Mother’s Day

Sure, it’s a bit of a Hallmark holiday, but it’s nice to actually set aside a single day to think just about mothers. So, thanks, Hallmark.

It’s a peaceful morning so far. Daddy J gave me my beautiful mother’s day present – a series of three tree paintings that will go in my office – and we had coffee in the quiet house. The big boys are asleep upstairs with their cousins. I’m feeling pretty good, but also kind of gently sad. I’m so sad for cousin Katie, who is in town, and for Henry’s immediate family (please go sign the petition to seek justice for Henry if you haven’t already done so). I’m thinking about our three little babies who were miscarried. And about Wardie, of course.

And mostly I’m thinking about Rainbow’s birthmother, whom I’ve christened Noelle in some upcoming online writing. I failed again to get a mother’s day card to her – I’m SO BAD about remembering to send cards for special dates – but, like last year and the year before, I will write her a letter to let her know she was in my thoughts on mother’s day. I hope it’s an easy day for her, and that she feels pride and happiness knowing that Rainbow is in the world and is happy and thriving. I know she has grieved for him, and that it’s harder than I can imagine to carry a baby while planning to choose adoption, but she made it so that this amazing little boy is in the world today. She brought him here. A gift beyond measure.

I read this essay by Erma Bombeck this morning for the first time. I thought it would be another tongue in cheek, Erma Bombeck sort of thing, but it’s actually very poignant and perfect. Soon Goonie will bring Rainbow home from his overnight at her house, and I’ll get to love on that sweet boy. And then we will bury the ashes of Daddy J’s grandparents at the local cemetery. And then we’ll let the cousins play and visit with family on this beautiful summery day. And I’ll talk to my mom on the phone and make sure she knows how much I love her, and I’ll hug Rockinrolla and Brad tight. Delicious ambiguity, indeed.

If you are looking for an answer this Mother’s Day on why God reclaimed your child, I don’t know. I only know that thousands of mothers out there today desperately need an answer as to why they were permitted to go through the elation of carrying a child, and then to lose him or her to miscarriage, stillbirth, accident, violence, disease or drugs.

Motherhood isn’t just a series of contractions; it is a state of mind. From the moment we know life is inside us, we feel a responsibility to protect and defend that human being. It’s a promise we can’t keep. We beat ourselves to death over that pledge. “If I hadn’t worked through the eighth month….” “If I had only……”

The longer I live, the more convinced I become that surviving changes us. After the bitterness, the anger, the guilt, and despair are tempered by time, we look @ life differently.

This may seems like a strange Mother’s day column, on a day when joy and life abound for millions of mothers throughout the country. But it’s also a day of appreciation and respect. I can think of no other mothers who deserve it more than those who had to give a child back.

In the face of adversity, we are not permitted to ask “Why me?” You can ask, but you won’t get an answer. Maybe you are the instrument who is left behind to perpetuate the life that was lost and appreciate the time you had with them to do it.

The late Gilda Radner summed it up pretty well. “I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned the hard way that some poems don’t rhyme and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. LIFE is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what is going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.”

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. camille
    May 08, 2011 @ 17:00:20

    Beautiful, Mama Jamz. And very real. Today I’ll be holding in the Light all those mamas whose babes have been reclaimed.

  2. Jennifer
    May 12, 2011 @ 14:27:09

    Thanks for your thoughts on Mother’s Day. My family all made it a very nice day for me, but the next day I was extremely sad. I’m crying over, “It’s a promise we can’t keep.” Elijah’s 3rd birthday is next week, and I am dreading it. It was always such a happy day before.

  3. Mama Jamz
    May 12, 2011 @ 15:32:41

    Oh, Jennifer, I’m so sorry. It’s so hard. Birthdays after loss can be incredibly painful. I hope you get some glimmers of peace on the day. Yes, the promise we can’t keep is heartbreaking. We promise our kids to always take care of them and never let anything bad happen and that everything will be okay, and…

    This is what speaks to me in particular from Bombeck’s essay: “You can ask, but you won’t get an answer.” I’ve described to the big boys the feeling of being deposited at the bottom of a cliff and wanting so much to get back to the top, for things to be the way they were, and it just isn’t going to happen. I can beat my head on the cliff and yell at it, kick it and break my toe, and the cliff is just going to sit there. It won’t mock my efforts, but it won’t yield either. It’s just going to be there, huge and unmoving, for as long as I decide to argue with its presence.

    Acceptance was the hardest part for me. I wonder if its the hardest part for everyone.

    I’m very glad your family gave you a nice Mother’s Day, and I’m so very sorry for your pain.

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