It’s here again, first mommy – that day that creeps up and tears my heart in two. One part is so thankful for the blessing of being called mommy and the other half knows the pain you carry. One can’t exist without the other. Both have to be acknowledged and felt.
You have been on my mind all day today, first mommy, as I struggle to find the words to adequately express my heart towards you. We’re forever connected, you and I. I carefully carry pieces of your heart with me every day and I don’t take that lightly.
You keep me humble. When I’m tempted to resent even the most inconvenient aspects of motherhood, I remember, you would give anything to have this day back. It’s not just you, it’s all women who have experienced loss, heartache, or longed for motherhood…. it reminds me not to take for granted the little things. One day it could be me wishing for one more moment, one more tear, one more sick day to hold them near. I am the lucky one.
I will never forget holding your hands and promising I will do everything I can to protect them. I’ve spent three years trying to live up to my promise. You’ve told me not to lie to them – you want them to know you are so sorry for what has happened – you never wanted it to be this way….
And when our little girl asks me whose tummy she came from, I remind her of you – her first mommy. It’s easy to tell her that you loved her so much because I know it’s true. They can’t understand right now the sacrifice you made or how the story played out… but one day they will know that you chose life, you chose love in the hardest way… letting go of your dream.
They are breathtakingly beautiful and growing so fast. That baby girl wears her sisters’ clothes now and runs our house. She is fearless and already rides her bike without training wheels. The twins think they are teenagers… that’s how we convince them to eat their dinner (we tell them it’s teenager food). They want to grow up so fast, be cheerleaders and gymnasts. They all three think they are mermaids and could live in the water. It’s a beautiful life.
You’re never far from my mind; I see glimpses of you each and every day. I remember moments of seeing you with them, the love in your eyes and wondering if I could ever live up to the love of you, first mommy. Then one day I realized it’s not a matter of living up but a matter of loving with. They can never have too much love.
I can’t imagine what this day is like for you, first mommy… or the days that mark their births. My eyes fill with tears knowing parts of your story and the cost you’ve carried. And as that baby girl asks me, “are those happy tears mommy?” I want you to know, I own that my joy comes behind your pain. I wish our story wasn’t complicated this way.
But for what it’s worth, you give me courage to face each day – even when it’s hard to get out the door. I work hard to teach them right from wrong, choices and consequences, love and respect. I want them to grow up to be someone you’d be proud of. We want to give them every chance for success. And even though sometimes we all end up in a mess of tears, I can hold them in my arms and remind us, we’re doing the best we can.
As strangers sitting next to us at lunch admired their beauty, celebrated their personalities and asked the questions I so often hear… are they identical? how do you tell them apart? can you imagine when they are all teenagers?… I just take a deep breath, answer what I can and thank God you were there first.
It doesn’t sting the way some think it would… these question… it actually makes me laugh – because let’s be honest – Daniel still can’t tell them apart. I think it makes the world feel better to know we get it wrong sometimes too. And when one of the twins tells a stranger that she has “two mommies” I quickly try to explain what she means.
I guess I want to say, thank you, first mommy… for the good things. I know it wasn’t easy and days like today are hard. I have no words that can bring closure to the chasm in your heart.
When I tuck their exhausted little bodies into bed, say prayers over them and kiss their sweet sun-kissed faces… I don’t take for granted that I’m holding pieces of your heart. As another Mother’s Day comes to an end, my heart longs for you to know, I think of you, I honor you and I am thankful to get to share the name mommy with you.