First, I want to wish all mothers a very happy Mother’s Day. I hope it is a day of joy and fun and wonderful sharing of family time.
On Friday, a friend on Twitter posted this: “You are your mother’s masterpiece.” His words made me misty-eyed, as well as brought a smile. The warmth in my eyes was because my mother is in heaven, and I am really missing her this weekend. The smile was because my sister always claimed that Mother loved me the best.
Definitely not true.
Our mother loved us both enough to work hard and struggle to keep our three-pointed family together through difficult times after the divorce from our father. That’s one of the things I came to appreciate about her the most when I started listing all the reasons I loved her. Her endurance was inspiring.
Still, Mother and I did have a special relationship in later adult years when I had gotten past childhood and young adulthood traumas from the way she sometimes treated us. I was lucky enough to have counseling that help me put a perspective on her behavior and eventually allowed me to let go of resentments from what happened those long-ago years.
Our mother did not have the privilege of learning how to be a parent. As a child, she was never in a normal family situation, having been put in an orphanage along with her sister when their mother decided she couldn’t raise them alone after their father left. Through the counseling, I was finally able to come to a real understanding and acceptance of that, which helped in establishing a closer bond with my mother than I’d had for too many years.
My sister had a different bond. Sometimes very close and sometimes very volatile. But the volatile times didn’t keep my sister from giving Mother a home when she could no longer live alone. And the difficult times didn’t stop my mother from loving her as much as she loved me.
Honest, sis, that’s the truth.
My mother’s story is told in my novel Evelyn Evolving *** Enjoy this excerpt of a fictional account of my birth.
Another contraction tightened like a metal band around her belly, and Evelyn moaned with the pain. She wished Russell would hurry back. The pains were coming hard and fast.
Moments later Russell ran into the living room. “Are you ready?”
“Yes. Thank God you’re here. I don’t think this is going to take as long as it did for Juanita.”
Evelyn stood and made it to the car as fast as her pains would let her move. It wasn’t far to the hospital, which was another stroke of luck. She could feel the urge to push and remembered from when Juanita was born that the urge meant the baby was ready. Russell drove the few blocks as if he were in a race car, then pulled to a screeching halt in front of the hospital. He turned off the engine and ran around to open the passenger door for Evelyn. “Can you walk?”
“I don’t know.”
“Never mind.” He swept her up in his arms and ran to the door. Once inside, a nurse spotted them and hurried over, pushing a wheelchair.
“Put her down, sir.” Russell did and the nurse told Evelyn to breathe in short pants and “don’t push” as she was whisked down the hall. Another nurse helped get Evelyn onto an exam table.
“The baby’s coming,” Evelyn said, panting through another contraction. “Oh my God.”
The nurse pushed Evelyn’s dress up and pulled her panties off just seconds before Evelyn’s water broke in a warm rush and flooded the area. The other nurse grabbed towels to catch the flow of water as the doctor walked in. “She’s crowning,” the nurse said. “We’ll have to deliver her here.”
The doctor grunted a response and lifted the sheet the nurse had draped over Evelyn’s knees. The nurse standing beside Evelyn said, “Okay. Now you can push.”
Four excruciating pushes later, another baby girl was born. Hair matted with sweat and breathing heavily, Evelyn collapsed against the bed.
Russell wanted a boy. Would he be horribly disappointed? She tried not to worry about that as the nurses cleaned her up, then wheeled her down to the maternity ward. After the nurses got her settled in bed, with strict instructions that she was not to get up, Russell was allowed to come in.
“We had a girl,” Evelyn said.
“Yes. The nurse told me.” He sat on the hard wooden chair that had been put there for visitors.
Nothing had changed in the hospital routine since she’d been here before, but she wished that he would be allowed to sit on the bed. And maybe they could hold hands. Anything to make her feel more connected to him. Evelyn sighed. “They said she was healthy.”
“Are you happy?”
“Sure.” He gave her a smile, but it wasn’t like the smile when Juanita was born.
Evelyn had hoped that once the baby was here, Russell would be more excited about another child. She didn’t doubt that he loved children. That was clear in the way he treated Juanita. He often sang to her, and always picked her up and swung her around when he came home from work. But right now he didn’t look like he wanted to sing to this new baby.
Maybe her fears were real.
Maybe he was horribly disappointed in not having a son.
Evelyn wanted to ask Russell if that was the case, but before she could say anything else, the nurse came in to tell him it was time to leave. Another rule that hadn’t changed. Visitors, even husbands, could only stay a few minutes after the birth. The new mother needed her rest.