It’s Mother’s Day; my first one. Hope and I just returned from my graduation trip where we had a great time, and I got the best gift ever. Throughout the ceremony, I saw my sweet girl snap-happy, clicking away with her digital camera. After the ceremony after I met up with Hope and my sisters, my daughter hugged me repeatedly and said, “I’m so proud of you.” I had to hold back tears. #shehadmeathello
I’m sure she’d never gone to a graduation before, certainly not one for a doctoral candidate #gobigorgohome, but she was delighted to see my name and dissertation title in the program, happy to take many pictures and jazzed to hear my name as I was hooded by the university president. It was the culmination of a long journey for me and I couldn’t have been blessed with a bigger cheerleader. I will always drop a tear thinking about the moment she told me she was proud of me. (It was super, super awesome special to have my sisters with me too, by the way.)
Yesterday was really my Mother’s Day. Today is just a do-over for me that includes the need to cram in some errands, a family therapy appointment and take-out for dinner (my present to myself for the day) before doing Hope’s hair for the week. #mothersworkisneverdone #apparentlyever
Our trip to Chicago triggered “better” times which always make it easier for me to say yes, to have patience, to just have fun with Hope. After the last few weeks, I needed us to hit a stride of “better.” I hope it lasts a while.
And yet, there’s something about days that honor parents that brings tinges of sadness for Hope and other kids like her. This weekend we touched on issues of curiosity about the wellbeing of her birth mother, grief about the loss of her dad, the good and bad parenting she experienced in her short life, and a chat about me as mom.
We navigated things well with lots of reassurance and lots of openness. We don’t sugar coat things in our home; her experience is her story and she remembers the good, the bad and the ugly. I learn something new, and often heartbreaking, every time we have one of these talks. I also know that these talks are evidence that we’re doing ok, maybe even better than ok.
I see my job as, in part, trying to help her remember that her birth parents loved her, but they just couldn’t take care of her for lots of different reasons. Bad things happened but it wasn’t her fault and while people have maligned her birth parents most of her time in the system, they are no threat to me and they are no longer a threat to her. It’s ok for her to remember the happy times and to be free to talk about them. It’s ok for her to talk about the bad times and to try to reconcile how all this history could involve the same people. It’s ok for me to try desperately to teach her that nothing was her fault, that she is now safe and loved, even during the times when she is being a real pain in the arse.
I’ve heard about the bitter sweetness of days like Mother’s Day for some adoptive parents. I couldn’t understand it before, but I get it now. There’s a celebration of us as mothers and fathers, but it’s laced with a sadness and grief about how our children ended up needing us in the first place.
So, with that, I’m glad that I had a great day of celebration yesterday, before the actual holiday that represents a bit of both joy and pain for me and Hope. It really is a privilege to be Hope’s mom.
Happy Mother’s Day, whatever kind of mother you may be. xoxo