Mother’s Day 2010: I watch as my mother unwraps the first of her presents. It is pair of pretty handmade slippers. She is pleased. I am anxious, though. As I watch her sweetly looking over the slippers, I try to resist the urge to push the next package toward her and demand she open it immediately.
I quite literally sit on my hands to keep myself in check.
When she finally unwraps the second package, I watch the confusion on her face as it settles into a hopeful realization. She holds up the tiny little slippers and asks, “Are you?” I smile and nod, tears welling up in my eyes, “It is really early mom, but we wanted you to know … Happy Mother’s Day!”
I am four weeks pregnant, expecting my first child, my mother’s first grandchild. I can already imagine what it will feel like, one year later, celebrating my first Mother’s Day. Mom and I will sit under the big umbrella our faces and arms in the shade, our feet in the sun. We’ll pass the baby back and forth, laughing and talking about this baby’s future. We’ll walk around mom’s gardens and admire the flowers. We’ll already be a little clan: mom, me and my baby girl — she will be a girl, I just know it.
I am right. The little tiny bundle of cells and joy growing inside me is a little girl, just as I imagined.
But, also, she is already unbelievably different than I ever could have imagined.
Mother’s Day 2011: I glance over my sleeping three-month-old daughter Esmé. I take her in completely — her full head of dark hair, her pouty lips, her dimpled hands. For a moment I swim in the calm of watching her little chest rising and falling rhythmically — in and out, in and out.
After a beat, I snap to, scanning the lines running from her, glancing over the IV, oxygen and monitors. I have the same thought I have had every morning for the last week: She made it through another night. …