A Hidden Mother's Day Gift
By A Mother of a Hidden Pearl
Twas the night before Mother’s Day, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
My pillow was plumped in my bed over there,
In hopes that my children would treat me with care.
Hmmm, I wondered. What will my three kids do for me tomorrow?
Life with two emerging teenage boys and an eight-year-old daughter whom we adopted two years prior had drained me. I yearned for a break.
I devised the perfect plan to communicate my needs. Two days before Mother’s Day, I posted a message on Facebook for my husband to read: “I don’t need a fancy Mother’s Day present. I just want to sleep in and wake up to a clean house.” Hopeful expectations filled me as I dozed off. Little did I know, I was about to receive the most unexpected gift.
Here’s how Mother’s Day started:
1:00 AM– “Mom,” my thirteen-year-old son said as he stood beside my bed. “I’m all stuffed up.” I squinted and peered at him. Really? I thought. You woke me up for that? I felt like asking, “How old are you?” but compassion overruled. “It’s okay sweetie. It’s just a cold. Lie still in your bed, and on your side. Your nose will drain, and you’ll fall back to sleep.” Phew. Crisis averted. He returned to bed content.
3:00 AM – “Mommy. Mommy. Mommy.” My eight-year-old daughter bawled as she bolted into my room. “My ears and throat hurt.” I could hear my daughter but my eyes felt too heavy to open. “It’s okay honey,” I squinted as I finally opened my eyes. “Let me feel your head.”
A fever brewed. “You need some medicine,” I said. “It will take the pain away. We’ll see a doctor in the morning.” I got up, gave her Motrin, and held her in my lap. I rubbed her back and soothed her tears away. “How about you sleep with Mommy?” I suggested. She nodded and grinned. I nudged my husband to the edge of our queen-sized bed and then squeezed her in with us.
3:30 AM – I rubbed my daughter’s back and kissed her tears.
4:00 AM – I rubbed her back and whispered comforting words.
4:30 AM –More of the same.
5:00 AM – The magic hour. She fell asleep and so did I.
8:00 AM – “Happy Mother’s Day,” my oldest son exclaimed as he jumped on top of me and jolted me awake. My other children followed suit: “Happy Mother’s Day! Happy Mother’s Day!” Each gave me their heart-felt homemade cards.
Neither my night nor my day turned out as planned. I received neither the sleep nor the clean house, but I received something greater. My daughter’s ear infection and strep throat became an opportunity for me and her to attach with each other. All afternoon, I snuggled her, I gave her medication, and I soothed her. I felt privileged.
Mother’s Day exceeded my hopes. My children showered me with love, and peace reigned. What a gift in the most unexpected way!
To read more from A Mother of a Hidden Pearl, please check out their blog: http://ahiddenpearl.ca/a-hidden-mothers-day-gift/#more-344
Mother's Day Reflections From a Very Quiet House
By an Adopt4Life Member
My 21-year-old son moved west a couple of months ago for a seasonal job. This is the first year I won’t spend Mother’s Day with him, eating pancakes, going for a walk to see the cherry blossoms in the park, or begging for a photo of us together to share on Facebook—a mom privilege my social media-shunning son reserves for this special day.
As the mother of a newly independent adult, I feel like the title Mother still applies, but the verb, to mother, less so in practical terms. I no longer make evening meals, talk over college and job options, or dole out household chores. I don’t know if I’ll be making my son’s favourite coca-cola birthday cake next year, or if he’ll still be thousands of miles away from home.
The mental aspect of mothering does not end when the practical part is all but done. I still worry about my son every day: Is he eating vegetables? Is he settling into his new job? Is he homesick? Is he going to wild parties? Is he happy?
In quiet moments, I weigh up the past two decades, trying to figure out if I’ve taught him enough to make a good life for himself out in the world. I think back sadly at memories of harsh words or other parenting fails. And I am filled with nostalgia for different phases of his childhood, nostalgia for that Louis Sachar book that made us both cry when I read it aloud to him when he was six; for TV dinners watching Freaks and Geeks—our way of bonding when he was 15; for the three-year-long obsession with leprechauns that defined his daycare years. I hope that now he’s an adult we’ll continue to find new ways to connect. I feel like I still have a lot of mothering left in me.
I was about my son’s current age and in university when I gave birth to him. I’m twice that age now, and what I’ve lost in the ability to feed a baby through the night, then turn in a solid term paper the next day, I make up for in other ways that matter to mothering, like having a good sense of my own values and the ability to set and keep routines.
Being one of four siblings, I always imagined having a bigger family. When my son was around 16, I started exploring the idea of adoption. We felt that an older child, closer in age to him, would be the best fit for us. I’ve been Adopt Ready for several months now, and hoping, wishing and waiting impatiently to be matched. I thought we might have some time as a larger family before he flew the nest, but the call finally came from CAS a few weeks after his departure, and an initial meeting was set a week before Mother’s Day.
While I met my infant son in a crowded delivery room full of people focused on me and yelling “push,” I met my teenage daughter-to-be in a crowded Tim Hortons full of people going about their own lives over lattes and donuts. I wasn’t as sweaty second time round, but the nerves and excitement felt exactly the same.
I put no pressure on myself to expect connection on Day One. I was ready to be patient. But when I walked into the room and saw her face light up, I felt so much warmth towards this young woman it was nonetheless a relief. I was able to relax and enjoy our conversation, as we shyly asked one another questions about likes and dislikes, favourite foods, and hobbies—each of us with our caseworker, as if on a chaperoned first date. I know we still have a long way to go in getting to know one another and fully bonding. But it felt like a promising start.
It seems ironic that just as I’m switching from mother-of-one to mother-of-two, I’m spending Mother’s Day in a pin-drop-quiet, kid-free house with just a snoring dog for company. Yet as I sit here today eating the breakfast that I made for myself, I feel that I have much to be grateful for (not least of all for the miracle of Skype). And in this time of transition, I’m hopeful about mothering moments to come.