Sunday, May 8, 2011

On being a mother

As you may know, my journey to motherhood was long and full of heartbreak.  I remember finally being in the home stretch on my first Mother's Day -- hugely pregnant and on bed rest -- little knowing I would be holding my son in my arms within two weeks when he came three weeks early!
I'll never forget the first morning I was home with him; I was sitting alone with him in the living room at sunrise, gazing into his little face and feeling a love unlike any I'd ever known.  Suddenly, I had this thought: He's going to grow up and leave me one day.  I felt a stabbing pain and something like panic as I realized there was nothing I could do to stop it.
I have tried to explain this to people a few times, and I am never able to communicate this moment without sounding like a terrible person -- I mean, who doesn't want their child to grow up and have their own life?
I still struggle to find the words to say what I mean; that the moment wasn't about a smothering kind of love for my son...
instead, it was about realizing all at once that the love I felt for him at 2 days old was already so complete.  I felt the whole of it in that moment.  In one heartbeat, I saw the entire journey before me, up to and including the letting go, and accepted it.
Ben will be 14 in a couple of weeks, and I've tried so hard all these years to be there for him without doing everything for him.  I've yearned for him to learn to be independent.
I've tried to teach him to ask for help when he needs it, and feel there is someone backing him up, standing behind him, so that although he's an "only" child, he should never feel he is alone.
I'm proud of the young man he's becoming.  Yesterday, as we were out celebrating Mother's Day (my husband works on Sundays), his favorite thing to do was walk with his arm around my shoulders -- because he can now.  He's taller than me.
As I look towards Ben entering high school this fall, I remember that new mom sitting on the sofa with her heart in her throat...that letting-go time is fast approaching.
 But, oh, what a wonderful thing it has been, to be a mom!

Whether you're celebrating your mom, or missing and remembering her, or enjoying your own day, I wish everyone a happy Mother's Day weekend!

10 comments :

Barbara said...

I think you expressed it perfectly! "We hold our children's hands for a little while, but we hold their hearts forever." Remember that and maybe it will make it a little easier when the time comes. It's come twice for me, my oldest was forty yesterday, the day before Mother's Day this year and my youngest (adopted child) is 23 now. Time passes so quickly and I'm happy to see you living the time you have with your son. Happy Mother's Day!

Hugs XX
Barbara

Creative Wings Boutique said...

ur son is lucky to have such a loving mother
hugs

Beth Leintz said...

What darling pictures! You are one lucky Mom to have a teenage son who will walk with you in public much less put his arm around you- he sounds like a treasure. Happy Mother's Day

Spotted Sparrow said...

A very special and happy Mother's Day to you, Laurie! :)

Linda Sue said...

Laurie- you said it! YUP I think you speak for all MOms. We should have glued their legs together when we had the chance- that way they couldn't go very far very fast....successful parenting sucks....

Lisa said...

Oh Laurie- how lucky is he to have you for a mom! Every child should be so lucky. Even though Im not a mom I understood exactly what you meant. :)

Sandra said...

Laurie, I understood every word you said, I know I had those very same feelings with my son, also born 4 weeks early, and home so tiny, that I worried about him every second. Yes, it is very hard when it comes time to let go, mine are now, 40 and my son the baby born that year the day after mothers day will be 38 next Fri. Your son is very lucky to have such a loving mother,and you too are very lucky to have a teenage son who is not shy to show his love for you, that is so special. I hope you had a wonderful Mother's day.

Suz said...

Laurie,
You write so beautifully and so honestly. That is how we learn from each other. As a mother of an only child, I do understand so much of what you are saying. In fact, Katie does have a life away from us (REALLY!) at her boyfriend's but we still have such a deep connection.Mind you being a mother to be was not always easy(as her being a daughter to me, as well) but at thirty, we have worked out so many differences and are friends, as well. I think I enjoy hanging around with her more than any other person. She loves to hold my hand when we walk down the street. How cool is that? Just realizing some people reading this could think it is all "not cool."
Oh, well!

Angela said...

Just like we are great friends, I think David and Ben would be the best of friends! They sound so much alike! Lucky US! :o)

Mina said...

This is so very sweet. I love the pictures and being able to share your beautiful memories.