because I’m their mother. That alone might be worth the infertility struggles, the pregnancy battles and scars, and the frustrating moments of parenthood.
I still have many years to live with these children. Side-by-side. And, to me, that’s something to celebrate.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the women who care for others in this sometimes confusing, frustrating, wonderful life. May you find something or someone to celebrate today.