We are all children of Mothers but becoming Mothers is a life changing experience. Not all women choose to become parents and I totally get the decision to swim against the tide, but those of us, who always wanted to be a Mom look forward to the festivities of Mother’s Day. I always feel loved and appreciated by my daughter but on that May day heralded by constant media pressure, (and I admit my firm instructions that I be honored), required the breakfast in bed tradition, Hallmark card and maybe a bunch of flowers even if picked from the just beginning to bloom garden. Now that she’s grown and flown a first thing phone call and a card in the mail and hopefully brunch pleases me just fine.
I started trying to get pregnant when I was 34 and knew it would likely be my only child and I desperately wanted a girl. I will never forget my Mom (who also had a good and devoted son) saying to me that there is nothing like having a daughter because you will be friends for life, as she was with her Mother. Mom and I loved each other dearly but I will admit sometimes I was not the best of friends as I was very independent and craved autonomy, even from an early age, but still we had a devotion and innate understanding such as the deep kinship we get from our woman friends. As we both got older and wiser and after I had a child, I understood her and the bond of parenthood more deeply and allowed myself to inch closer and was devoted to her till the end and was grateful to have been the person she turned to for comfort and strength.
After enjoying my professional life, having sated my hunger for travel and adventure I finally became pregnant at 35. As is customary with pregnancies when one is in her mid 30s, I had ultrasound and amniocentesis. The baby was in a position that gender could not be determined. I awaited the amnio results which came in the mail stating that I would indeed be having a baby girl! I was jubilant but needed confirmation before I told my Mom so I called the lab before giving her the good news. Yes, it was true, and I told her before anyone else and her tearful joy was among the happiest moments we shared together. She was a devoted remarkable grandmother who lived and breathed for this precious only grandchild. This was in fact the best Mother’s Day gift I could have ever given her.
The beauty of this tale is that I do have a daughter who is my best friend. From the moment she came out after 12 hours of exhaustive pushing we looked each other in the eyes like old friends and our profound life of connection started. She was an easy baby, respectful teen and now a remarkable woman of 27. We have rarely fought, think alike, get each other’s jokes, finish each other’s sentences, have the same easy big smile and the green eyes I got from my Dad.
We have laid in bed chatting for hours, dried each other’s tears, watched Pretty Woman endless times, plowed through Gilmore Girls, taken numerous girl trips and shared quite a few Margaritas, arm in arm traipsing through the streets of Manhattan. Honestly, I never imagined the depth of what loving a child could be and I continue to be amazed by the reciprocity of our affection and true pleasure we both enjoy simply by being together.
Now she has a real love in her life, and I have to move over a bit to give them the space to grow their bond and likely marriage and her eventual journey into motherhood. I was nervous at first of losing a bit of her to this new stage, but it has not been the case as we share and talk about the joys and challenges of partnership and our pillow talk is now about men not boys. We still giggle and laugh and plan for the future promising our girl trips will always continue. Oh, and she hopes to have a girl so they can be best friends just like us! That is indeed the best Mother’s Day gift ever.