May 20, 2016

Moms beget moms

As a child I had a doll named James. He was one of those realistic baby dolls, if you know what I mean. Apparently they were something of a craze that Christmas, because when my parents went to buy one for me, the girl dolls were sold out. They had no choice but to bring home a boy. Foreshadowing, perhaps?

Well, I didn't play with that doll. I mothered that doll. James was a son of mine, as far as I was concerned. I remember a time when my friend came over to play and I sent her away, saying, "I can't play now. James is asleep. We'll come out when he wakes up from his nap."

Mother's Day 2016

And now I am mother to three little boys, and one little girl who's eyes disappear when she smiles.

Someday Jubilee will likely be living in another country - because she's a girl after my own heart - and she'll likely be sending me flowers on Mother's Day like the ones I sent to my mom this year. Aren't these gorgeous?! My mom took this pic when they were a couple of days old! Hats off to the florist.

My mom. Gosh I love her. This picture from summer '15, baking one of her famous blueberry pies in her kitchen at her condo in Zeeland MI, is one of my favorites. Everything about it. That smile-laugh of hers, which only a child can bring out (her grandkids are off camera). Her sleeves ever rolled-up on weathered arms saturated with freckles. Endearing arthritic hands, the bane of her adulthood, still gently rinsing berries, still pressing shortening into flour just enough, not too much, nor too little, for a perfectly flaky crust.

I'll never forget calling my mother from Kentucky the night I went into labor with my oldest. It was her birthday that night, her 53rd, and she didn't hesitate for a moment. Dad jumped in the driver's seat of the RV and drove my mom through the night so she could be with me when I became a mother. When the pain became too much for me, with my eyes squeezed shut, I could feel the warmth of my mom's hand resting lightly on top of mine. Her palm, worn smooth from the hot soapy water of domestic life, was a great comfort to me. She didn't have to say a word. I knew she was there, and I knew everything was going to be okay.

And now that wrinkly baby who made me a mother is an eleven-year-old boy, big enough to take me to the movies on Mother's Day for a 9:30 p.m. showing of Jungle Book in 3D. We screamed when the animals jumped out at us and marveled at the special effects, both of us appreciating a good movie when we see one. There is no other way I would have rather spent the last few hours of Mother's Day.

I am thankful beyond words for the kids who call me mom, and for the woman who showed me what it means to love children. To motherhood! What a gift.