Yesterday was my 6th Mother’s Day and for the first year it meant something to me. I guess that didn’t come out right. Of course the other times meant something, but being a mother of three little ones somehow resonated more to me on the day. I feel like at this point all of my parenting battle scars are badges of honor, part of what makes me, well, me.
I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to days honoring me. I like to make sure I get the day I want, so that includes choosing the itinerary, selecting presents, etc. I know how to make me happy. The day went well. My requirements were we spend time outside, go to the bookstore, and I made a special dinner of chicken tawook and fatoush salad.
The kids were happy. I was happy. Husband was happy. It was what I would call a success.
And then, on the way home from a nice time at a park, I’m browsing through Facebook while my husband drove (something he hates) and I read about somebody I went to school with whose baby passed away. The same baby that was born 15 days after my 8 week old.
At first I thought it was some sort of horrible April Fools joke but as I re-read it I saw that it was true. Surreal. Unthinkable. One of those moments that you just can’t wrap your mind around.
I was stunned, my heart ripped in half thinking about how somebody experiencing moments with their new baby–the same moments I was simultaneously experiencing with my own baby– could lose all of that in a flash.
How life could change so drastically–to be on top of the hill one moment, and so far down in a hole the next. We were just looking at her gender reveal pictures, her birth announcements, her newborn photos she posted, so proud of her new baby. She was so proud of her family, and now one of them is gone forever.
There aren’t enough words to describe the loss of a child and nothing that can accurately capture the intense pain one would feel. Having never lost a child of my own, I can’t even begin to describe it. But I do know the feeling of a mother’s love for her children, boundless and deep and forgiving and generous and stronger than any other force, and knowing that makes me hurt for this broken mother.
The whole thing startled me. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I still can’t. It made me look a little deeper at my own children, trying to memorize the brown of their eyes, their birthmarks, facial expressions, tiny voices–I want to record every inch of them in my memory forever. I don’t want to forget anything. I hugged them tighter before bed and smelled their hair, kissing their soft cheeks. I took a deep breath and looked around my home, thankful that we are healthy and happy and together, because in this life you just never know.
I was thinking about how sad I felt for half the day–Mother’s Day–and thought about that loving mother grieving her baby boy. It made me truly appreciative of this job I have, this special role of mothering three human beings and helping them make their place in this world. I have to remind myself that when they don’t take naps or are fighting or throwing their dinner on the floor or running off in the store or grating on my very last nerve, I have to pull back and remind myself that it is a luxury to feel what I feel.
Some mothers don’t have it so easy.