This post originally appeared on our old blog, Born to be a Bride.
A lot has changed since last Mother’s Day when we assembled the family on the front porch and shared the news that we were expecting a baby. When you opened your individual boxes containing pacifiers and a note from “Baby Gerson.” When you begged me to stand up and show off my nonexistent belly and I rolled my eyes at you. As much as I wanted to be a mom, 12 weeks in I was really just the vessel carrying a tiny sprouting concept of human life. I had no idea what it was like to be a mom, but a lot has changed.
This year has brought changes to my body and you were always there to offer comfort and support. To remind me that I was that vessel and that the weight gain was temporary. To buy me maternity clothes when I stopped working because you wanted me to feel cute with my bump, even though I couldn’t afford the things I wanted. To force me to face the fact that I was no longer a size 32A bra and to encourage me in the Bloomingdale’s lingerie department to treat myself to one that actually fit. It was a 34C. That same day we watched a foot travel across my belly as I tried on nighgowns. We laughed hysterically. I’ll never forget it.
The next morning, you were there to take pictures of my growing bump for my husband and me to keep forever. To tell me, postpartum, that my C-section scar would fade in time but that it was expertly done. To remind me that perfect is not the goal. That my body has a new purpose now, but that I’m entitled to work toward its former shape. To tell me I’m beautiful when I am covered in snot and haven’t slept. To hold the baby for one whole hour so I can not just shower, but shave my legs and blow out my hair. This year has turned me into a mom and my body into the body of a mom, and you’ve been there all along to tell me I’m still beautiful.
This year has made me so stressed out, at times I cannot breathe. A human depends on me for everything, and the adjustment was sharp and all-encompassing. I just needed a calm voice to talk me through the daily trials and not judge me. To listen. But I’m never “free” enough to just sit on down and call you. You have been my cheerleader, my muse. My morning FaceTime companion. Usually, you don’t even see my face. You see my torso as I change diapers and clean sinks and pop pimples (editor’s note: we are talking about my own pimples, not the baby’s). I prop the phone up against a coffee can or a stack of books and I chat with you as I go about my tasks. You aren’t there, but you’re there. I would like to take a moment to thank you for talking to my torso every morning since I became a mom.
This year has shown me that even when I feel weak, I need to be strong. You have shown me how. There have been nights with Willow, including the one when she entered the world, that I was full of fear. Sometimes when I am scared I take a moment and close my eyes. I remember what you did. I remember it all. I think about how you must have felt when you had three small people sleeping down the hall and you faced unthinkable challenges. Health scares. Divorce. Financial turbulence. Hurricanes that brought down trees and power lines. I think about everything you plowed through with the strength of a million bodybuilders, and I am humbled. I breathe in. I breathe out. I pretend I am you. And then I resume the role of soothing, singing, comforting, calling doctors, rubbing a smooth and bony back. My fears are quelled because she needs me to be strong like I needed you to be. You taught me how.
When Josh and I set about making our Mother’s Day plans for this year, we had a carefully mapped out weekend. His mom, my mom, then me. Each with her own special celebration. I was surprised, a little sad, but mostly in awe when you stepped back and said you wanted nothing. Not for us to make the drive, not a single flower, nothing but the knowledge that I was experiencing my first Mother’s Day at home, calm and peaceful as we unpack boxes and set up our new life in New Jersey. But I get it. All I want for Mother’s Day, now that I am a mom myself, is for Willow to be happy. I am not saying this for brownie points or page views. I am saying it because it’s true. A lot has changed in the year since we sat huddled on the porch and shared the news. The one thing that hasn’t changed a bit is you.
Thank you. Thank you for it all.