To my mother on my birthday

Day 61

31 years ago you went to bed.

Sometime, in the middle of the night, your stomach muscles must have tightened with the first of the rippling contractions that would bring me into this world.

Were you scared I wonder? Or did you feel like a warrior readying for battle, gathering your strength, breathing deeply, laser focus, centered, ready.

3 years you waited for me, hoping and praying, dreaming of babies wrapped in white blankets, tiny booties on their feet. The doctors told you there was really no chance. Scarring, they said, of the fallopian tubes, caused by a childhood sickness maybe, a high fever.

“It was the best day.” you’ve told me many times, “the day we found out we were pregnant with you.”

“I walked miles and miles that summer.” you’ve said, “with a hand on my belly, talking to you, telling you of my love for you, how excited we were to meet you, to have you, to hold you. Thanking God for you. ”

You nursed me well into childhood. I can remember curling into your lap, playing with the chain around your neck. I remember weaning too, “this tastes like strawberries. ” I said, ready to be big, ready to move to the next phase of our relationship, ready to pass my “mee-mees” to my little sister, recently born.

You stayed home with us, a constant and comforting presence in our lives. Made breakfast in the morning, toast, and orange juice, cereal and milk. We actually ate at our small kitchen table every night, you and dad at either end, me and sis in the middle, talking, laughing, fighting, loving.

You read us books for hours on end. One winter, in the small bedroom my sister and I shared, with the twin beds pushed together,  we read all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books out loud. The following summer, Anne of Green Gables. Story after story of wild snow storms on the open prairie, and the racing pulses of first loves.

Eventually, you started teaching, yoga and dance. After all those years of mothering, your muscles must have itched to bend and stretch, your feet must have ached to travel across the floor. But I still wasn’t ready to let you go.

You talked loud, to your mother and grandmother on the phone. Separated by thousands of miles, those conversations must have been your lifeline, a connection to a world left behind.

There are things I couldn’t know about you, until I had a child myself. Why I see you staring at me sometimes, across the room, not speaking, a small smile on your lips. And why you find cars scary, are terrified of driving. Our small, fragile bodies were never meant to go that fast.

And now, watching you with Revel, and Zander, it all comes rushing  back. The endless patience you showed us, never raising your voice, always there with a cookie, or a hug.

I’m sorry that this world is such a hard place to live, for one so sweet, and gentle.

There are things about you I mistook for weakness; now I can see them for what they are,

your strengths.

You have loved and sheltered me all the days of my life.

Thank you.

I love you.

I’m sorry.

Please forgive me.

I love you so much mom,



i love you mom

i love you mom


6 responses to “To my mother on my birthday

  1. So beautiful.
    SO true.

    I can only nod in agreement & empathy with each statement written here.

    Yes and amen.

  2. And happy birthday love.
    My thoughts were with you all day – as I greedily hoarded my ideas, looking over my print-out of the giving list.
    What next? So thrilling.

    Here’s to all your blessings – may they be multiplied as you bless others again & again.
    Love you.

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