I’m not one for celebrating something just because the greeting card industry says that I should. Don’t get me wrong, I think mom’s and motherhood is great, I just don’t want to be forced into buying a card and a bouquet to show appreciation just because someone tells me I should. (I also don’t buy into flowers at Valentines Day. I’d rather have them on some rainy day in June just because.) Anyway, today, instead of going to church and listening to all the wonderful stories of the mothers in the scriptures, and in our lives I stayed home with a sick little girl. And it got me to thinking about what it means to be a mom.
[One of my favorite family pictures, January 2009. Photo by Angela McAllister ]
I found out I was pregnant in May (2008), just a few days after Mother’s Day. I can remember writing in my journal about that small person inside me, wondering what they would be like, and how my life was going to change. Some women start making sacrifices for their unborn child even before they become pregnant. Some endure weeks or months of sickness and naseau. Not to mention the actual labor and delivery.
[ That’s me enjoying the snow at 39.5 weeks pregnant. Photo by Angela McAllister ]
Showing amazing restraint, I stopped eating cookie dough completely so as to eliminate the risk of my unborn child contracting salmonella. A precaution I would never take for myself, and nearly immediately after she was born I was back to my old habits. And I’d like to say that when you get to hold that sweet baby in your arms it makes it all worth it. Looking at pictures of sweet little newborns you can’t help but fall in love with them.
[ My little Creamie at 10 days old. Photo by Lyndi Bone ]
But I believe that there is something more powerful than love at first sight. True love takes time. And sacrifice. I wasn’t one of those people who was instantly head over heels in love with my child the moment I saw her. Honestly the first thing that went through my mind was “how could a baby that big (she was only 7.5 pounds) come out of me!” But true love took some time. I felt very responsible for the amazing gift that I had been entrusted with. And I did everything I could to help her grow and teach her to sit up and roll over. But true love takes time, and sacrifice. The more things I sacrificed for my little Creamie, the more I loved her.
[ This photo from my sweet friend Corby ]
And as time has gone on, I have fallen deeper and deeper in love with her. Each time I get up at night because she is afraid, each time I give up time spent on my own projects to do a puzzle with her, and every time I make room in the budget for more diapers and a new pair of shoes, love grows. We learn to love by giving up part of ourselves. By doing something for someone else. Helping someone who can’t do it on their own. Love is born of sacrifice.
[ Creamie at 3 months old, photo by Mandi Nuttall ]
A little more than two years after Creamie was born a lot has changed. Those bright blue eyes are turning green, just like mine. Our schedules no longer revolve around eating and naps. We’ve had good days and bad days and sick days (hello all of november till april!). We have celebrated a lot of firsts and many childhood milestones. There will be hundreds more. And with each new step away from infancy and towards adulthood love is growing in our little home.
[ Photo by Lyndi Bone, February 2009 ]
This weekend has been full of sickness at our house. It’s little Creamie again, this time with a really upset stomach. Tonight she is starting to do a little better, thankfully. But as I folded the umpteenth load of laundry, and ran with her to the bathroom yet again, I realized something. My mom did this same thing for me. She held me when I was sad and rocked and sang to me when I was sick. She sacrificed for me in ways I can not yet understand, and I love her for it. Mothers everywhere sacrifice for their children and the people that they love every single day. And with that sacrifice, Love Grows. Happy Mothers Day to mothers and grandmothers and aunts and to all those who love children.