I became a mother on Mother’s day, twenty-seven years ago.
My son came into this world at eight and one half pounds, twenty-one inches long. Little did I know or understand the weight of a new life.
But, from those early days, when I went to his crib to be sure that he was still breathing till the time that I would hang onto him for dear life while shopping at the mall, I began to get a sense of the gravity of my new responsiblity.
My mother used to tell me that I needed to ‘watch them when I could and ask God to watch them when I couldn’t’. I believe that prayer has served us well.
There have been many times in my son’s struggles where I have had to ‘let go’ in faith and trust that God would hold him safely. My imagination would take me to many very bad places. I’m sure that there was plenty of bad places but what my imagination did not make room for was the space where God had created ‘our village’ of safety.
This Saturday, the day before Mother’s day, I attended the funeral of a woman who was my son’s friend’s mother. My son’s friend is twenty-seven years old. He dad died when he was five.
I did not know this woman. What I did know, was that she was very kind and welcoming to my son. No matter what. My heart has been very heavy. Why didn’t I go to her and thank her? I sent a message once, but I don’t know if she ever received it.
After the funeral, I went to a reception for her. There I met other families who knew my son well. They loved him. You could tell. One dad was there playing corn hole and table tennis with him. I could tell that they knew each other well. They laughed and high fived each other.
It was all that I could do not to sit there and sob. You see we were so busy parked next to the word dysfunction that we failed to do our job. And, when we started trying, we had to let him go. But, these people–that I didn’t even know held him close. I think that they kept him safe.
Today, he is close again. And I feel only gratitude. Every day, I see a little more. I am able to see what God was doing to heal us all when it felt as if there was no hope. I am learning to trust.
And, if I could send a message to his friend’s mom, it would be that I will never forget her kindness to my son. And, I will always be there for her son if he ever needs anything.
I think twelve-step programs and the gospels have exactly the right idea. Take what you need. Build a solid foundation with it. Then go and give it to someone else. As a benefactor, I can tell you that I have been given more that I ever could have imagined.
I am a daughter, sister, aunt, mother and probably most notoriously, ‘the Vet’s wife’.