Love. I scribbled the word on my left wrist in blue ink the other day, wondering what it would look like to have the reminder permanently noted so I could look down and remember to do it: Love.
My mother stitched it in beautiful colors of tiny threads and hung it on our wall, perhaps to remind us, perhaps to remind herself. I'm sure there were many days with her nine kids that she felt like she might need a reminder to love us--especially when we all disappeared after dinner and left her with a stack of dirty dishes a mile high.
When I had our first child, Abby, I was a mess. After sixteen hours of labor that ended in a c-section and a very shaken husband, I needed help. A nurse came and talked to me about feeding my baby every couple of hours, even if I needed to wake her to do it. A nursing specialist from La Leche League came to help me because my baby wouldn't latch on. I was in tears from pain, and she was in tears from hunger. After four days in the hospital, Dave drove me home to our little apartment. What would I do with this baby? I could barely even walk! How would we survive?
Dave called my Mother. He got her on a plane. And when she showed up from 2,000 miles away that night, I knew everything was going to be okay. She rocked my baby in the night so I could sleep. She made us food so we would have strength. She forced me to get that baby to eat, even though the pain of nursing made me cringe and cry. "Just relax your shoulders," she told me, "and take a deep breath. You can do it." And she was right, I could do it. I DID do it--through the pain, through a clogged milk duct, then abscess--night after night, day after day: which is exactly how I learned to be a mother.
Little by little, as we suffer and struggle, we laugh and comfort, we learn how to do this sometimes thankless job. Some of us are lucky to have had a great teacher . . . the one that shows us that the most important thing is so simple..... Just Love.
*Happy Mother's Day*
I love you, Mom!