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Week 21: Labor of love

For 25 years, I observed yesterday’s holiday as not much more than that: a single day to celebrate my mom. It always involved a card with a sweet sentiment and a gift of some sort, but that’s about as far as it went. But, having had the amazing blessing of being a mama of one...

memories4For 25 years, I observed yesterday’s holiday as not much more than that: a single day to celebrate my mom. It always involved a card with a sweet sentiment and a gift of some sort, but that’s about as far as it went.
But, having had the amazing blessing of being a mama of one for the last 19 months (and a mother-to-be of two for the past five months), I’ve come to see mothers and their special day in a whole new light.
Now, if I could make every day of the year Mother’s Day, I would. Partially because who wouldn’t want a box of Godiva chocolates and a pedicure every single day?! (Yeah. My kid has awesome taste.) But, really, because appreciation for a mama shouldn’t just be expressed one day a year.
Three-hundred-sixty-five days a year, a mother’s life revolves around others. Almost from the moment of conception (or at least the first bout of morning sickness!) she gives of herself completely. From pregnancy until a mama breathes her last breath, she is wrapped up in her child body, heart and mind.
I saw a perfect example of this last week while I was visiting my parents in California. Jacob came down with a terrible bug that introduced me to what it felt like to be covered in baby vomit (and in some cases diarrhea) … over … and over … and over again. Thanks to food poisoning or the flu bug (doctors aren’t sure which) Jacob was as pitiful as could be for four days of our vacation. Feverish and lethargic, he just wanted to be held and rocked and walked for hours on end. (One perk—I’m totally ready for the next arm wrestling challenge that comes my way.) After a trip to the ER on the second day, the doctor told us he had to be given fluids every fifteen minutes via a syringe when awake and every hour throughout the night.
Since Tom wasn’t with us, there was no tag teaming on baby duty. Thank the Lord, I didn’t go it alone, though. Though my mom isn’t able to pick up or hold Jacob, she was there to make sure we were as comfortable as could be, bringing us pillows, water, juice and ice chips. She even cut my food into bite-sized pieces so I could hold Jacob and still eat. None of this was easy for her. She has been fighting a severe illness, and being up all day and into the night taking care of us was a strain on her body, but she did it willingly. For her, like for me, there was never any thought of doing any less. It truly was a labor of love.
(For the record, my dad was a trooper, too. He took on laundry duty, which was no fun task that day, I assure you, and picked up juice and food for Jacob at the grocery store. Thanks, again, dad! I’ll save more of your praise for a Father’s Day post.)
Though the experience wasn’t one I’d care to repeat anytime soon (or, let’s be honest, ever!), it gave me an opportunity to get a deeper glimpse of what mama love is really all about. There’s no denying that caring for your children, young or old, is a whole lot of work. You know how the old saying goes, “If it was going to be easy, it never would have started with something called labor.” But it’s a labor of love, and one that this mama wouldn’t change for the world.