Monday, May 10, 2010
It was just over seven years ago, that I threw a baby shower for one of my good friends. She was expecting her first child and I was in the midst of my 1,000,000 IUI.
I'd hosted and participated in so many baby showers, by that point, that I'd almost become numb to the pain of watching an expectant mother rubbing her bulging belly without feeling the need to wail. On the outside I was happy. But on the inside I was devastated because I felt so barren and empty. As I've written before, years and years went by where I dreamed of and prayed for a baby and it never happened. Still, my inability to have a child certainly didn't seem to preclude the people around me from popping beautiful newborns out like candy.
While I was out shopping for my friend's baby shower, I happened to see a soft, cuddly lamb. At first, I thought it would make a wonderful present for the new baby. But when I picked it up, I felt a strong attachment to this stuffed animal. I wrapped it's soft paws around my neck and held it close, truly imagining what it would feel like to hold a child of my very own.
Ultimately, I decided to keep the lamb. Because one day, I was certain, it would make a wonderful present for my little one.
These days, the lamb is very rarely seen. It has migrated to the bottom of the toy basket and is buried beneath RC cars, robots and assorted dolls. Still, whenever it surfaces, it always warms me to think of how blessed I am to be a mother. Although several years have lapsed since I've had children, I can remember - so vividly - that aching feeling of what it was like to be without.
This morning, while I was still in bed talking to Charlie about our plans for the day, Elizabeth sleepily wandered in to our room. Her hair was sticking up all over her head and she was sucking her thumb, while gripping her beloved bunny. As she often does, she came over to my side of the bed and put her head down on the pillow next to me.
After a few minutes she plucked her thumb out of her mouth and asked, "Mom! Is today Mother's Day?" When I answered that it was, she said, "OK. Hold bunny! I'll be right back!"
She tossed bunny on my pillow and scurried out of the room, returning a few minutes later clutching the lamb that I had bought several years ago. I'm not really sure why she settled on the lamb - when there are no less than 100 stuffed animals to chose from - but when she presented it to me and cheerfully declared, "Happy Mother's Day, Mom!" I was surprised.
I sat up and hugged the lamb the way I used to, with it's soft paws draped over my shoulders. After a long moment, I put the lamb down and placing my hand on her cheek I said, "This is such a wonderfully thoughtful present for you to give me." Scooping her up on to my lap I added, "Thank you so much for coming in to my life and giving me the chance to be a mom."
She placed her small hand on my cheek and said, "Well, thank you Mom, for giving me life!" Then she threw her little arms around my neck and squeezed tightly as she whispered, "I love you!"
And thus began the start of my beautiful Mother's Day.