Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother is a Beautiful Word

I never really thought about a favorite word until I had children. Mama was the first word each of my children spoke (much to the dismay of my husband who diligently practiced saying 'Dada' to them each day). Their sweet voices calling 'mama' is a sound that will remain forever in my heart.

Even as they grow, and 'Mama' has changed to 'Mommy' and then to 'Mom', each variation holds it's own beauty. Mother is a beautiful word. It holds such power and meaning. My children are my life. They are each a part of me. My body held them, protected them, nourished them. They were born carrying a bit of my heart and soul. After I am gone from this world, my heart will continue to beat in each of theirs.

Never in my life (until 7 years ago!) did I ever imagine I might be a mother. Such a thing was beyond belief. First of all, I feared pain. How could I ever bear the brutality of childbirth? Oh, I've heard the stories. My grandmother glories in describing her three days of gruesome labor during my own mother's birth. Of course, now they have drugs to alleviate the pain, but even then I knew I would not follow that path.

The birth of my firstborn was different than I had ever imagined. It was beautiful. It was 20 hours of waiting for his arrival, focusing on my precious joy instead of the pain, feeling the ghostly presence of my mother at my side holding my hand, the doctor's arrival and stunned surprise to learn that I had refused any drugs. I listened to my baby's heartbeat on the monitors with all the wires taped across my swollen belly. Even as they hurried me into surgery, to bring my son into the world via c-section because of complications, I marveled at the wonder of it all. And when the doctor lifted my 9 lb 5oz child from my womb, I saw the most beautiful baby in the world. I cried at his beauty. At the miracle that my body had created such a perfect creature.

Now, 7 years and 2 more children later, I still recall each of their births with such clarity that I hope never to forget. I have 3 favorite days of the year, 3 days that I celebrate as the most wondrous days in my world. The birthdays of each of my children.

On my own birthday, I think of my mother. Was my birthday one of her favorite days? Did she remember the first time she held me after many hours of labor to bring me into the world? Did she remember with crystal clarity the moment the doctor placed me in her arms and she first looked upon me? Did she cry as I did at the first sight of her baby?
Mom and me

As I've become a mother, I feel closer to my own, even though she's no longer with me. I understand her more now than I ever could before. And as I love the sound of my children calling me 'Mommy' I also love the sound of 'Mom' falling from my lips as I call to her.

And as the word 'mother' holds such meaning to me now, more than ever before, I also realize I have two other favorite words that rival that. Two more words that until a few years ago, I thought never to hold any meaning to me.

Son and Daughter.

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