Monday, May 3, 2010

Proudly I Rise

My world has been filled with so many Mother's Days,
when I have joined with others
in honoring and celebrating the women in my life
who are such extraordinary mothers.
Most especially,
my own mom.
But also, my grandmothers, sister, sister-in-law,
and on goes the list.

For years, I was among the celebrators.
But this year, for the first time, I will be among the celebrated.

The year after we lost our baby to miscarriage, we joined a church,
and I started singing in the folk choir.
It was the Sunday of Mother's Day, and at one point, the priest asked all the moms to rise and be acknowledged.

I didn't know what to do.
(Of course I was a mom, technically.
I had given birth, after all.)
But I wasn't presently parenting a child.
I was absolutely frozen.
So I balked.
And didn't stand.

My friend and fellow singer nudged me and whispered, "Kathleen, stand up!"
And I whispered back, "But I'm not a mom."
(Oh, God, did I just say that out loud? That hurts way more than I thought it would.)
"Oh, you don't have children? I thought you did!?!" she replied.
I just shook my head and looked away.

And then the guilt set in.
Should I have stood up?
Hell, yes. But it's complicated.
I should have honored my baby's memory by proudly rising
and acknowledging that he had existed.
But I wasn't presently parenting, I argued with myself.
I may have felt the pains of labor
but I had never felt its warm, wiggling rewards.
It was so confusing and infuriating, and it hurt.
A lot.

I went home and cried.
And went out of my way to avoid the Mother's Day mass for the next several years.

With the exception of the past few rocky years,
I have celebrated on Mother's Day.
But never have I been one of the celebrated.
This year, it's different.
This year, Mother's Day takes on a profoundly new meaning to me.
I have been humbled by its blessings
and by mothering my Matthew.
This year, I will be in Pennsylvania visiting my family.
I will go to church with my mom.
And when the priest asks the mothers to rise,
Proudly I will.
For not one, but two, reasons.

Happy Mother's Day to every one of you fabulous, sexy, crazy, lovestruck moms.
I may be coming into this a little late, but I have learned from so many of you, and your paved path has made mine all the easier. You are my giants, my mentors, my mothers, my friends.


Anonymous said...

So hard to believe all the pain we encountered to get where we are today. I am proud of both of us! You have inspired ME! Love you. Tara

Mama C/Catherine said...

WOWZA. I was right there in church with you as always. Thinking of you today, yesterday and more often than my lack of communication reveals!!!

I am going to relink to your blog on my blog--an total oversight on my part--today.

YES, we can talk about how to get your pieces out there too. Happy Mother's Day Mama!!!