Friday, May 12, 2006

An embarrassment of riches

Like most women who have experienced either infertility or miscarriages, I have had ambivalent feelings about Mother's Day in the past. I was cataloguing past Mother's Days in my head last night and came up with this list:

  • 1997-1999: missing my own mother
  • 2000: trying to get pregnant, afraid I wouldn't be able to
  • 2001: newly pregnant - happy happy happy...
  • 2002: my first Mother's Day as a mom
  • 2003: see 2000
  • 2004: still in the phase of immediate grief after Celeste's death
  • 2005: pregnant with Rocco, scared he wouldn't be healthy
Truly, until this year, I think I have always associated Mother's Day more with my own mother, who died too young, than I have with myself. My mother, her mother and Celeste all died within a few weeks before Mother's Day (different years, thank goodness), so over the last decade, I've often spent the day missing people that weren't with me instead of feeling celebratory.

2006 is shaping up quite differently, and it's taken me by surprise. WonderGirl made a card for me already, and it's taking every bit of her willpower not to describe it to me in gory detail. A typical exchange over the last few days:

WonderGirl: I made you a card! But I won't tell you what it looks like or where I made it.
Ruth: How exciting! Okay, don't tell me about it, it'll be a surprise.
WG: Guess where I made it.
R: I don't know.
WG: At school, in the atelier. But I won't tell you who helped.
R: Okay, sweetie.
WG: Daddy helped! But I won't tell you what it looks like.
R: Look, there's a tree!

In truth, I have been excited out of all proportion to actually see this card, because I know she's proud of it and I can't think of anything more meaningful. This year, she's old enough to express her feelings and thoughts in a (semi-)sophisticated fashion and I feel beyond lucky to be the recipient of some of them.

This morning, when I dropped Rocco and WonderGirl off, the school was having their annual Mother's Day breakfast - some pastries and oj set out for the moms, and everyone was in a "Happy Mother's Day!" kind of mood. It just seemed so wrong that not only do I get to actually be a mom, people give me cheese danish for it. It left me strangely emotional - I am so grateful to experience a Mother's Day that isn't heavily tinged with sadness, or worse, fear. I know that my mother and grandmother would be proud of the way I'm raising my kids, and they would all have a blast together. I will always be sad for my babies that didn't get to experience life, but I am at a point now of accepting what happened. Most importantly, I have two children now that need and want my full love.

For the women who are waiting for a Mother's Day that isn't fearful or sad, I hope that it happens for you soon, and that it is a rushing surprise for you in the same way it has been for me this year.

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