So another Mother's Day, under my belt! Boy, does it feel good to be a mom. And with #2 on the way, it's even more special to think just how far I've come from non-momhood.
Years ago, before Deirdre, it seemed that my parents were always here visiting during Mother's Day weekend. And every year, my dad would want to honor me as a "mom" - either encouraging me to stand during the Mom's blessing at Mass, or asking me to wear a corsage along with my sister (who WAS a mom) and my own mom. But I always refused. He was doing it out of love - maybe he knew how much I wanted to be a mom, or maybe he thought since I'd been pregnant, but miscarried, that I was technically a mom-to-be, or maybe he saw the loving way that I "mothered" Henry and Darwin and just thought I qualified. In any case, he always tried to encourage me to participate in the "mom" stuff - but I never would. I wanted to earn my wings as a mom...I knew that one day, down the road, I'd work my way into Momdom. And until then, I wanted to sit back, and let those who had earned the right to stand up in church, or wear a corsage do so.
And now that I've truly earned my way to being a mom- I'm so proud to be here. When I stood up in church yesterday, and when the attendants at brunch wished me a Happy Mother's Day, my eyes filled with tears. Because I worked so hard to earn that title. Not any harder than anyone else, of course. But those years with active lupus, on medication incompatible with pregnancy, and with doctor's orders not to get pregnant behind me...I KNOW I fought my way to where I am today.
I think back to those 5 years in between the time I wanted to get pregnant (but couldn't stay pregnant) and when I had Deirdre. What transpired? Probably some of the most important years of my life:
*I waited patiently as my body caught up on the rest and stresslessness it needed, allowing my lupus symptoms to slowly but surely fall to the wayside.
*I learned the real meaning of "stable". I used to believe that stability meant being able to walk from one end of the room to the other without crumpling into a heap on the floor (even though I wanted to), or striving to hold to a mediocre "6" on the pain scale (and being proud when it didn't reach a "10" ). But I was wrong. Stable means that my disease takes a back seat in my everyday life - that I don't have to contend with debilitating joint pain or swelling on a daily basis, and that I don't struggle to put one foot in front of the other. Most importantly, I don't even WORRY about the prospect of those things happening. I'm cognizant of what I need to do to keep those things at bay, but I'm able to live life the way it's meant to be - healthy and happy, full of hope and confidence that lupus isn't going to ruin today, or any day in the future.
*I watched as my fragile, weak stature grew into the strong, firm condition it needed to be in to have a successful, uneventful pregnancy. Don't get me wrong - I'm no Iron Woman. But compared to the skin and bones of yesteryear, when arthritis, constant pain, and swelling left my muscles and joints wilted and lifeless - I've at least got some meat on my bones. (Of course, at 17 weeks pregnant, I have a little more meat than I'd like...but that's okay. All for a good cause, right?)
Not only did my body mature during those five years, but so did my mind. Emotionally and mentally, I became more capable of adjusting to lupus, learning that it was about working with the disease rather than against it, and that whether motherhood was in my future or not, I was going to be a success. That peacefulness, that serenity was a feeling I'd been searching for all of my life. The belief that the blessing of children - whether it came naturally, via adoption, or through all of the nieces and nephews I would need to tend to - would come in due time, was all the knowledge I needed.
Of course, shortly after I reached the conclusions above, I was blessed with little Miss Deirdre. That's why her acknowledgement in my book says, "You were worth the wait." If you've met her, you KNOW she was worth every moment of every day of those 5 years. My patience and perseverance never seemed so meaningful. And I feel the same about Kit Kat (my current bump's name)...I'm ready. I'm stable. I'm strong. Mister or Miss Kit Kat is worth the wait, too.
And without a doubt, being able to celebrate Mother's Day - as a real mom, with real kids, and real responsibilities - was worth the wait, too.