Sunday, May 14, 2006

my first mother's day as a mother

It was so nice. And not just because it was Mother's Day, though that was special, too. When I got up, I had a card waiting for me from our unborn son that brought tears to my eyes. (It's the image at the right - a print of a painting by the St. Paul artist Barbara Evan. Steve bought it at the Art Crawl a few weeks ago, unbeknownst to me.) Then we had a fabulous brunch with Steve's sister and brother-in-law and their kids at Hell's Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis. (The food there is delicious. Steve and I split orders of lemon-ricotta pancakes, corned-beef hash with scrambled eggs, a side of bacon and a caramel roll, and we wolfed all of it down with lattes and freshly squeezed orange juice.)

What made the day wonderful was that so many of our family and friends came together to celebrate Stephen's graduation from the MBA program at a party I threw for him this afternoon. As he told me afterward, he's not used to having things be all about him, especially in his big family. And our party was definitely about him. Even though it was also about people checking out the nursery-in-progress and patting my belly, it was mostly about things like Steve's father telling his youngest son how proud he is of him. About his brothers and sisters taking the time from their Mother's Days to come spend the afternoon with us, some of them seeing our house for the first time. About his friends driving all the way up from Rochester to celebrate his accomplishment. It warmed my heart. He deserved to be the center of attention.

It was nice to have a Mother's Day that wasn't bittersweet, as Mother's Day used to be when Steve and I were going through fertility treatments and weren't sure if we ever would have a baby. Like last year. It was one of those holidays I wanted to downplay as much as possible - going shopping and staying out of restaurants and public places where moms and families congregate. I remember how much that sucked. I remember how the priest used to have moms stand up at church, and I would start weeping. I remember, shortly after I'd first moved to Minnesota, going to church with a coworker and her daughter, who had had three miscarriages, and how the daughter sobbed into her mother's shoulder. I imagine how Mother's Day must be for mothers who have lost children. So there is still a tinge of bittersweet, even though I'm pregnant now. And I can't help thinking about the people I know who still grit their teeth to get through the day.

Of course I got to talk to my own mom today, which was special, too - Mother's Day isn't just about being a mother, after all. Having my mother so far away is hard sometimes. I miss her, especially these days, when there's so much to talk about with my pregnancy. So it was nice to have our own chat today. (Even if I did miss part of The West Wing - which was, as I expected, emotional!)

(Edited Monday morning.)


Cynthia said...
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barbara said...

I never go to church on mother's day anymore. It's just too painful; I don't think even the CIA could come up a more horrific torture method. Last night I wrote a letter to the redhaired daughter I will never have and bawled my eyes out.
Still, I had a wonderful time seeing you and Steve yesterday! It feels so good to see how happy you both are. I'm glad we were able to celebrate Steve's graduation with you, and his family and other friends as well. (And yes, see the nursery, although I didn't pat your belly!)

Susanne said...

It's interesting, reading all these posts. How ironic it is that something that can cause so much joy can be so painful for someone else. Why does it have to be that way? Do all good things in life have a painful counterpart?

Maybe it's because we're older. For young mothers (25 of younger), maybe they view it as part of life. But older people, those of us who are becoming moms and those who aren't, we know more what's at stake, so both the joy and the sadness is intensified. Just a theory.