It never dawned on us that it might be difficult to conceive a child. We just thought that when we decided it was “time”, we’d stop using birth control and poof… we’d get pregnant.
But in early fall of 1981 our neighbors, who were going for their second child, were having trouble getting pregnant. Hmmmm – we didn’t feel as if we were quite ready to be parents yet (I mean, who is?) but we felt compelled to “get busy” trying.
Remember when you were young and your parents gave you the stern warning that “it only takes one time?” They were telling the truth. It only took one time.
Clearly you were destined to be.
I was commuting weekly for my job to a city that was a hundred miles away from our home. Long, stupid story, but I would leave on Monday morning and come back home on Friday night, staying at a small apartment during the week. Not sure why I thought this was a good idea…
One Monday morning, I got up bright and early as usual, made my HUGE thermos of coffee and hit the road. And that’s when it hit me. I’ve always loved the smell of the coffee, but this particular morning, it was making me sick. I couldn’t drink any. At all.
Home pregnancy tests made their debut three years before in 1978. They were very different from the immediate results tests available today. It was a delicate operation that took several hours. After spending $30 on three tests and getting three positives, I still couldn’t believe it.
I bought all the books I could find on “how to be pregnant.” We looked at the pictures of the fetal development. We started to call you Peanut.
And I started eating everything in sight. It wasn’t pretty. Forty pounds later, my OB didn’t think it was pretty either. I’ve been trying to lose that baby fat for nearly 32 years now.
You were a busy baby. You tumbled and rolled and kicked. I loved every minute. I sung to you, patted you and dreamed of you. My heartbeat was your constant lullaby and your gymnastics were my joy.
I was going to be the perfect mother. I was going to give you a life of emotional security that I didn’t have. I was going to give you the love that I had lacked. I was going to care for you as I hadn’t been cared for. I continued to dream.
At some point about month six, I realized with horror that you couldn’t stay where you were forever. You had to get out somehow.We dutifully went to childbirth classes where the instructor assured me that the body makes “allowances” for moving a seven pound baby, four pounds of which is head, down through a passage that seemed like it was never meant to have something the size of a football move down.
Ten days before your anticipated arrival date, I felt something odd. Like I sprang a leak. Ick. You were getting ready to make your grand entrance! But it wasn’t time yet… I hadn’t packed my bag. Dad’s vacation didn’t start for another ten days. I wasn’t quite ready to be a mom just yet.
In God’s infinite wisdom, God was preparing me for parenthood. The lesson was: your kids don’t always cooperate with your plans. You let us know that from the very start…
I packed my bag, Dad made chocolate chip cookies and we were off to the hospital. This was going to all work out! After five or six hours of “unmedicated” labor, I would deliver my firstborn and still get a full night’s sleep. This is when God’s plan kicked in again…
Fifteen hours of labor later, the doctor decided to give me something to “kick it up a notch.” Holy cow! I was exhausted after being up all night and the contractions really started coming fast and furious, and they hurt. Really hurt.
I gave up. I couldn’t do the unmedicated thing. I asked for an epidural. But right before they administered it, you decided you’d had enough. It was time to get the party started. I started pushing. This was not a good thing because there wasn’t a doctor anywhere in sight. The nurse told me not to push.
From what I remember, think I basically told her to go to hell. You say crazy stuff when you have a seven pound football coming out of you. The nurse started getting ready to deliver you when my handsome OB swept into the room just in time to catch you.
This was the days before doing ultrasound was standard practice so we had no idea if you were going to be a boy or a girl. We were both breathless (especially me!) as we asked, “What is it?” It?? A boy! I was a mother.
Holy crap again!
That’s when the fun really started. And that’s when my life really started. I thought I understood what my life was all about until I held you for the first time. I didn’t know shit up until that moment. Nothing was ever going to be the same. I was never going to be the same. And I haven’t been. And it’s been a good thing.
Turns out, I wasn’t the perfect mother. I made lots of mistakes. Sometimes I embarrassed you, made you angry, made you sad, made you cry, criticized you too much, said some harsh things, didn’t understand you. Everything I swore I would never do to my most precious and beloved son. For that and the myriad of other times I disappointed you and let you down, I am sorry. Really sorry.
But I think we had many good times too and there were a lot of things I, miraculously, did right.
With age comes wisdom and now that I’m older, I know I would be a better mom if I had a chance for a do-over. More patient, more laid back, more fun. We’d laugh more, do more goofy things, have more adventures, play in the rain. Time for grandchildren? Remember, it only takes one time…
Please never, ever doubt this… I loved you Peanut, right from the start. And through all the mistakes – both mine and yours – I kept loving you. Fiercely loving you. You were then and will always be the shining light of my life. I have been so incredibly fortunate to be your mother and I am so very proud of you.
I hope that somehow, that’s what you will remember about me when you’re my age.
Happy Mother’s Day to me!