Sunday, May 31, 2009

An Ode To My Mothers

Since I have very little recollection of Mother's Day (thanks to Demerol given after my C-Section), I wanted to make sure that I got in a proper tribute to our mothers before May was officially over.

My Amazing Mother-in-Law:
Greg's mom dropped everything (with just a few hours notice) to come and stay with my kids when the twins were born. She ended up staying 13 days!!! She took care of everything while I was in the hospital, and I appreciate it so much. She cooked, cleaned, washed the laundry, shopped for groceries, and loved/spoiled my kids to pieces. Although Greg and I tried to insist that she sleep in our bed, she spent half the time on the blow-up mattress in the basement, and the other half sleeping on the bottom bunk in Austin's room. She also managed to juggle taking care of my kids with taking care of her 93-year-old mother. She is amazing!

My mother-in-law never travels alone. She always has my two sister-in-laws with her. Due to a couple of recessive genes, both Suzi and Sharon were born with physical and mental disabilities. My mother-in-law has selflessly devoted that last 45 years of her life to being a mother. Although Suzi is in her mid-thirties and Sharon in her late-twenties, they still require my mother-in-law's constant attention and care. She selflessly takes care of them (and her other six children and 27 grandchildren) with a smile on her face and never a complaint (I'm not exaggerating - I have never, ever heard her gripe, whine, or complain about being a mother or ever expressing a desire for a little "Me Time").

She absolutely LOVES babies, and luckily...blessedly...she was able to spend nearly three days of her time with the twins. She held them constantly and helped out with the feedings - even in the middle of the night. The last night she was here, she slept on the couch so she could help out. She and Greg took the first feeding while I slept, and then she and I took the second feeding so Greg could sleep. So selfless and so helpful. What a blessing she has been. I don't know what we would have done without her!

On one of our first dates, I asked Greg to tell me about his parents. When he mentioned his mom, he said, "My mom...she's an angel." All of her children absolutely adore her! Even though she is practically the perfect mother, and I tend to fall very, very short in the "Perfect Mother" Category, she doesn't judge me for my imperfections. She is nothing but complimentary and supportive. I greatly appreciate a mother-in-law that is not critical. I learn so much from her loving and patient example, and I can feel of her love and prayers for us.

My Equally Amazing Mother:
I love having my mother close by. When Austin was born, my mom really wanted to be there. I am so thrilled that she asked and that Greg and I insisted that she attend his birth (and the birth of my other children - although she was about 10 minutes late for Macy). It is part of our family folklore that she nearly fainted at Austin's birth (she was actually on the floor of the hospital room for a few minutes), but she said that it was just so difficult for her to see one of her children in pain and on oxygen. I often joke with Greg that the second Austin was born he dropped my leg so fast that it plopped on the bed so that he could be with his new son - He was so excited! I was so grateful to have my mom who stayed by my side, holding my hand, and narrating everything that was going on because even though the baby was born, I was not finished. I had to stay on the bed while they stitched me up and finished with all the gorey details of birth. My mom never left my side! Since then, I have watched her empathize and cry and support both of my sisters through their own pain and the birth of their children as well. Having my mom with me during the most difficult and monumental moments of my life is like being wrapped in my very own security blanket. Even as a grown woman, I feel so safe and protected with her by my side. No matter what happens, I know...with absolutely surety...without a doubt...that there are two people who will always love me and always be there for me. It is an overwhelming feeling and there are no words to describe the gratitude I feel for my parents.

My mom came down with the flu a couple of days after the twins were born. She was down and out for well over a week. I think it nearly killed her to be bedridden and not help out more. She tried so very hard to will herself healthy, but her body took its own, sweet time. Once she was feeling better, she was on fire. She so lovingly planted my flower beds and flower pots. She knows how much I love, love, love my flower beds, and she also knew that there was just no way that I could physically get down on my hands and knees and do the planting myself. She spent one Thursday evening planting while my dad washed our cars. Just another act of selfless, loving service because she knew how much happiness it would bring to me.

My mom has also taken the older kids overnight several times so that Greg and I could sleep in. Yesterday, she took all three kids to Austin's baseball game because Greg had some church obligations and there was just no way I could get all five kids (including two three-week-olds) to the field by 9 a.m. Impossible! My kids absolutely adore their Nana. They love being with her, and she teaches them and loves them and sees the best in each one of them. She lets them know that they are special and loved. She is a constant example to me of the ideal mother. Every single time I am with her, I learn more about love, compassion, understanding, happiness, and the joy of motherhood through her outstanding example.

I have been up since 4:30 this morning. My sweet little Spence was having kind of rough time. He wasn't screaming, but he just couldn't quite settle down. He insisted on being held and just seemed really uncomfortable. After a couple of hours, he finally fell asleep. At that point, I decided just to stay up so I could get the kids ready for church. As I sat there, trying to comfort my new little boy, I peacefully watched the sun come up and had the following thought: At some point in my life, a time that I don't remember, my mom was up at 4:30 in the morning taking care of me. I was completely helpless, and she was the one providing me with all my needs, wants, and plenty of love and tenderness.

I owe everything to my mother.

It is my prayer that I will be able to evolve into the same type of woman as these two selfless examples. I fall so short so much of the time, but I have two perfect examples, and I am grateful.


cami said...

What a wonderful tribute to two of the most amazing mothers in your life! You are indeed a fortunate woman! However, you don't give yourself the credit you deserve. YOU, Em, are a tremendous mother! Especialy after coming over and having the great opportunity to help with the twins, I am convinced, they were sent to you because of the caibur of mother you are. I am still in awe as to how you make it all work. So many times I have watched as you have interacted with your kids, and you have always been patient, kind, loving and firm. You are a wonderful example of the kind of mother we should all be striving to become. I want to be more like you! I love you to pieces!

Jackie said...

I agree with Cami- you are all wonderful! Greg's mom always had a smile on her face while there. And when I was at your doorstep yesterday I was so jealous of the pretty flowers! I looked at those orange flowers and LOVED them! I thought they looked like the fake ones that you can buy in the store. Tell your mom to come plant some at my house....

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Jen-ben said...

You do have such awesome mothers! NO wonder you're such a good mom.