Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mother’s Day

I’ve been trying to think of how to write this post and the words aren’t coming out right.  Just for the record, I KNOW I am my son’s mother.  But I think I sometimes view myself as the pinch hitter, and as such, replaceable.  I am always surprised when I find out that he does certain things only for me—not for anyone else in the family, friends or strangers.  I think I often downplay the role that I play in my son’s life.  I don’t think it is something I am consciously aware of, but certain things, like being struck down by the flu this week, bring things back into focus.  I assumed it would be ok to let someone else play mom to my son.  After all, it’s not like I haven’t stepped in for someone else, right?  As his second mother I was able to step in and take over care duties for the one that couldn’t perform, so why wouldn’t I think I was replaceable?

I was more than happy to allow my mom to play mom to my son this week.  Honestly, I was just too weak.  I wasn’t awake much and when I was, I was horizontal most of the time.  I didn’t think it would matter to Duc, I really didn’t. 

But it did.  My mother left us yesterday afternoon.  She needed to go back to work and I needed to suck it up.  I was more mobile yesterday and actually spent time in the living room with the two of them and I was able to actively participate.  My mom commented that Duc was much more manageable (ie, not whining constantly) and played much better when I was in the room.  I don’t know why, but even when I am told things like that I still don’t think it is specific to me.

Today, however, it finally sunk in. 

I am his mother.  I will always be his mother no matter what joys and challenges come into our lives.  I will always be there for him for whatever he needs.  My love is unconditional and is not restricted by rules of biology. 

He was cranky all morning and I was trying to get us out the door for the AsianFest at the Farmer’s Market.  He just kept crying.  He would just stand there and cry big, fat, wet tears.  It was heart breaking, but I assumed it was related to being ill since he has been doing this all week.

I fixed a bottle (since becoming sick he has refused 90% of his bottles and has stuck to water only) pulled him close in the rocker and gave him his bottle.  He held my hand in his while maintaining continuous eye contact.  Generally upon finishing a bottle he either goes to bed, falls asleep in my lap or (more likely) pops up with a big grin ready to play.  But not today.  After finishing the bottle he laid in my arms holding my hand while burying his face in my chest.  We rocked like that for 15-20 minutes and I savored every minute.  In the nearly 5 months we have been a family he has never done that before.  Afterwards he was in a much better mood—happy, no more tears, and ready to play or do whatever I asked him to do. 

It struck me then that although I know I am his mother, I need to stop thinking that I am replaceable.  He missed me and wanted to spend time with me.  It was such an awesome feeling to know that he differentiated between his mama and his oma.  It didn’t matter how many times my mom sat and rocked him and tried to feed him a bottle it just wasn’t the same for him. 

He took 3 or 4 bottles today which is more than he has had all week.  And after every bottle he just lay against me with his hand against my face or my chest.  It was heaven, but I couldn’t help noticing that his little legs and feet now hang over my lap when I rock him. 


On Wednesday evening Duc and I dragged our sorry, tired butts to the grocery store with my mom.  It was the only day all week I worked (although to be fair it was a conference which meant I slept in the car on the 1’40” drive up, sat through 4 hours of lectures and slept part of the way home again) and while we were in the grocery store the flu kicked my ass.  Hard.  I suddenly felt like I was going to pass out or be sick or both.  I was trying so hard just to keep it together until I got out to the car.

Duc is cute and what you don’t see in photos is that he has this crazy-awesome personality.  I joke that he is my little politician or future actor.  It’s amazing to watch.  However, my little man was NOT feeling good either and was NOT sharing the love.  But, he is still cute.

So this is the conversation I had with the cashier with my sick baby, while I am just trying to hold it together and not pass out.

Cashier:  Wow, he is really cute!

Me:  (nodding) Yeah, he is.

Cashier: Is he yours?

Honestly?  I thought she was asking if I was babysitting or if he was a nephew or something.  Although my town isn’t the biggest it is very diverse and we have a lot of bi-racial families and a number of adoptive families. 

Me: Yes, he is my son.

Cashier:  Oh, I wasn’t sure.  So many go to China for kids.  They are so cute!  One of my teachers got two from China….yadda, yadda, yadda.

Had I not felt like dog do-do I might have tried to engage her in a conversation about adoption, but alas, I was too busy trying to maintain a blood pressure so I didn’t have to get cleaned off the floor.   It was just so interesting how she brought it up.  Was she expecting me to say, “no, he isn’t mine.  He’s adopted”?

This is an ongoing conversation I have with members of my family.  They see no problem in differentiating between “real” and adopted children.  I can’t seem to get them to understand that I don’t want Duc growing up hearing that he is not my “real” child.  The argument that “that’s the way it used to be” doesn’t fly with me, nor does it make it more right. 


Jen May 3, 2009 at 1:44 AM  

hi! Saw the link on Kelli's site and decided to visit :)

I totally agree with fighting against the "Is he yours question". So many people still don't get it!

Anonymous May 3, 2009 at 7:21 AM  

Those feelings wax and wane. Keep in mind that one day, this kid was just plunked into your lap. Adjusting to him really being yours is an adjustment to say the least.

Nice comment on the cashier.

kris May 3, 2009 at 3:39 PM  

I guess like anything else in life, we grow into our roles... you've grown so beautifully into this one.

I both welcome and dread "educating" the public when those questions come. I think I fear how tired I will get of the same question, over and over, or feeling like I'm constantly "correcting" people. Recently I read a blog of someone who just decided to adopt, and she stated that after trying to have "her own" she finally realized "god" had another plan and it was for her to adopt...

I left a really nice comment- about how this adopted child was also her own just as any she would have born would have been.

But wow. Even right there.

Laura May 4, 2009 at 5:34 PM  

I understand. I felt that way for a long time. Good for you for figuring it out sooner. Seriously - you haven't been in this role that long and you already get it. Not that I've got all sorts of experience after a year and a half (ha!), but it took me a lot longer than five months to realize what you know already. It's something I'm figuing out all over again. Let's hope for me that my learning curve is a little better! You're a great mom and Duc needs his mom.


About This Blog

This started as my story, but has evolved to OUR story. This is the story of life as a single parent to a wonderful little boy while we wait for baby sister. China LID 2.12.07.

But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day.
Habakkuk 2:3

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