I kinda sorta got the feeling that my mom didn’t exactly love my Mother’s Day post last year, at least the “Mom-isms” part. So I am going to keep this short and sweet.
See the expression of the woman on the left, in the pink?
That’s the face of a mother who not only has to watch her granddaughter fight for her life but also see her own daughter, the one who gave birth to that precious-yet-very-ill-baby, go through the worst pain of her life as well. Yet that photo speaks of joy, an immeasurable joy, as three generations of women stick this thing out together.
My mom never left my side, never gave up hope even when the doctors and nurses did, never stopped loving that little bloated baby or the big bloated daughter next to her (me)– and because of that, no matter where we are in life, we will always feel that love shining through us and will never be alone.
One of my sharpest memories from that terrible time was my reaction to holding my daughter. The first time I held her looked like this:
It took three people to help move her there; you’ll notice the ventilator, what you can’t see are the other lines, tubes, wires, and bags attached to her. It was beautiful and painful and scary, as we had been told earlier that day she would not make it. As I held her for the first time, she was baptized right there in my arms.
After she started getting better, they allowed us to hold her more. I’ve never confessed this before– not even to my husband– but truthfully I wasn’t sure I wanted to hold her. It was an ordeal each time: it took a nurse or two to move her, there were billions of wires, and her leads would always get messed up and beep and honk at us sending me into a panic. I’d spend the time watching her oxygen saturation levels rise and fall. I thought she was safer in the crib under the warmer and not in my arms.
Foolish, I know.
However. When the nurses as my mom if she wanted to hold the baby, they’d barely get the words out to ask her before she said “YES!”
Nurse: “Yiayia, would you like to hold the bab—“
Yiayia: “YES! I mean, oh, yes, I would.”
And hold that baby she did. We had to pry Noodle from my mom’s arms!
My own grandmother passed away when I was 2 years old, and she loved me very much. There were times when I was young that I could feel that love wash over me; I was five years old saying things like, “wow, I feel Yiayia’s love on me!” Not-so-surprisingly, we also felt her presence in that tiny NICU room. We knew she wouldn’t let anything happen to her great-granddaughter.
To know that my children will also feel that love from their Yiayia, no matter how old they are, fills me with peace. And, mom, I hope it fills you with peace and happiness too. I don’t think there could be a greater legacy in this world than that.
As is so often the case, you don’t always appreciate your mom the way you should when you should. It may have taken, oh, 30-something years to fully realize how amazing my mom is, and how appreciative I am for her abundant nurturing. I still needed my mom. And she was, and is, still there for me. Always.
Even if she did discourage me from taking ballet because
I was too clumsy it was too structured when I was six. It’s true, mom! Someday I’ll get you to admit it! 😉
I like to end posts about Noodle’s NICU experience with a photo of her now, just so you know miracles do happen.
Ah. My little tooth-brusher. Who just tested as completely average (in the best way possible) during her Early Intervention assessment. You did too well, Noodle! I still wanted you to get services next year, could you have slacked off a little?
Well. This post didn’t end up being very short. Can I still get points for it being sweet?
Have a beautiful weekend, friends!