It’s my first time on the other side of this gig, this whole multi-million dollar Mother’s Day shebang.
It’s my first time being celebrated, instead of celebrating others, My first time being the subject of whispers and the reason for tiptoed plans.
I think I must be doing something right, because my lovely daughter is just the most thoughtful baby ever. She gifted me with a solid ten hours of sleep, and then Adam scooped her as soon as she woke up and let me sleep in until an embarassingly late hour.
Then, when I finally dragged myself out from between the sheets there was flowers and fruit, tea AND coffee, and a sweet “World’s Best Mom” certificate, signed with the painty pawprints of both Olive and Gus. (I have a feeling Gus probably organized that one, clever boy.)
One year ago today, I was here:
16 weeks pregnant, and writing a post about how we didn’t celebrate Mother’s Day, because I wasn’t a mother yet. I hadn’t yet discovered that verb, to mother. I hadn’t discovered the width and breadth of it, the sleepless nights and dirty diapers and heart-shattering pulse of it , all of that was yet to come and although I was antsy for it and desperate to experience it and I got a lump in my throat thinking about it, we didn’t celebrate.
I distinctly remember thinking to myself, Next Mother’s Day I will have a seven month old. It seemed so fantastical, like saying “Next week I will be a millionaire”, or “Next month I will be sipping fine champagne from Gosling’s exquisite belly button”.
But here we are. Celebrating my very first Mother’s Day, with the girl who made me a mother.
Even better, I now find myself in the middle of this little celebration sandwich, being feted and feting others, too.
Having become a mother myself, the significance of the mothers in my life has loomed to ten times their former size. Growing up I remember my mom, obviously, I remember her comforting and scolding and reminding and motivating, and I even recall, hazily, her with my little sisters as infants. But that is absolutely nothing in comparison to seeing her with Olive, seeing through my grown-up adult eyes how she is with babies, how deeply she loves, how she physically can not bring herself to visit without a bag full of gifts, how she’s already planning sleepovers and tea parties for when Olive is older.
Seeing my mom interact with my daughter has been a fascinating little glimpse into how she must have interacted with us. The same instinctive rocking and shushing movements, the same words and phrases, echoes from thirty odd years ago, cloaking Olive in the same sense of security that I always felt. That strong, warm, Oil of Olay scented safety.
Being here, now that I have become a mother, now that I have mothered, I am incredulous as I look backwards. I’m in awe as I realize again and again that everything I am doing for Olive, everything I have done and will do, she did for me. And for my brother Liam, and for my sisters Lizzie, Claire, Hilary and Mawney.
She did this, all of this that I am doing, TIMES SIX!
Internets, could not create a better role model if I tried.
Everything I know about this strange journey towards motherhood has been learned – through word, deed and example – from this magnificent lady here.
And of course, there is one other mother, too. One I managed to luck into through marriage instead of claiming by birthright.
One who managed to survive raising a daughter, and then these two:
(Adam and his twin sister Leigh, circa oh my god I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe! The shorts! The shirt! The sunglasses! The STANCE!)
She managed to survive raising him (which, if you know Adam at all, is no small feat) and she passed him off to me and then two months ago she not only welcomed our little ragtag family into her home, but even seems to enjoy it. Kind of a lot.
We always joke about Adam, Cathy and I. But the truth is that she deserves at least half the credit for the fact that he is one of the most strong, loyal and truthful men I’ve ever met. He’s respectful of women, hard working and not afraid to cry either (like while watching Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Adventure, for example).
I am so lucky to have two incredible moms, Olive is even luckier to have two amazing Grandmas, and you, Internets, are the luckiest, because for Mother’s Day I have gifted you with the best gift of all – scrawny ten year old Adam dressed in the finest the early 90’s had to offer.
And Happy Mother’s Day.