God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.
– Rudyard Kipling –
I want to wish every mother out there (especially the ones reading this) a wonderful celebration and offer my sincerest words of admiration and gratitude. Mother’s day… what a wonderful holiday… Motherhood is one of the central forces in our humanity and I am pleased that we have a holiday to celebrate it.
I would also like to celebrate… the “mothers” in my life… my mom and the mother of my children. The feature picture is of my mom with my brother and sister. (please… no making fun of the lederhosen)
As a man I am obviously on the sideline with respect to motherhood. While on the “sideline” I have been paying attention and I do not believe there is anything closer to our creator’s love than true motherly love. I want to post something very personal (hopefully Isabelle will not mind).
Let me share some of our story…
In the beginning when I first was dating Isabelle I watched her with her sister’s children and immediately knew that she would be a fantastic mother. I was a single father so “this time” I was wise enough to pay attention (or even care about this). More over Isabelle wanted to be a mother. She was someone much more brilliant than I… better educated… better career… simple she was better than me… period. (I know… I definitely married up). She had all of this but in her mind it was all second to the goal of having a family and being a mother.
When we got married she wanted to have children right away and well being selfish I wanted to wait at least a little bit. You know… have time together. (I was not ready to share) I finally “gave in”… and this began all of our problems. For some odd reason we just couldn’t get the “job” done. (not that I minded trying). Month after month passed and still no pregnancy. She cried often and I felt kind of helpless. We decided to get “medical” help and while at her first visit they noticed a tumor in her breast. Before they would do anything she had to have this removed. This was the first “scary” surgery for us. We got passed this and after a few embarrassing tests (both of us had to do these…) were told that we were going to need a little help.
We started fertility drugs and were told that at a somewhat precise time we would have to go to the hospital and “make” the baby there with the help of a doctor. We were excited when the day came. It was a Sunday and we hurried to the hospital. I was less thrilled when I was given a cup and told to go into a small room. The small room turned out to be a supply closet and I had to do my part there amongst the cleaning supplies. To be honest it was a struggle and worse they kept talking to me through the door… somehow despite all of this I was able to “man up” and get the job done. (wow that sounds horrible and it was horrible… I kind of worried I would develop some weird thing for janitor supplies).
After less than an hour with the doctor everything was in place and fortunately all of this clinical stuff actually worked. We were pregnant… and I witnessed Isabelle’s joy despite the throwing up and increasing pain. She was already bonding… talking to the baby… even writing a daily journal for the new life inside of her.
She started complaining all of the time saying that she knew something wrong. When we would go to the doctor, he would do a quick ultra sound and say “everything is ok”. I tried to comfort her and tell her “she was ok”… don’t worry… etc… (really bad mistake… made me sound very unsympathetic )
One day I finally believed her and insisted that the doctor do something. He sent us to the emergency room. They performed a CAT scan and she was taken immediately into surgery. We actually had twins and one was ectopic. Without going into too many details her fallopian tube had burst and she was bleeding internally. I was scared to death… All of this “baby” stuff could make me lose Isabelle. I remember staring at the wall during the surgery praying please let her live. After what felt like days, the doctor came out and told me everything was ok with Isabelle. I was allowed to go be with her as she awoke from the anesthesia. The first thing out of her mouth was is the baby ok? (I am such a dork… I hadn’t even bothered to ask). Wow… her only concern was that of the baby. Fortunately the doctor was there and could answer her question. He explained everything and told her that we lost one of the twins but the other was ok.
After spending the rest of the pregnancy stuck in bed – “bed rest”…. along with a “down syndrome” scare… (nurse told us the baby had tested positive for down syndrome) we finally had a baby girl and we named her Gwenaelle.
One week later…. we were back at the emergency room and Isabelle had to have her gallbladder removed. (Jesh… I thought we were done with all of this bad luck) While she was having this third surgery I was home with the week old baby… trying to convince her that a bottle was just as good as mom… (lots of crying that night… both baby and I). I remember thinking after all of this… at least she was able to have “one” baby and be a “mom”. One is better than none… after all of this there was no way she would want another… three surgeries along with a birth in one year. (Her poor stomach looked like she had survived a horrific knife fight)
Less then a year later Isabelle said she wanted another baby… (I thought she was insane… plus… I was so not into going back to the supply closet) I couldn’t imagine going through all of this over again… she must have some weird amnesia. Her love and desire to have another child was well beyond any suffering or fear she may have had. I again had to admit… she was so much better than I. We were fortunate the second time and were able to do it all on our own. We had Samuel and then with some coaxing from Isabelle we had our last child Benjamin. Wonderful beings who I loved dearly… but I still wonder if I love them as much as I know their mother does.
Looking back I can’t imagine going through what she did and being willing to go through it again. I just wouldn’t do it. I have witnessed first hand that special selfless love that a mother offers her child. Isabelle was willing to sacrifice everything for them. I honestly believe that the closest thing to God’s love that you will find on earth is that of a mother for her children.