After nearly 49 years of of wishing others a "Happy Mother's Day!", it was very odd to have them wish it to me. I received wonderful cards, e-mails and phone calls from family and friends with beautiful sentiments to commemorate my first Mother's Day. (It still seems weird even as I write this.)
Each year, I have thanked my mother for who she was (and still is) as well as all that she did for me in my life; for being my mom and my friend. I thought I knew what that meant; however, I realized this year that I what I thought it meant did not even scratch the surface of what it truly means to be a mother. In just the past 3 days, I have encountered a great range of emotions: the pain of her crying and screaming as she receives vaccines, while blood is being drawn or while trying to soothe a finger that got caught in her booster seat tray; the frustration (for all!) of being unable to lull her to sleep; the joy of her watching her grow and seeing her accomplish new feats such as taking her first steps by herself and let out a real belly-laugh. How do mother's do it; giving so much of themselves day after day, year after year? It must be love. Motherhood...it is a truly remarkable state of being.
Most new moms have the chance to see their children's "firsts" and I thought that there would be little opportunity for me to her "firsts" since Willow was 18 months when we adopted her. You know what, though? They may not be firsts for her but they are for me! Therefore, Mom and I were a little stunned and incredibly thrilled to see Willow take her first steps this past week! (Sorry, I did not have the camera with me but have learned my lesson to have it as part of my "get out and go" paraphernalia. Give me a break...I'm still new at this.) Our little girl who spent most of our time in China in a stroller is now beginning to walk! her. And out of that, a whole new world opens up for her as she began to show interest in the lion walker (from Aunt Kathleen, Uncle Howie and her cousins) and to use it all by herself.
And to see her feeding herself! I cannot help but think back to our time in China when we needed to feed her. Boy, oh boy, she sure has gotten good at using the spoon!
For me, this is what motherhood is all about!
And how did we celebrate Mother's Day? Well, on Saturday, we joined Gran (Wáipò) at a Mother-Daughter Tea given at one of the churches whose fellowship Gran enjoys and if you will pardon the near-bragging tone, Willow was the belle of the ball!
Willow asks Gran for more tea.
But gets more juice instead.
With Gran and Annie Beyerly (left)
With Gran and Marjorie Clark (below)
Mother, Daughter, Grand-daughter
On Sunday, we decided to surprise an old friend and show up at her church for the 10:00 am service. We met The Reverend Alice Downs when she was the interim rector at our church in Metuchen nearly ten years ago. After her time in Metuchen, she went onto St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Keansburg as their vicar. We have had the great fortune of being able to keep in touch with Alice and her husband (The Reverend) Dean Henry for we all shared one thing in common: the love of Maine. Alice and Dean have a house in Southwest Harbor; the same town where we have a time-share. Each fall, we meet up there and enjoy wonderful tea and cookies while we catch up with each other's lives, usually in front of a roaring fire. Needless to say, Alice and Dean were right there with us every step of the way in the adoption process and its ups and downs. They provided great support throughout the process, especially during the interminable periods of waiting. So what better way to start Mother's Day than attending the church of a treasured friend.
And surprise her we did! We arrived about two minutes before the service was to start as she was getting ready to process in. Quick hellos, hugs and an introduction to Willow were exchanged so as not to delay the service. During the service, Alice asked us to come up to the front of the church for the Thanksgiving for an Adoption prayer. It never ceases to amaze me how moving prayers can be. I began crying, Alice was trying not to and before you knew it, the whole place was in tears! Except for Willow who was making her way up and down the pew. Anyway, it was wonderful. (Thank you, Alice for your part in making my first Mother's Day so special.)
Please accept our apologies if Alice was late getting home for lunch with the Bishop.)
After church, we went for brunch. Michael ordered is signature breakfast dish: pancakes with fresh strawberries and bananas and LOTS of whipped cream. (Look familiar, Alice?!)
And, in spite of having already had breakfast, Willow was ready to dig in to her meal of eggs and hash browns with both hands!
As we were leaving, the cashier said to Willow, "I hope you bought a nice gift for your Mom."
"She is my gift," I replied.