I remember my first Mother’s Day.
We never tried to get pregnant because it was, pretty much, not on the table for me. An exploratory surgery removed damage and revealed a uterus with multiple defects. Safely carrying to full-term would be both high-risk and very unlikely. Married almost two years, I had settled into my role as wife, career woman and part-time college student. I was way too busy to allow myself to really absorb the impact of improbable.
In spite of everything stacked against us and because of the surgery that I almost cancelled, here I was three and half months pregnant with our miracle baby Meghan and there it was – this benign pink envelope on the end table in living room. It looked innocent enough, but as I took my fingernail and unsealed the envelope, as I pulled out the card and began to read the words inside, I realized my life had officially changed.
I mean, yes I was having a high-risk baby and aware of all the implications of that, but in three words I was initiated into a magical sorority of astounding moments and sleepless nights: Happy Mother’s Day. I was a Mom.
Me who hated cleaning her bedroom and changing cat litter was going to be changing diapers and wiping a runny nose. I was going to be responsible for another tiny, helpless human being. And I had a tremendous example to live up to.
My mom, Jean, isn’t your typical let’s-bake-cookies-in-the-kitchen Mom. She was a homemaker and a foster mom to hundreds of kids for most of my life, and no one can dare say she didn’t work. Yet no matter how busy she was, she always had time for me. She was and is my personal cheerleader. When things get rough or I need to make important life decisions, she’s my sounding board. I trust her judgment above my own and I know she loves me unconditionally, no matter my choice. She was the first person I screamed in the phone to when our miracle occurred and the white pregnancy test stick showed pink.
Until I became a mom, I never understood why she would say “just make me something,” when asked what she wanted for Mother’s Day. Of course, as I grew into a teenager, I learned to ignore this request, discovering the convenience of greeting cards and store-bought presents.
Until I held my first crayon-scrawled folded notebook paper with a pencil-colored misshapen face – my face – and looked into the expectant face of my proud 5-year-old, I couldn’t grasp the importance of hand-made over store-bought.
And now my baby is 25, on the cusp of 26, and I understand completely. The sentiment may be beautiful, the card hand-picked from many choices, but it’s not her words. It’s not her drawings.
So I don’t want boxed candy, a flower that will eventually die, even a DVD I claimed I can’t live without this Mother’s Day. In the blink of an eye, time passed much more quickly than I ever thought it could. Meghan is a successful, beautiful young woman, out on her own in another state and now, I’m happy to be her personal cheerleader like my mom is for me.
This particular Mother’s Day in social isolation, she’s not flying in to spend the weekend with me. We are doing a Zoom meeting with my mom, sister, my daughter, and her daughter who’s celebrating her first Mother’s Day. Though it’s bittersweet that we can’t be together in person, we are grateful for the technology to allow us to be together virtually.
My baby grew up to be an amazing artist and I plan to adopt my mom’s mantra this Mother’s Day in social isolation and those still to come. Don’t order me something on Amazon. Just make me something.
(Dedicated with love to my mom, Jean Bostock. Look Mom, I made you something.)