“Happy Mother’s Day” the friendly attendant says as we roll down our car window to enter the gates at Bloedel Reserve, a lovely public garden on Bainbridge Island. “Happy Mother’s Day to you too,” our friend K. replies cheerily from the front seat. “Oh, I’m not a mom yet,” offers up Ms. Attendant.
We drive off and K. muses, “How did she know that we are mothers?” “We?” I thought to myself. How indeed?
My friend is mom to two. Maybe she gives off that I’m-a-mom vibe or possibly Ms. Attendant simply assumed that two women of a “certain age” had to be mothers. Or her greeting might have been the salutation du jour.
For me, Mother’s Day is a mixed bag of emotions. I imagine my feelings are shared by many adoptive-moms-to-be. Truthfully the past few years I’ve wanted the day to pass by as quickly as possible. This is exactly how I used to feel on Valentine’s Day during my single years. Please just get it over with.
Meandering through Bloedel we saw rhododendrons awash with blooms and families celebrating motherhood. Sons escorted elderly moms across fields of green. Toddlers ran up the trails giggling under the watchful gaze of their mothers. Even the ducks in the pond showed off their little broods as they paddled and skittered at the water’s edge.
The sun was shining and we were in a beautiful place amongst friends. Being surrounded by plants, camera in hand and Big Papa at my side is generally a recipe for complete happiness. So why did I feel that something was amiss? I think it was my expectation that I would be amongst the revelers, because this year, I’d be in the mommy club, kid in tow.
Later, back at the Urban Cabin, I took another look at the thoughtful card Big Papa gave me earlier in the day. In it he reminded me that even though I might be celebrating the day as a mother-in-waiting, it’s still something to celebrate. That in adopting we are taking a stand and doing the right thing for a child…we just haven’t met him yet.
It is true that on the day that I do become a mom, I won’t suddenly become more caretaking, creative thinking, or adventure loving. I exhibit those qualities in the relationships I nurture right now. Once we adopt, I’ll just have one more person in my life to shower those traits on.
I decided to take what Big Papa wrote to heart. Do you only become a “real” cyclist after you compete in a race? Are you truly a writer only if your words achieve publication? Is it the public recognition that makes it so? Or instead, is it the mile after mile you log every day you climb on the bike and the thousands of words written in your journal that may never see the light of day?
So before I lay my head on the pillow last night, I closed my eyes and took a moment to honor all that I am that is already a testament to my abilities to “mother,” whether it’s the delicious meals I prepare for us each weekend, to the trips to the vet to attend to our sick cat, to the moments when I sit down and listen to Big Papa talk about his day and the hours I spend orchestrating our trips and adventures. Mothering is in all those little details and I do it every day.