Obviously some of those emotions have steeped and developed over the years, and some newer (but no less potent) emotions have been added to the concoction as time has gone on. Sometimes I find it a little bit confusing, if not distracting, to try and figure out how to process all of the feelings at once. If I had to summarize this mish-mash of feelings into a short sentence it would go something like this, "Around Mother's Day I feel appreciation, gratitude, sorrow, empathy, and wonder." And, since I'm a list person...let me try to tease those things out a bit in list form (with lots of elaboration of course):
- Appreciation. Appreciation for the women in my life that have mothered me. Grandmothers & Great-Grandmothers, teachers, friends' parents, my mother in law...but most of all MY MOM! There is an element of appreciation that I think naturally grows with time and maturity, but I do agree that this level of appreciation seems to mature much more completely (at least for me) once becoming a mom one's self. I now have a greater appreciation for what my mom went through to bring me into the world. Even though I was old enough to remember my mom being terribly sick during her pregnancies with younger siblings, experiencing it now myself makes me so grateful that she did it for me (and 3 times over again so I could have my 3 awesome brothers). The appreciation for this stage is surely heightened for me currently since I'm sick and pregnant myself right now. However, the appreciation obviously extends beyond that stage to all the various selfless things that my mom has done for me over the last 33 years. All the things she's taught me. Encouragement she gave me. Time she spent with me. Things she went without so I could have things that I wanted. Right down to how she loves my children! She is an awesome grandma too! I love my mom, and I appreciate so much all that she has done, and still does, for me.
- Gratitude. While this emotion is of course intertwined with the things listed in #1...I mean gratitude more specifically for my own situation as a mother. I am grateful to be a mother! I am grateful for a wonderful birthmother that not only chose us to parent her child, but that she loved him (Noah) so much that she went through with this heart-wrenching decision even though it was so hard for her after he was born. Because of her I became a mother. Furthermore, I have been blessed twice more due to modern medicine (in vitro)! While every child, however they come into the world, is a beautiful gift...most couples don't rely on someone else to make the possibility of bringing a child into their family a reality. I am so grateful for Noah's birthmother. I'm grateful for the people who developed (and continue to refine) current assisted reproductive technologies. And I'm grateful for the physicians, embryologist, and nurses who gained the knowledge and training necessary to give me such a high quality of care which has been able to bless us with two more wonderful miracles!
- Sorrow. This word choice may sound melodramatic, but it is truly the appropriate word for the emotion that I'm trying to express. Just because I am now a mother doesn't mean that I magically forgot all the heartache and heartbreak that it took to get there. Over all the years of waiting and yearning to become a mother, each successive Mother's Day seemed to become more painful to me than the previous one. While I still had my own mother to be grateful for on this day each year, the looming sorrow to become a mother myself became more and more encompassing each year until Mother's Day itself became something that I dreaded. One expensive, painful procedure or surgery after another failed. Feeling like I was a failure myself. The roller coaster of adoption. Hopes up, down, up, down...more waiting, failed adoption - and then Noah's adoption almost not going through either. While I am absolutely aware that there are people with much more severe things that they deal with...this trial of infertility and adoption is my reality, and the deep rooted feelings of sorrow are no less real to me. And, because of how acutely I attached these feelings of sorrow to the dreaded celebration of Mother's Day...I wonder if I will ever completely shake that association. Maybe I don't completely want to forget the sorrows that I trespassed to "earn" my cherished title as a mother...as long as I don't let it overshadow the aforementioned feelings of appreciation and gratitude.
- Empathy. The feelings that I have with this emotion are very similar to #3, but they have a separate meaning to me. Because of how intensely emotional my journey to motherhood was, I feel a keen awareness at Mother's Day of the many women who yearn to be mothers, but are not. Everyone's situation is different, and every woman waiting to become a mother experiences things differently - so I don't mean to say that I know exactly what they've been through or how they feel, but I do know that I can relate to the yearning. While it's not "feeling sorry" for these women (I hated that), it is (for me) a feeling of sorrowing with them...even if I wasn't invited to. And often times it is these women that dominate my thoughts at Mother's Day.
- Wonder. I didn't know how else to categorize this seemingly large emotion into one word, but that's as close as I can come. When I really take the time to think about my children, and my role as their mother (which one tends to do on Mother's Day)...I have such a feeling of wonder. Amazement and wonder at: how wonderful they are...how much they rely on me right now...how much that I love them...how much trust has been put in me to raise them well...how much I treasure their little quirks and personalities...how much potential they have...that if I love my children like this, that my mom must have felt/feel that way about me. It seems strange to write that last one, but when I feel that all-encompassing love for my child & it feels so large that it almost hurts and I can hardly compute those feelings...it's hard to wrap my mind around someone loving little ol' me that much. Not because I don't feel that I've been shown that love...that's just a lot of love to imagine being felt toward me, and then I'm led back to emotion number one. Appreciation.
(My mom & me 2 years ago)
Well, I don't know if anyone will actually ever read through all of that, but it actually was a little bit therapeutic for me to type it out. Most of my blog posts consist more of me journaling through lots of pictures or video clips, with information just documenting what was happening. I suppose that now and then it is good to take the time for myself to expound on how I am feeling. I just chose an emotionally charged, difficult-to-put-words-around-these-emotions type of topic for me! However, I am now out of words (believe it or not). So, I would like to include a couple of pictures and videos in this post.
Noah's preschool had 2 different teachers/classes - a M/W/F and a Tues/Thurs. Each one did a little something for the kids' moms for Mother's Day. Here is his M/W/F class singing a few songs while holding flowers that they made for their moms...
A quick clip of them singing:
Noah with his flower that he made for me. How sweet is that smile?
And Noah gave me this present that he made too. A picture he drew of himself and me in a frame that he painted.
Here is a clip of Noah with his Tues/Thurs class reciting a poem together for the mommies:
And we were able to enjoy brownies with our little sweeties. Noah & me:
Carrie & Noah S. (note the cute vase & "flowers" each kid made for the moms):
Since this was Noah's first year doing preschool, this year was a fun first for me to be able to attend these little Mother's Day celebrations. I loved watching the proud, but wistful way that Noah looked at me during their little "program", and how excited he was to present me with the treasures that he'd made for me. He was so excited to have me come to his school, and I couldn't help but think about how short this stage in his life will be...I'm so glad I get to be part of it.
Lastly, I have to say that the best part of this Mother's Day were all the extra hugs and kisses from all three of my boys. I don't have any pictures of Lincoln or Mark to post, but they did their best to spoil me too. I'm a lucky mama.