I'm officially in my 3rd trimester and it's taken me 10 minutes to write this sentence because I get too dang distracted every time he kicks. Now that the weird jabs have turned into very obvious rolls, I feel like I'll be able to find out exactly how he's positioned and give him a little high five. I also try to film it which never works because a) he immediately stops and b) I remember my belly looks like a hairy pumpkin from my angle.
Yesterday was Mother's Day and the first time anyone ever told me, "Happy Mother's Day." It was surreal, but I do feel like I'm growing into this role (PARDON THAT TERRIBLE PUN), and even though I haven't cleaned my own kid's diapers, I've cared for a lot of other children and I've allowed this one to make a cozy home on top of my bladder while my pelvis shifts around like a gorilla on ice skates. I've always appreciated when people celebrate all women on Mother's Day. We take care of one another and we build communities around us. Some of us desperately long for families, some of us find our spiritual families, and some of the best mothers have never even given birth.
Here's a kind of crazy story:
When I was 18, I found myself sitting in a church in Nashville on Mother's Day. I knew a few people there but for the most part I was alone. The pastor asked all the women to stand that day, even that college freshman who didn't know the person sitting on her left or right. I remember feeling, not awkward, but valued and celebrated as a woman, and I bet it was the first time that I viewed Mother's Day not from the perspective of a daughter, but as mother. Something happened in my soul that day, clear as ever though I can't explain why. And before I left the church, I wrote something strange and unusual in my journal:
"I think I'm going to have a son one day."
When Matty and I were hoping for a baby, that memory seemed like something imagined on my worst days. Yet it still tugged at me...a son. I poured through all my old journals on my better days, searching for that moment as if to prove something to myself. Matty didn't even think it was weird, in fact, now he talks about this notion of our son having an identity—a promise—before we even knew about him.
It turns out that stress and anxiety don't mix when you're trying to make a baby, so I let the memory grow stronger to drown out the noise. I let it become truth. When we found out we were expecting, I knew it was a boy up until a week or two before our appointment to confirm. I wavered just a bit, which is funny to me now. Faith in the things you believe is an active choice, you know? But when the doc put that wand on my belly I knew I was looking for a thing, not the lack of a thing...ya know, a—
"There's the penis," he said.
"I never thought the word, 'penis' would make me cry." ...my eloquent response.
Fourteen years ago God placed a seed of faith in my lap. I wasn't asking for it, I didn't even care to know at the time, to be honest. But as we prayed for assurance, I realized He'd already begun answering that prayer.
And so, my dear son: You are a promise. You are the fruition of my motherhood and your timing is so completely on purpose that it boggles my mind. I knew about you before I knew your father, before I knew heartache, before I knew so many great adventures. I think you're going to be a really great kid and I'm pretty excited to know what the fuss is all about...I mean, God was so excited about you that He let me in on the secret when I was basically a kid myself. You're bound to be amazing.
Love you, kiddo. —Mum (Yes, your dad insists you call me this.)
PS: Last year on this day I shared some anonymous bits of advice that my sisters and I have learned from my own beloved mother and posted a photo of her pregnant with me.