By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3
We moms love having an official Mother’s Day because people are generally extra nice to us all day long. They give us sweet cards or gifts, take us to lunch or dinner and we get to call the shots on what we’d like to do. We love that stuff. Truly.
But the real “Mother’s Day” happens all year long and comes in moments spread throughout the other 364 days – short little bursts of wonderful that often take us by surprise.
It starts with the birth of the little people who give us our job titles. Although I remember the entire 12-hour delivery with my firstborn, there is this one moment that rises above the rest. When he finally emerged and they laid him on my chest, I got my first up-close look at his face and he took my breath away. Of course, I expected him to have a face, but when I saw it, the whole “I just had a baby” thing really sunk in. He was a real person – not just a concept or a big bump under a maternity shirt. He was real and amazing and mine. Wow. What a moment.
With my second son, the big moment came shortly after his birth when I nursed him for the first time. Having already taken a spin around the breastfeeding block with my firstborn, I wasn’t scared or nervous the second time around because I knew what to do. When he latched on, we blissfully fell into sync. I remember thinking “How in the world could I be this blessed two times in a row.” Another amazing moment.
During the third time on the miracle train, I remember lying on the operating table while the doctor reassembled my abdomen after a C-section. I couldn’t see much because I was immobile and the nurses were cleaning off the baby a few feet away while my husband hovered over them.
Once she was all wrapped up, they handed her to Tom and the look on his face was unforgettable. He had just fallen in love with a six-pound girl, and he floated over to me and held her by my face. Her eyes were shut tight. I said “Hi, baby.” And she immediately opened her eyes wide and looked straight into mine. She knew my voice. She knew me. It was pure bliss.
Since those first moments with all three kids, there have been so many more. Sweet, pure, funny, gross, crazy, chaotic, heartbreaking, chest-swelling moments. I have documented many of them here in this chunk of blog space, and someday the kids will be old enough to read them and relive those moments with me.
Jack will read about the time during his potty-training phase when he peed in his Scooby Doo underwear while playing at Chick-fil-A’s crowded indoor playground, and then he proceeded to drop his soggy pants and proudly bear his naked nuggets to the world. Kate will learn how I let her feed me Goldfish crackers on an airplane – the same Goldfish crackers that I detest– just because it kept her entertained and not crying for a plane full of passengers. Adam will read about our long nights together fighting colic and what an emotional wreck I was just five short years later when he left for his first day of kindergarten.
So many moments in seven short years. They’re all stored up in my heart – a heart that’s forever tied to each of these amazing little people who waltzed into my life and made me into something better than I could have ever hoped for. Mother’s Day is happy because of all of those moments – each one a gift in its own way.
Sweet babies, your drawings and handpicked flowers and the gifts you pick out with Dad are wonderful. I love them, and I love you. But I never forget for a minute that I’m the lucky one here. The biggest challenge, the greatest joy and the highest honor of my life is to be your mother.
To all my fellow mothers, here’s wishing you a blessed Mother’s Day.