Sunday, May 11, 2014

My First Mother's Day

March of 2013, I thought I was finally going to have my Mother's Day as mother to Russell.  I spent so many years dreaming of the day I could be considered and called Mom.

 April, 2013 with Russell (Photo by Olivia Navarro Photography)

Then that dream was wrenched from me with the failed adoption.  Today I have thought of Little D. whom we fostered four years ago, and Russell.  I pray that they have loving mamas in their life.  I pray that they know a mother's love.  I forever hold these two boys in my heart.

The empty cradle of which I previously wrote, is empty no more.  I keep the cradle in my music studio in case Rose is in need of a place to sleep while I'm practicing or teaching.  My dream of having a child who will sleep in this generously gifted cradle has come true.

This year I have been blessed to finally celebrate my role as mother and have it be publicly recognized.  Less than two weeks after I turned 40 years old, I just had the most amazing first Mother's Day as mama to Rose, 2 months old.  I have received the most amazing outpouring of hugs, well-wishes, texts, cards, and Facebook posts and messages wishing me a Happy Mother's Day.

me holding newborn Rose (photo by Olivia Navarro Photography)

In e-mails from Rose's birthmother this past week, she expressed her excitement about my first Mother's Day.  I tried to remind her that I would not be Rose's mama if it were not for her.  I feel confident and secure in my role as Rose's mama and am not at all threatened by the presence of Rose's birthmother in our lives as many people fear when considering open adoption.  I honor her place in our extended family and in Rose's life.  I can't think of Mother's Day without thinking of her.

I sent a Mother's Day card with Rose's footprints to her birthmother.  Yesterday I opened the front door to find a box of flowers.  They were from Rose's birthmother and sister.  I was incredibly touched by this beautiful gesture and recognition of my new role as mama. 

Rose received her 2 month shots on Friday, so yesterday was an incredibly rough day as she was uncomfortable from the vaccinations.  I decided to leave her home with Mike this morning to rest instead of taking her to church with me.  I am a paid soloist at my church and was scheduled to sing today, so I went to church.  When I arrived at church this morning I received a text from Rose's birth grandmother wishing me a Happy Mother's Day.  How incredible is that?!

I then met Mike and Rose at Benihana's for a Mother's Day lunch.  Yummy!

We invited my cousin who recently moved to Colorado, and my aunt and uncle who happened to be in town over for dinner tonight.  It was lovely to be surrounded by family.  My uncle, the grandson of Rose's namesake, my great-grandmother Rosetta, told me stories of Rose's great-great-grandmother.  I was blessed to know her.  I called her Nana.  If I'm remembering correctly, she passed when I was around 5 years old.  She played an integral part in raising my mother.  My mother enjoys ironing, one of my most dreaded chores, because it was her grandmother who taught her how to iron.

 My great-granmother, Rosetta Norton Schneider's wedding photo.  She was married at the age of 15.

May 11, 2014: Me holding her great-great granddaughter, Rose Michaela

(my Uncle Douglas holding Rose just as she was letting us know she was tired and ready to start getting ready for bed)

 I baked a blueberry pie for dessert.  I felt even more connected to my family as I am a fourth generation pie baker, the tradition started by my great-grandmother Rosetta.  My daughter Rose will be the fifth generation of pie bakers.  I look forward to sharing this with her.  Of Filipino heritage by birth, I hope to learn some Filipino dishes to make with and for Rose.

I believe that adoption is not discussed more openly because unless you have experienced it, there is absolutely no way to relate.  How can anyone relate to the idea that we have an even larger family?  I honor Rose's birthmother and am forever indebted to her.  Not only for Rose herself, but for the gift of motherhood.  A dream I've had for so many years.  I relish in both the joys and challenges of motherhood; the smiles, the dirty diapers, the coos, the spit up, the shared naps and cuddles, the waking in the middle of the night.  As is often said, motherhood is the most challenging and rewarding job there has ever been.

I strongly feel that it is not the act of giving birth that makes you a mother, but I intend to bring Rose up with full knowledge of the amazing woman who gave her life.  I would not be a mother if it were not for the incredible love, physical, and emotional sacrifice made by Rose's birthmother.

An adoptive mom worries that she will not be recognized as mother.  A birthmother worries that her love and sacrifice will be forgotten.  Let us love and support both birth and adoptive mothers.  Both have different roles they are playing in the life of the child, but they are both mothers.  Both play an integral part in the life of these children.  Happy Mother's Day to all mamas out there.

Dear G., how can I say, "Thank you," for choosing me to be Rose's mother?  How can I thank you for the love you share and the sacrifice you made?  You are a beautiful soul to whom I will forever be indebted.