8 May

This morning I woke up to my daughter climbing in bed with me and wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day.  As is tradition, we ate eggs over easy, toast with grape jelly (I made this time because she’s nursing the flu) and then we settled in to watch Godzilla on Netflix.  She gave me a coffee mug this year that says “Mom, I love you more every day.”  She also made me an assortment of bead bracelets and drew me a picture for the fridge.  I am reminded just how lucky I am.

Motherhood, like everything in my life, did not occur in a normal manner.  I was married to someone who could not have children and I had just accepted this was my fate.  I convinced myself maybe I wasn’t meant to be a mother.  I had very little, if any, motherly instinct anyway.  And I’m a klutz.  I could not imagine carrying a baby anywhere.

The truth is, I always knew I would be a mother.  I had been almost five years older than my sister, and would like to think I helped raise her.  I knew I was capable and I knew it was in my destiny to have a child.  Sometimes you just have to accept things on faith, whether you are religious or not.  There was a plan I was certain of.

Then once upon a time, I had received a phone call from a friend who knew of a young girl wanting to find adoptive parents for her unborn baby.  She said she had immediately thought of me and would I want her phone number.  Without consulting anyone, including my ex-husband, I contacted the girl and she said she would like to meet.

I told no one but a friend I had asked to accompany me for courage.  We met at a diner in the subversive Bardstown Road area of Kentucky, Twig and Leaf.  It was a diner meant for the cool kids and I felt out of place as I sat waiting for this teenage couple to appear.  When they walked in, I swallowed whatever fear I had been trembling with and managed to answer their questions.  We talked easily and found we had a lot in common.  For the girl, the most important thing was that her baby would be loved.  I did not promise perfection, but I would love the baby as my own I had said.  She asked me what names I would like, so I told her a couple of girl and boy names.  We hugged goodbye and then I heard nothing from them.

For six months, no phone calls, no letters.  I mourned the loss of what I thought was meant to be, but I had accepted it.  Then one Monday night, I was up later than normal, the phone rang.  It was the birth father who asked me if I still wanted to adopt the baby.  I had felt the room spin as he told me it was a girl, she was a week old, and they named her one of the names I had mentioned.  He asked me if I wanted to meet her and we arranged a meeting for the next day.  I had sat down on the couch for nearly an hour, in shock and then began making phone calls. 

The first time I held my daughter, I knew it was meant to be.  She had been crying and the instant she was in my arms she had quieted.  She had looked up at me with those huge blue eyes and I instantly and irrevocably fell in love.  Leaving her that afternoon was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to endure.  Everyone kept telling me they could change their mind, but I knew they wouldn’t.

Five days later, after obtaining temporary custody of her and beginning adoption proceedings, I took my daughter home.  Despite being married, I knew she was meant for me.  I also knew her presence in our marriage would mean the end to it.  Not because he could not love her, but because he was in no way ready to become a parent, might not ever be.  But I was. 

I am not a perfect mother.  But I have lived up to my promise.  I love her as if she were my own flesh and blood.  There has never been a moment when I didn’t feel as if I was her rightful parent.  Our relationship has weathered our differences and our personality clashes.  Sometimes we are too much alike, and other times not at all.  If you met us on the street, you would never suspect she is not mine biologically.

I am sometimes a too strict parent.  I have smothered her with love and concern.  I have learned to accept she is not like every other person on the planet and I must nurture who she is to become.  There are days when I sit quietly thinking of the baby she was.  Looking up at me with those large doe eyes and always laughing.  I could make her giggle just by wrinkling my nose.  These days it takes much more than that.  The teen years are not kind to those going through it and those enduring it.

Today she told me she felt lucky.  It’s like winning a gold medal in parenting.  Despite everything we’ve been through together, she feels lucky because through it all we’ve always had each other.  I didn’t say what I was thinking, that she does not know anything yet about luck, about a woman who fell into motherhood like winning the lottery.  That no matter what has happened before or has happened since; I have never lost my gratitude for how fortunate I’ve been in my life.  I brought my daughter home one Saturday morning and life has been the most amazing journey since.

So, on this Mother’s Day, I say a thank you to the fate or to destiny or to whatever it was that brought us together.  Now, I’m off to watch more Godzilla and laugh with my daughter.  And smother her with love.

7 Responses to “HAPPY “S”MOTHER’S DAY”

  1. successisthebestrevenge May 8, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    Truly beautiful. I read this twice. Worth reading even more. A true reality of motherhood. Thank you.

    • Cold Dead Heart May 8, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

      Thank you for your kind comments. I’d like to think motherhood is at least worthy of being honest about. It’s not always pretty, but it’s worth every minute.

  2. Scotia Nightpoetry May 9, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    Nice to hear that you had such a nice M-Day. Also great reading such an interesting life history as yours – and, as usual, you tell it so well.
    I am mostly twittering (mostly Re-tweeting as it happens) at the moment but occasionally dash a little scribble here and there if my hands are up to it.

    All the very best – Brian.

  3. Cold Dead Heart May 10, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    I was hoping you were healing well. Glad to see you are blogging and tweeting, your words would be missed! As always, thanks for the feedback and I hope you’re back to typing away soon!

  4. ingrebourne May 11, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    Beautiful piece on motherhood here. I like your blog, Cold Dead Heart. It’s a good read, for sure.


    • Cold Dead Heart May 11, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

      Thank you so much! I appreciate you reading and your comments. Keep blogging!

  5. --Rick December 2, 2014 at 12:18 am #

    What a wonderful family story. Your story drew me in and held me close enough that for a few moments all that surrounded me that was not pleasant simply fell away. It got me out of a quiet mood and caused me to seek out my granddaughter who lives with us (she is only 9) to give her a hug and to remind her how much she is loved. Thank you for that moment.

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