I loved them before I ever knew them.
Women who give birth to babies who look a little like them and a little like the father say that about the children they carry. That they loved the child even before the child was born. That when the babies were placed on their chests after birth and they gazed into the baby’s eyes for the first time, they recognized the children as theirs. I’ve been told this by more than one mother.
Even though they looked nothing like me, I recognized mine, too. I looked at their faces in photographs sent from an adoption agency half a world away, and in that moment, everything, EVERYTHING finally made sense. And I became a mother. Their mother.
Even after all these years, I still don’t know where I end and they begin. When they are happy, I am happy. When they hurt, I hurt more. They are my first thoughts every morning and my last bedtime prayer. They do not yet understand this kind of love. Someday they may, and it will probably humble and frighten them in the same ways that it has me. You think you know, but nothing prepares you for this kind of love. It kind of drops you to your knees. Over and over. It drops you.
Mother’s Day is the day set aside to honor our mothers. We visit or send flowers or make a phone call to wish our own mother a happy day. It’s kind of commercial and pretty much expected in May. Today, I am thinking about all of my friends who are missing their mothers. Women who tell me I am fortunate that I can still visit mine. It’s true.
I am thinking about the women who yearn for that humbling, frightening, kind of love for a child, too. Because I was one of those for a really long time before I became a mother through the miracle of adoption. I think of the two special mothers I never met who I share the day with. Women who trusted that the universe would be kind to the babies they brought into the world. A son. A daughter. Double blessings.
The ones we share who call me Mom.
Happy Mother’s Day.