As we worked out the plans for Mother's Day over the past week I became just a tad disappointed. Well...to tell on myself, it was probably more like a tad selfish. By the time we made the plans to honor my mom and Nelson's mom, there was no time left for me. I didn't linger on these feelings, but they did float through my mind.
Don't get me wrong, I love my mother. In fact, the more time I spend as a mother myself, the more I love her. She has taught me so much about the selflessness that is being a mother that I am really ashamed that I even felt the way I did.
And Nelson's mom, well let me just say that I have a mother-in-law that I not only tolerate, but who I truly love. The greatest part is that I know she loves me too. The more time I spend with my wonderful husband, the more I appreciate and respect her for the man she raised.
So, now you may understand that although my "me" feelings did come in, I didn't invite them to stay. I know how blessed I am to have two women in my life to honor on this day. I feel sure that all too soon there will come a day where Mother's Day becomes mine alone and I will long for these days.
After my husband informed me last night that he went to pick up my present at 2 p.m. from a place that closed at noon, I went to bed with zero expectations. I wasn't sad. I wasn't depressed. I just looked at it for what it was and counted my blessings.
This morning I was awakened by my loving husband and my three precious blessings bringing me breakfast in bed. Not just any breakfast mind you, but French toast (my favorite), bacon, and strawberries sliced in perfect fans. It was a wonderful gift. I sat up in bed as three pair of hungry eyes gazed at my food and waited anxiously for my verdict.
I took a bite of the toast and oohed and ahhed over it. Then the requests poured in. "Can I have a bite of your toast Mama?" "Can I please have a bite?" "Me too! Me too!" I lovingly cut away and doled out bite after bite. Next, of course, came, "Can I try the bacon too?" "Ooh yeah, can I please have a bite?" The next thing I knew, the last request polished off the half of piece of bacon I had left. "Oops! Sorry Mama.” In the midst of all of this the cat jumped in and out of bed several times ending up on the bedside table drinking my glass of milk. It was the perfect mom morning.
As I sat in church before mass and watched Mackenzie bring flowers to Mary's altar in the May crowning procession, those sweet, hungry, excited faces came back to me. I thought of my other mother, Mary, and all I've learned from her. Then I recalled one of the most important lessons I've learned about motherhood.
When you become a mother, you're faced with the hard cold fact that the world no longer revolves around you. With the entry of your first little one into the world, you learn very quickly that it's no longer about what you want. With each additional child, you lose a little more of that selfish side of you. It's not often an easy departure but one that is taken on lovingly and willingly because all that energy is much better invested in these little souls given to you by God.
I became a mother when I had Mackenzie, but it's taken me awhile to learn how to be a mama. Being a mama involves so much more than having a baby. It means no longer sleeping when you want for however long you want. It means giving over your body to a hungry infant. It means eating cold food because of multiple trips to the bathroom. It means learning to change a diaper and breastfeed in public without being conspicuous. It means repeating yourself dozens of times a day and answering questions by the hundreds.
It also means being the recipient of millions of hugs and kisses. It means holding that tiny hand in yours knowing that you just joined with God himself in creating this miracle. It means staying awake just to listen to the faintest sounds of breathing. It means celebrating the REALLY big moments of life like taking the first steps, saying the first words, going potty on the potty the first time and losing the first tooth.
These are lessons that our moms already know. They are lessons that I continue learning with each passing day. I am so grateful to God for saving me from my own self-centeredness and throwing me into the depths of self-sacrifice. I am a better person for it.
I AM MAMA.