then I loved my mother more

I have always loved my mother. Of course we had our moments where we fought like sisters and Dad would have to tell us to each go to our rooms – hello, high school – but I have always loved my mom. Respected her. Thanked God for her because I knew she was something special. I grew up, got married, and she became my best friend.

Then I got pregnant.

Then I was in labor for hours and hours and pushed for what felt like eternity.

Then I brought our baby girl home and struggled through the ups and downs of those first few weeks with a tiny human to care for around the clock.

Then I loved my mother more.

I related to her in a new way – through the lens of a tired, joyful, overwhelmed young mama who for the first time appreciated the woman who years ago had prayed for God to allow her to keep this baby after so much loss. My mother – who was told by doctors her baby would be born with too may birth defects and should be aborted. Who, along with her husband, prayed feverishly in secret for the remainder of her pregnancy for a healthy baby girl with all of her fingers and toes. A woman who was in labor for hours and hours and cried happy tears when her baby was laid on her chest, perfectly healthy.

When I was in labor, my sweet husband stood beside me and my mom often came to my other side to check on me. To cheer me on. Once our baby girl arrived and family was allowed in the room she came right to my side, checking on me first before delicately holding our baby tightly in her arms. Beaming from ear to ear. Of all the major life moments we had shared, this was the most profound. She had birthed me, and now helped me to give birth to my own baby girl. Different years, different hospital rooms, same love.

After we came home from the hospital, Mom stayed with us for a week, easily one of the most special times in my life. I cried the afternoon she drove away, thinking of her in a new light. How she was once a brand new mom with a brand new baby that she had prayed for and fought for. How she once woke up with me on the hour every hour to nurse me back to sleep and then watched me to make sure I was still breathing. How she leaned on her husband, my dad, for support and encouragement when the mom thing was new and scary and exciting. I thought of my mom, now a Nana, and for the first time I started to understand the gravity and intricate joy, and pain, of motherhood.

How could I love her more?, I thought. But somehow, I did.

I’ll love you forever, Mom.

My Tattoo & Other Reasons My Mom Loves Me

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To know my mother is to love her, and while we’ve had our fair share of growing pains and yelling matches – I’m sure Kate and Goldie had plenty! – I love her beyond words. I don’t know if it’s becoming an adult (well, sort of) or the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday but I wanted to pass the mic to Cathy to share a little insight on being my mom. My only regret is that I didn’t record these so you lovely people could listen to her responses in that Southern drawl we all love and affectionally try to imitate…

B: What did you say when you found out you were pregnant with me?

C: I was so shocked….20 tests later.  I couldn’t wait to tell your father because we had waiting 2 1/2 years for that day!

B: Initial thoughts once I arrived?

C: When you were born, I kept thinking someone was going to come and get you.  I couldn’t believe you were mine and I really wasn’t sure what to do with you.

B: Hardest age to love me?

C: It’s never been hard to love you…now liking you was hard at times from about puberty to a few years ago…HA!

B: Did you absolutely hate when I would constantly remind you how old I was when I wanted to do something my own way? Example: “I know I’m 17, Mom.” 

C: We became very weary with the phrase ” I’m 18 and I can take care of myself!” It quickly moved onto age 19, 20… it reminded me when you were two and would stand and pout and say “NO” or “I do it by myself !”

B: Last time you wanted to kill me?

C: I guess the last time you mouthed back at me at church in front of the sweet little church lady, Mrs. Johnson. I think we were discussing the lack of length in your choice of skirts or it could have been the scoop of your neckline. *B: I have zero recollection of this.

B: Your thoughts when I got a tattoo?

C: I ate crow real fast, because a group of middle-aged moms had just discussed this topic the night before and I had made the statement that my daughter “would never” because she hated pain.  Well, never say never.  All I could think was that my beautiful daughter was now branded with a dirty looking expression of independence.

B: When did you realize I wasn’t a complete moron?

C: I have never thought you were a moron but your father and I did think you had been kidnapped by aliens at around age 16.  It has been nice to see you grow over the past few years and your about face in attitude, awareness of others needs, and depth of thought has been so wonderful.

B: How did I end with blonde hair and blue eyes? 

C: When you were born with blonde hair and blue eyes I was taken back a bit because your father and I have such dark hair and eyes.  However, I quickly learned that your great grandparents on both sides sported cool blue eyes and they had passed this beauty onto you.  As you grew and your hair darkened some it was clear that your personality needed the blonde hair to support itself..( remember the German Shepherd story) …so your stylist will be able to send her children to college with your highlight bills through the years.  That look perfects you!  *B: I will never tell the German Shepherd story – sorry I’m not sorry. 

B: Describe being a mom in one sentence.

C: The hardest job on earth with the greatest return!  Being completely absorbed in a precious soul 24/7 until death – you knew I had to get death in there…

B: Your most fun memory of us to date?

C: It’s hard to think of just one…I love all the fun things we share and am looking forward to many more!  One of my fondest memories is you singing at the top of your voice – up and down the aisles at Wall-Mart from the buggy.  You were about age 4 and people would stop to hear you and get onto me for trying to get you to sit down and sing quietly.

B: What do you most look forward to in our mother/daughter future?

C: Watching you become a mommy one day and being able to laugh as your little clones renact your childhood follies.  Also, I hope we can travel some together!

I’ll love you forever and always, Mom.

XOXO,

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