Let me start by saying that I continue to put my very dry foot in my very accommodating mouth on a regular basis.
We have made it a Mother's Day tradition to go to a local homemade ice cream stand on Mother's Day because if you have a coupon, and a child who will admit to being yours (my two year old denied me and will henceforth be referred to as Simon Peter...thank you sweet four year old, for the ice cream and the acknowledgment) you may get a free hot fudge sundae. So that's where we went around 6:30 this evening. We knew one set of neighbors would be there, and recognized another shortly after we got there. Both of these families are expecting babies this month, so I approach the gestators and cheerily call out "So you're both still hanging in there." And out of the corner of my eye I see a baby carriage, and in slow motion, my brain says "Oh shit...you idiot," while one says to me, laughing "No, E had her baby." And I peer into the carriage , congratulating her on her new son, hoping that the "Oh f*uck" that keeps repeating in my head isn't oozing out, so that instead I'm saying, "F*uck, another boy...f*ck he is beautiful," because that's not what I meant to say. But seriously, in my defense, she's a less than a week post-partum. We all know what that can look like...at least I do now. She was standing next to the one who is still pregnant, but barely looks it. She looks less pregnant now, two weeks from her due date, than I did just prior to delivering Simon Peter at 30 weeks. So really, they looked sort of the sme to me. I forgot that when I saw E three weeks ago, she was looking very. obviously. close. to delivering, and much more pregnant than L. Not so much anymore. And the other thing clouding my judgment is my lack of weight gain when pregnant myself. I gained a grand total of one pound while pregnant with Ruthie. And maybe 8 when pregnant with Helen. I'm not small to begin with, so I probably looked pretty close to the same after I delivered as I did before I got pregnant. So, really, I'm just sorry I'm such an ass. Really.
Today, aside from that, was a great day. My fifth Mother's day, and probably my best so far. We didn't do much. I didn't cook once. I only changed one diaper. I made someone at church really happy with a small gesture. I took a nap. It was blissfully simple. Today was my Mother's birthday. It did occurr to me today that the last time my mother's birthday and Mother's Day fell on the same day was the worst Mother's Day I have ever had. It was five years ago. You might do the math and wonder, knowing my oldest just turned four, why I would care how Mother's Day was when I wasn't a mother yet myself. Exactly. I wasn't a mother yet myself. But I should have been. Or damn near close. Five years ago, the day after Mother's Day was the date our first baby was due. I hesitate to even use the term "first baby", as that is usually reserved for Ruthie these days. But what else would I call him? or her? In the eyes of many, he (or she) wasn't even a baby yet. Ten weeks gestation. Only really the size of a five week baby, according to ultrasound. But a beating heart. For a little while. And I understand that to someone else, there maybe wasn't a baby. But you could never, ever tell me that my baby wasn't a baby. It doesn't exactly feel right to me to talk about my embryo that was died. So just humor me and call it my baby. I think I reluctantly went to see my own mother that weekend. My reluctance had nothing to do with not wanting to see her. It had everything to do with the chasm that had formed from my own grief. It felt like the rest of th world was carrying on with their laughter and gleefulness and celebratory things, while I was in a glass box, watching. And while I wanted to be free of my pain, I didn't. Because that would mean forgetting. And forgetting my pain would mean forgetting my baby, I thought. I still wanted nothing but to stay safe inside the cocoon of my own home, with my husband. Earlier that week I had mustered the strength to visit my neighbor across the street, who had just delivered her second daughter. She and I were due two days apart. To say that visit hurt, that visit was hard, would be a gross understatement. I'm pretty sure I ran across the street crying when I had visited for a sufficiently polite period of time. Ran to my cocoon. And I was facing the baby shower of a good friend just a few weeks later. I wanted nothing more than to go to sleep, wake up months later, and be told I was pregnant, and past the point of danger. (Of course, my idea of a danger point has drastically changed since then. No longer do I think that once you are out of trimester one, you are home free. I know better.) But that was not to happen. And it would be months, about four, before we would once again learn we were expecting, and it would be six months of worry, and legitimate scares, before our tiny daughter entered the world three months early. And it would be seven weeks before we could bring her home. And then three or four more before Mother's Day again. And this time we would spend it crying, both my daughter and me, because she had decided she was partial to drinking breast milk from a bottle, and I decided that was not going to be how it would go. Because I knew that as she continued to grow, the amount I would pump would not be enough. And with the blessing of our pediatrician, I would take all her bottles away that weekend, and it would take her three days to figure out that all the crying in the world would not get her that bottle back. And she would finally surrender, likely an act of survival as opposed to conceding to my good judgment. But one of those days in between would be Mother's Day. But all the crying and torment and worry couldn't make it as bad as the one before. Two years after we were in the midst of trying to figure out why little baby Helen was regularly bleeding from her tiny bum. (She's fine...turned out to be a milk allergy.) So I doubt I need to explain any further why today's uneventful day was blissful. And I'm grateful that I can remember of our first baby and recall the agony of it all, but no longer be consumed by my grief. I know the loss of that baby made Ruthie possible for us. If that's what I had to go through to get her, then that's okay. Really.
To all my friends and family who are moms, and especially my own mother, Happy Mother's Day. I hope it was great. And Happy Birthday Mom! I love you!