What I Didn’t Know on Mother’s Day Eighteen Years Ago

I was pregnant with my oldest son on Mother’s Day eighteen years ago. I hadn’t even felt his first kicks, but I knew I loved him. I couldn’t have known then how deeply that love would grow…

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Photo credit L.B., 2018

I was pregnant with my oldest son on Mother’s Day eighteen years ago.  All I had seen of my son was his heartbeat on an ultrasound monitor screen.  I hadn’t even felt his first kicks, but I knew I loved him.  The sappy Savage Garden song “I Knew I Loved You Before I Met You” was popular and I would burst into tears every time I heard it thinking of my unborn child. Sure pregnancy hormones likely played their part, but the truth was I already loved my son.  I felt the exact same way when I was pregnant with my second son ten years later.

The first time I held each of my sons and looked into their eyes, I was hooked.  It was love at first sight. I could never put into words how intensely I love my children, so I won’t even try.  I know this though, I would sacrifice my life for their lives in an instant without hesitation.  My instinct to protect them is primal. Anyone who seeks to harm my children should make peace with a higher power first because this mama bear is beyond ferocious. The joy I feel when my children are happy is deeper than any joy I have felt for myself.  I know I can’t shelter my boys from the pain that will inevitably touch them as they make their way through life, but I desperately wish I could. More than anything I hope my boys know that I love them unconditionally.

As I have nurtured and cared for my children, like most mothers, I sacrificed my own needs and wants.  I don’t regret this and I am not resentful.  It is simply a fact, a ubiquitous part of motherhood.  For the most part, it goes unnoticed.  I didn’t think my sons really saw me as a fellow human on my own journey in life.  I am their mom.  My job is to take care of them.  Period.  I can’t fault my sons because that’s how I thought about my own mother when I was growing up. I didn’t really see my mother with clarity and appreciate the sacrifices she made until I had children of my own. Why should my sons be any different?

Photo credit G.B., 2008

Well, my seventeen-year-old son is different. I first noticed it when he went out on his own to buy me a card this past Valentine’s Day. Sweet, right? Then he did the same last month for my birthday. It was this birthday card that reduced me to tears. In it my son wrote about how hard I work and that I always put my needs last. He said I don’t need to, but he knows I will anyway. Then he went on to say how much he loves me and appreciates everything I do.  Those sentiments were echoed in my Mother’s Day card too.  Somehow my teenage son saw me and the sacrifices I make.  I didn’t need him to. I didn’t expect him to. He did it anyway. Yes, he is an amazing kid. Yes, I am blessed.

My six-year-old son is holding his own too. He surprised me on Mother’s Day by making me a “fruity face” breakfast. While the blueberries and raspberries of the fruity face were mushed together, I knew every inch of it was made with love. The sweetest part happened when my son excitedly summoned me to see my surprise.  I felt the morning chill as I got out of bed and pulled on a fleece jacket. As I went to zip it up, my son stopped me jubilantly exclaiming “I’ll do it for you!” He proceeded to zip up my fleece jacket. My mind instantly leapt forward to some unknown moment in time when I was old and needed his help zipping a jacket. The thought that my sweet little boy was trying to take care of me now and might care for me in the same way forty or fifty years from now also reduced me to tears. The fact that he has fine motor challenges and zipping my fleece was hard for him wasn’t lost on me either. And he did it with a huge grin on his face. Yes, I am blessed.

Here is what I want to say to my sweet sons: I love you both more than life itself. Every sacrifice I have made is because I love you.  I would relive each and every moment because you, precious children, are my miracles. You have both made my life richer and more meaningful than I could have ever imagined. More than anything else in the world, I am most proud to call myself your mother.  So, sweet children of mine, thank you.  I am so very blessed.

Photo credit L.B., 2018

 

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