I got married in 1991, and a few years later I was told I would never have children of my own—or so the doctors believed. I suppose I never liked being told “you can’t”. I had a strong calling to be a mother and was going to manifest that experience even if it meant taking detours.
By the beginning 1994, my first husband and I had taken in a seven-year-old foster daughter with the intention of adopting her. We moved to Asia with her. Another year down the road, I ended up in a doctor’s office with alarming symptoms. I had almost fainted on a school trip to the Zoo in 45 degrees heat, followed by memory loss and speech problems.
Sitting in front of his desk, I was scared to hear some terrible news about having had a stroke. I recall up to today how this Indian doctor looked at me and said, “You are in the family way.” I remember thinking, “What in heaven’s name is he talking about?!” It required some further explanation and adjusting to the unexpected changes until the news fully sunk in. That was the beginning of my journey with my oldest biological child.
Over the next 20 years, many other life changes occurred that needed adapting to. Our foster daughter left us, my younger daughter was born, we moved to Canada soon after, and we separated and divorced a few years later and much more.
Fast forward to this year; two weeks ago, I had an accident and broke both of my feet, leaving me unable to walk or take care of mundane everyday tasks that we all take for granted. My family stepped up immediately and without hesitation, with my 20-year-old daughter becoming one of my main caretakers. I am in awe of what this situation brought out in her and how it has further strengthened our bond.
When I think of saying thank you to a mother or mother figure this Mother’s Day, I think of this remarkable young woman who is heart-centred, dependable and tender. She is an outstanding human being who I am very proud to call my daughter.
To my daughter on Mother’s Day,
I am incredibly proud of you, this year even more so than ever. Ever since you were 5 years old and you asked the midwife to show you how to change your new baby sister’s diapers, I knew you had a special caring side in you. You also have a strong sense of loyalty and responsibility, sometimes holding you back from taking care of your own needs, at other times a wonderful trait.
Your calm and sensible attitude was incredibly reassuring when the accident happened. Without hesitation, you stepped into problem solving mode, while still being loving and comforting. Thank you for repeatedly holding a loving space for me when I was going through excruciating pain over the last two weeks and for trusting me that I can take it. Thank you for being extremely practical and such an amazing planner and team player here at home. Thank you for communicating clearly and making sure everybody is on board.
Being helpless brought up moments of great vulnerability. I am so grateful to you for recognizing how important even the smallest sense of independence and dignity is. But most importantly, thank you for your sense of humour and thank you for laughing with me. That we could joke around as you were taking care of me was incredibly healing.
Thank for never making me feel like a burden, even during the last three days when you had to go back to your exhausting shift work. I could see the tiredness in your eyes and in your smile. Yet, you still mustered up the energy to lovingly take care of me for a bit at the end of a long day. I love and admire you more than you can imagine!
When you were a baby, I used to think I needed to help you to grow into the woman that you are today, but I had things upside down. Instead of me shaping you, being your mother taught me so much and made me the woman I am today.
Your sense of responsibility and caring is really boundless. With each day that my legs are healing, I hope that you will treat yourself to rest and to more “play time” for yourself. Each mommy needs a break, each mommy needs to have her needs met, and so do you.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY
to all the amazing mothers, step-mothers, mothers-in-law,
and substitute mothers who take care of their loved ones.
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