Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Today, on Mother's Day, I want to share a few fond memories I have of my mother (pictured above with me as a baby on my grandparents' front porch).  I remember when I was three years old, my preschool teacher had each of us make a handprint in plaster of paris (or something like that) and when it hardened, she spray-painted it gold and we gave it to our mothers for Mother's mother held on to this for many years, even when it chipped.  I remember when I was about five or six years old, she was trying to teach me how to blow a bubble with my gum.  Unfortunately, we were in the car at the time, and I didn't quite have the gum positioned just right between my teeth...and it went flying across the car at her!  Instead of getting mad, she laughed!  :)

My mother LOVED yard sales...and she still loves finding a deal!  I remember getting up early Saturday mornings to go to yard sales with her...finding little treasures here and there, and just spending time with her.  I think that's what I loved most of all...spending time alone with her.  She worked for the telephone company...and when the office she'd worked for most of her adult life closed up in our small town, she had to transfer to work in a city that was an hour or more away from where we lived, so I didn't see her much during the week during that time.

My mother always wanted the best for us and she made sure each major holiday was one to remember!  My brother and I would wake up on Christmas and Easter mornings (that is, if we ever actually made it to sleep in the first place!) to find quite the stash from Santa or the Easter Bunny.  Now, as a parent, I realize what a sacrifice that was for our parents...but I think she enjoyed seeing the excitement on our faces as we discovered some of the very things we had been longing most for...and those items were always there!  Those days were truly magical...even after we discovered the truth about who actually left the gifts!  ;)

My mother had great dreams for her children...she wanted my brother to be a doctor and she wanted me to be a nurse.  However, we didn't share her dreams...and we both became civil servants in our professions - my brother a police officer, and me a teacher!  ;)  But...she's getting part of her wish with my sister-in-law, who is currently studying to be a nurse - so, at least there's one person in the family in the medical profession!  ;)

My mother has always called me her favorite daughter and my brother her favorite son...good thing she only had one of each!  ;)  Now, she calls my brother's wife Stephanie her favorite daughter-in-law and my hubby David her favorite son-in-law.  She has welcomed both Stephanie and David into the family as if they were her own children and loves them every bit as much!  :)

One thing is for mother absolutely LOVES her grandchildren with her WHOLE HEART!  Every time I talk with her, she's telling me of something she is doing or has just done with my brother's boys...and I can sometimes hear her heart break that she is unable to do some of the same things with my boys due to the physical distance between us.  But when we go up to visit, she makes sure to do something special with ALL of her grandsons!  It may be a day at the park, a movie, or just having my brother's boys over for a cousin sleepover...and even pitching a tent in the family room for the boys to "camp in" together!  And these boys sure do love their Gran, too!  :)

I am blessed to have a mother who has taught me so much, who has stood by me even in the most difficult times, and who loves my boys with her whole heart!  And so today, I want to say THANK YOU and I LOVE YOU, MOM!!!  HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!  :)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Loving Sacrifice

On this day before Mother's Day...Mother's Day Eve, if you will, I am reminded of a women who may find this day very bittersweet.  On some level, I can understand...but I know I will never fully understand. 

There was a time in my life when Mother's Day was a very bittersweet day for me.  I was thankful for my own mother and for my grandmother, who was also very influential in my life, and happy to celebrate them both...but it also served as a reminder of what I so desperately longed have a child I could call my own.

But one woman, who has lived a very hard life and made some unwise choices along the way, changed all that for me!  Because of her sacrifice, I could know the joy of being a mother, and I have a lot of respect for her for making some very difficult and self-less choices!  She was willing to allow the child growing inside of her to continue to live in her womb until he was ready to be born.  A child she knew she was not in a position to care for, but whom she loved very deeply.  Because of her love for this little boy, she sought out a family to adopt him...and she chose us!   When this little boy was born, the nurses placed him in her arms.  She looked at him with so much love in her eyes, snuggled with him for a moment...and then said the words I will never forget - "I think your MOMMY wants to hold you now!"  And with that, she handed him back to the nurse, who handed him over to me.  To this day, the very memory of that moment sends a rush of emotions to my heart and tears to my eyes.  This woman, who had just labored for several hours in very hard labor, just called ME his MOMMY!  Excited, I took him from the nurse and for the moment, his birth mother was forgotten.  That is a moment that I wish I could do offer her the thanks that she deserved, instead of being all wrapped up in the little miracle in my arms.  The little boy I sat breathlessly by as I waited for him to take his very first breath.  The little boy I'd overheard the doctor say just prior to his birth had the cord wrapped twice around his neck.  The little boy that caused a flood of tears in my eyes and down my cheeks as I finally heard that sweet (and LOUD) cry I had been longing to hear.  The little boy we named Christopher and took home the next day.

And as if that weren't enough, almost eight years later, this same woman found herself with another baby growing in her womb that she didn't feel equipped to raise...and once again, she chose us!  She went back to the same agency that had brought us together before and they made a phone call to us.  Immediately, our hearts soared with the possibilities...and we asked God to work out the details - and He did!  About 8 months after that phone call, I was blessed again to be in the delivery room with this woman - this time, a c-section delivery.  I had the privilege of praying with her several times during the delivery and in the days that followed at the hospital.  Again, she constantly referred to me as this little boy's mommy, even asking for my permission to hold him and to sign paperwork the hospital handed her on his behalf!  Never once did she take any credit for all she had done to give him life.  Instead, she thanked me over and over again for giving him a home with his brother!  Three days later, after having the joy of spending each one of those days not only bonding with my newest son - but also getting to know his birth mother and her family, we gave our little boy a name and took him home...our precious Jayden!

This woman endured physical pains I may never know, and emotional pains I will never feel - all so I could be a mother...and she did it twice!  I will always respect her and appreciate her for that!   I know she may never see this post, since our adoption is only semi-open (which means we met each other, but identifying information such as addresses and last names were not shared & all contact goes through the agency)...but nonetheless, I wish her a very Happy (Birth) Mother's Day - because without her, I would not BE a mother to two of the biggest blessings in my life!  :)

On a side note...if you know of a woman who finds herself in an unexpected pregnancy, whether she is choosing adoption or to raise the child herself, be an encouragement to her!  My sons' birth mother shared with me during our time together at the hospital that she had so many people (at church, no less!) give her grief about choosing adoption for Jayden.  Knowing this, and other similar examples of her determination to do what was right for the boys she carried, I know without a shadow of a doubt that she is a stronger woman than I will ever be!  She loved these boys every bit as much as I do...and she loved them enough to give them the best she could...even if that meant she would never see them again!  I cannot even begin to imagine how she was able to make such a loving sacrifice...but I'm so thankful that she did!!!  :)