Certainly when I think of what it means to be a good mother, I think of my mom. I think, too, of when my first baby was born.
I had pushed little Lucy out and into the hands of capable doctors and nurses, all waiting to whisk her away to the newborn ICU. She did not cry. Her lungs would not inflate. She was turning blue. I rested my head in my mother’s arms.
I rewind in my mind to me lying on a different hospital bed. I was twenty weeks along in my precious pregnancy, excited to find out if this muffin was a boy or girl. We got devastating news instead. The baby had a severe diaphragmatic hernia. The diaphragm mysteriously did not close while forming. This meant the stomach and intestines were free to move about the chest cavity – crowding the lungs and pushing the heart to the right. And, we were having a girl.
My mom was in that ultrasound room with my husband and me. She held me, we cried. The months following brought numerous ultrasounds and visits to specialists. She was there for every one. As young wide-eyed parents, her support was sweet and needed as we stepped into the world of medical terminology and unanswered questions. She had given birth ten times. She endured, with small children at home, a husband away in Vietnam. She had lived through many facets of heartache, a loved one struggling with alcohol, other loved ones who were sexually abused, and simply the tiresome antics of raising and rearing a large family. She did it all with strength and fortitude, willing to quietly serve and enrich those around her. Along the way she passed to me priceless lessons of what it means to be a mom: intense love, patience, pain, dedication, and sometimes giving up my desires for what Father in Heaven has in store.
When it came time to have our Lucy, I knew I needed my mother there. With her hands on my hair, I watched Lucy flinch and then be wheeled away on a high-frequency ventilator.
The following months were scary, heart-wrenching, spiritual, devastating, and beautiful. As we were faced with the decision to carry on with Lucy’s care, and watch her slowly decline, or to let her be free from pain, our parents continued their absolute support. My mom was one of the last people to hold Lucy before she passed away.
She’s held me many times since then.
My mom has since been diagnosed with a rare connective tissue disease, which is slow-moving and fatal. I am soaking in the time I have left with her. I don't let trifling differences get in the way -- it's so not worth it. I also enjoy two handsome little boys, teach them where they came from, and where they are going because of all I’ve learned from those two lights of my life. I hold those boys close. I drink up their exuberance. They offer earnest and sweet prayers for their "Nanny" and they know we will be with their sister Lucy again. Oh, I am thankful. And lucky.