A friend just sent a Mothers Day greeting, a quote from Elizabeth Stone:
“ Making the decision to have a child- it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
Those of us who are mothers know the truth of this statement: our children walk around carrying our love and hopes and dreams, and we have to trust that they know how much we love them wherever they are.
Mothers’ Day used to be a time of mixed emotions for me, a time of sadness as well as celebration. My first-born child, my only daughter, walked around in the world not only outside my body, as in the Elizabeth Stone quote, but outside my world altogether.
Like many other college girls in the 1950’s and 60’s, I got pregnant and gave my baby up for adoption, with the records sealed so that I would never know where she was. I believed what they told me, that she’d have a better life with a family who could take care of her, and I loved her so much that I had to do what was best for her. Five years later, I had a second child, a son whom I love and treasure. He was – and still is – delightful, smart and funny, and he has always brought great joy to my life (even more so now that he’s a father himself). But for thirty-five years, the hole in my heart where my daughter belonged never closed. Every Mothers’ Day, which is always a week or two before her birthday, the gaping hole surfaced even more painfully than during the rest of the year. I wondered how she was doing, whether she was happy, whether she was a mother herself.
Six years ago, through the miracle of the internet, we reconnected. She and her husband and children have been folded into my family and I into theirs. And ever since, I’ve been able to celebrate Mothers’ Day whole-heartedly. Whole-heartedly, with all the pieces of my heart in place, walking around in places I know. Whole-heartedly, with gratitude and joy for all my grandchildren and their parents. Whole-hearted again.
May we all have whole hearts, full of joy and love.