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A multitude of emotions for Mother’s Day

on May 8, 2014

It came to my attention while sitting in my baby girl’s hospital room that Mother’s Day is just a few short days away. Typically, I am too busy to have even noticed. Seriously, I almost forgot my birthday this year. However, I seem to have a little extra time to scroll through social media sites at the moment and saw this fact there. Soon after, my brain was slinging around how Mother’s Day can hold different meanings for so many people and can even evolve greatly for some.

As a child this day was always a celebration of my mom and how much I loved her. I recall pulling out pink or red construction paper and drawing pictures of hearts, flowers and rainbows to show how much I cared. Sometimes I would take my hard earned (or hardly earned) allowance to the dime store and purchase a cheap votive holder. Note- those votive holders still hold a place on Mom’s mantle or dresser.

In high school, Mother’s Day began to evolve for me. My grandmother, Ruth became very ill during the end of my senior year. Seeing her in the hospital was scary. She could not recall who I (or most anybody else) was. She passed of a heart attack on Mother’s Day that year. Suddenly, this simple holiday celebrating moms was no longer just a celebration for me. Each year I remember her and become overrun with the sadness of her passing and how it affected my father. A few short years later my grandmother Marguerite passed. Although her passing was not on Mother’s Day I get sad missing her just the same.

In 2001 Josh and I were married. I began dreaming of the next “logical” step for our life. Children. We waited to try for babies and then had trouble. I recall going to church and watching each mom receive a rose in celebration of her motherhood. My hands were empty. And my heart ached as I listened to the sermon celebrating these wonderfully blessed women. Mother’s Day continued evolving. I still celebrated my mom and missed my grandmothers. But now I longed to be a part of this exclusive club the world was celebrating.

Time continued to pass and in 2006 I gave birth to Bailey. The delivery did not go as planned and ended in an emergency C Section instead of the natural birth I anticipated. Suddenly, I was blessed with the motherhood I had prayed for yet felt like a failure for not being able to deliver him the way I had hoped. Mother’s Day came and I anticipated the happiness I would feel when that rose was handed to me. My arms were no longer empty. But as my fingers curled around that stem my heart still ached. You see, sitting just a few seats away was a sister that I love dearly. She was feeling the emptiness and envy that I had felt before. Oh how I knew that pain. I found it hard to celebrate my motherhood knowing that so many women were in pain and praying for the very blessing that I cradled in my arms. Not too many years would pass and I would find myself in that same position again as we tried for more children. Only this time I had a child praying for a sibling and wondering why I would not give him one. I again felt like a failure as a mom. Bailey was seven years old when he finally became a brother to two wonderful twin babies, Asher and Audrey. Oh how we love our babies.

This brings me to Mother’s Day 2014. As many of you know Audrey was born with many birth defects that required an initial hospital stay of 175 days, several surgeries and return stays to get her where we are now. Realistically, where we are now is nowhere near where we pray for her to be medically. When I realized that Mother’s Day is just a few short days away my heart sank. You see, I have finally reached a place where this day is reserved for me to celebrate my children, mothers, and friends. Only it is a very real possibility that Audrey and I will be here in the hospital instead of home with our boys, moms and friends. I started to dwell on all of the things I have missed out on since this journey of being a “special needs mom” began. So many ball games, programs and parties of Bailey’s have passed with a seat left empty for his mom. That’s me! I am supposed to be there! Tears…..
Doctors appointments and milestones for Asher all handled by others in my absence. Sniffle….
Time with family and friends….. Gone….

So I sat here feeling bad for quite a while. And then I straightened up and looked for the hidden blessings. They are always there somewhere, you know! A mom friend who’s daughter was Audrey’s NICU neighbor contacted me about her baby finally being moved to the stable vent unit. This is a huge blessing and a giant leap closer to home for her. Have I mentioned she has been here for almost 10 months? And she will be spending her Mother’s Day in the hospital. She is just a few hallways away.

And then another couple our family met while staying at the Ronald McDonald house sent a text. They were a floor below Audrey with their son. He had returned to have a stent placed after having a heart transplant. We got together for ice cream and hung out for a bit. They were able to leave for home today. Blessing….

Last night another mom friend reached out to our network of moms while she rode in an ambulance with her daughter to the ER. A few of us were able to meet her for support and deliver some soda and comfort food. Hopefully, a blessing to her.

Just a few short minutes ago I was contacted by yet another mom of one of Audrey’s NICU buddies who is on her way in with her baby. The point here….

Mother’s Day is a day that can be filled with so many emotions. So, while we are celebrating this year please keep that in mind. When you see the woman whose arms are empty longing to hold that rose…. Say a prayer for her. You know the mom who is overwhelmed with work…. Children’s medical needs…. A sick parent, child, spouse…. Say a prayer for her. Do you see the person that is missing his own mother?… Say a prayer for him. Because while this day is intended to be a time of celebration not everyone is in an emotional state to party. Those people need our love and support.

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone! Audrey and I celebrate you, grieve with you and love you all!

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