Lately I haven't been the best mother in the world.
Life feels so busy that I find myself being short-tempered for no apparent reason, hurrying my children to do something every minute of the day.
I'd been getting ready for my own Mom's visit (i.e. cleaning house) and finishing up several things for work, so I hadn't taken much time to reflect on what Mother's Day means for me. All I wanted was to enjoy the day, spend time with my family and not think about work.
But I was moved when I read the stories of several women in Sunday's News-Gazette whose dream of motherhood was delayed by infertility problems.
It brought back the flood of emotions that surrounded our own journey to parenthood. Suffice to say we struggled to have children as well.
There were false hopes and miscarriages, surgeries and shots, tears and anger. I still remember one of the saddest moments, when I attended a friend's baby shower shortly after my own miscarriage. She was my age, and pregnant with her second child later in life. The pregnancy was unplanned, not altogether convenient, and as I sat there, aching but smiling, I just kept thinking, "This is not fair."
I also remember some wise words from my own mother. She had stayed overnight in the hospital with me following one pregnancy that went wrong. I was sad, in pain, and I told her I wasn't sure I wanted to go through it all again. She didn't try to talk me out of it, or give me a pep talk. She just said, without hesitation, "That's OK."
It told me I would be fine, no matter what. I had a large extended family that loved me. I had nieces and a nephew I treasured as my own. And I knew we'd find a way to have children, one way or the other.
Within a year I was pregnant again, and this time everything went beautifully (well, the labor was a trip, but that's another story). There could not have been two happier parents on earth.
And on the Big Day, as I gazed into the deep well of my son's eyes for the first time, I felt a connection I'd never known. I could not keep my eyes off him.
My mom was there, too, watching it all. A pretty perfect motherhood moment.
Months later, after my son's first birthday, I interviewed a local couple who had moved heaven and earth to adopt a baby girl. Their daughter was about my son's age, and their joy was no less than my own. I couldn't stop the tears as they talked about a very different, but equally fulfilling, journey to parenthood.
This year, I was lucky. I got to spend the day with my two wonderful kids and husband. And my mom and sister -- my best motherhood role models -- who drove to meet us halfway between our homes. And two of my nieces, who surprised their mom by driving in from Chicago. A pretty perfect Mother's Day.
So to all the moms who are waiting and praying for a child, take hope, try to be at peace, and treasure all the mothers and children in your life. It will help carry you through.