I remember the moment. I remember the moment almost as clearly as the moment she was first placed into my arms. We were about four weeks home. We had both been fighting illness for nearly the entire four weeks. I was facing a return to work in a short period of time and Dori was nowhere near sleeping through the night. I made us both urgent care appointments in the hopes that somehow we would find some relief. As I dragged myself through the hospital doors with that precious infant strapped to my chest I never felt so exhausted, so alone, and so overwhelmed at the life ahead of me. The mountain of parenting loomed like a mountain before me and I was alone in the wilderness.
We got through that day and through that bought of illness. Dori’s x-ray revealed a minor case of pneumonia and my appointment resulted in a prescription for cough medicine to “help you sleep through the night” – um, the cough is not what was keeping me up and there was NO WAY I was ingesting anything that would make too sleepy to keep those bottle flowing in the wee hours.
We got better and I survived the return to work. Slowly I started to claw my way up the mountain, found my rhythm and started enjoying the scenery. But I remember that moment so clearly, the moment I realized this is going to be really, really hard and I am really on my own. (Not that I do not have the support of faith, family and friends, but the reality with single parenting is that the buck stops with me. I am the ONLY parent Dori has and there are some things only parents do… like trips to urgent care.)
As we approach Mother’s Day, the celebration of motherhood, I think back to those first really hard weeks and months. I think about how first have become lasts. The last bottle, the last diaper (yeah), the last crawl, the last time shopping in the infant department (I miss baby clothes). Dori’s needs are different now, less physical. We are firmly established as family. The road is not smooth but its bumps and craters are familiar and we have learned to navigate them. Not always well, but at least without injury.
My Mother’s Day will not bring a handsome husband bearing beautiful jewelry and breakfast in bed prepared by precious little hands. I will more than likely have to drag myself out of bed in response to the same insistent urging that greets me any day that the alarm clock does not. No sleeping in for this mom –no lazing about either. There will be a gift – I have had not so subtle hints that Dori and grandma have been making a treasure. There will be church and with its obligatory Mother’s Day sermon and maybe lunch out. But mostly there will be Dori, my daughter, my delight. Driving me crazy or sweet as sunshine, you are my badge of honor and I am blessed. I am blessed to be your mother