My children didn’t come to me in the usual way. I was there to receive my daughter Tessa when her first mom delivered her many years ago. Two years later I became mom to Reed thanks to his first mom.
Because I missed out on pregnancy, sometimes people wonder when I felt like a “real” mom.
I have loved them both from the the moments I knew of their existence. But the lovin’ wasn’t proven until Tessa was about 3 months old.
My Admittance to the Sisterhood of Mothers
Roger had a conference in Costa Rica one summer, and I didn’t want to miss the chance to travel with him. So we recruited two babysitters — the kind who buy their own airline tickets and hotel room — a/k/a “parents.” My parents.
Listen To Your Mother Show in Denver, 2013
Three-month-old babies have a surprising amount of stuff. Clothing, diapers, wipes, and (in our case) formula, bottles, washing paraphernalia and drool cloths. One of the bulkiest things a baby needs is a bath seat that fits in a bathtub or over a sink. Bulky!
Not everyone gets warm Hallmarky feelings about Mother’s Day. While the maternally privileged (like me, currently both having a mom and being a mom) buy cards and flowers and/or receive cards and flowers, others dread this time of year.
Many of these Mother’s Day dreaders are connected through the experience of adoption, some also through infertility. Who are some of these outliers?
Women experiencing infertility
Women who are waiting to adopt or who have adopted
Women who placed a baby for adoption
People who were placed for adoption
Though the situations are different, healthy strategies for getting through mid-May with one’s sanity intact are similar (as excerpted from the book I wrote with my daughter’s birth mom, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption).
The ambiance in the car is electric, each of us holding pent-up feelings. Tessa is in the back, eager to assume her job of handing out programs and seating people. She’s crimped her hair and carefully picked out her dress and I can’t believe this lovely tween was once a tiny baby I could hold in the crook of an arm.
Sitting next to Tessa is my new friend Stephanie. I haven’t known her long, but I feel I know her intimately. It’s because I have been privy to the amazing piece she is going to read tonight, the one about mommy guilt that is sure to make everyone in the audience nod their heads. A gorgeous and witty woman, Stephanie exudes both confidence and a little nervousness, just like I am probably doing. She tells us that she’s thrilled that her husband and so many of her friends will be at the show, but she’s sad her mom won’t be able to come from out of state.*
Gretchen, my fella** MileHighMamas writer, is riding shotgun. She looks stunning, even more so than usual. Gretchen has this inner calm, an unflappability, cultivated perhaps by being the mother of 9 children. Yet alongside her zen is the same excitement I’m feeling.
I’m rarely this gussied up. For once, I’m not wearing yoga pants but an outfit that took some actual thought to put together. And heels. For once, I have makeup on, much to Tessa’s delight. For once, I have actually spent time on my hair. All this primping has added to the electricity I’m feeling, the jitters inside my jitters.
I’m driving on I-70 to get us to the Listen To Your Mother Show. Tonight we three will each take our position at the podium and share a 4-minute piece of our lives with an audience of 300. But what is more nausea-inducing is the idea that our show will be taped and put on YouTube in a few months for all the world to see.
We chat as a means to release tension. We talk about wishing we had false eyelashes so we’ll look better on camera. We talk about getting our kids cared for for the evening when all our usual babysitters will be in the audience. We talk about nerves and keeping our voices clear and drinking just the right amount of water, enough to keep our throats in good condition but not enough to have to conspicuously leave the stage during the 90 minute show.
In the midst our sweet anticipation, this curious mixture of anxiety and excitement, an unmistakeable guitar riff comes on the radio, one that takes you right back to wherever you were and whatever you were doing the summer of 1988. “She’s got a smile it seems to me | Reminds me of childhood memories.”
I can’t help myself. I blast Sweet Child o’ Mine (what an apt title for people on their way to a show about mothers and children.) And in spite of having two people in the car whom I normally would not subject to my singing, I blare right along with Axl Rose. I mean top of my lungs blare, singing with wild abandon. Well as much as I can while piloting the Pilot at 35 mph (we have now exited the highway to Colorado Boulevard).
I don’t care what Tessa says (she is protesting madly in the backseat), and I don’t worry what my friends think (maybe they are singing along with me; I’m in my own world so I don’t really know). All I know is that it feels so GOOD to be cruising along on this glorious early spring afternoon with these three young ladies, enjoying a nostalgic and rockin’ song on the radio, heading toward what is sure to be one of the peak nights of my life, all while clearing the cobwebs of my vocal cords.
I know in this moment that I”m having a perfect moment. All senses converge with clarity and presence. I feel deep gratitude that this is my life.
From later in the evening:
* Stephanie’s mom later surprises her at the front door to the theater.
** What’s the feminine version of the word “fellow”?
Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between.
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