I had been looking forward to Mother's Day this year for many weeks. It was to be my very first Mother's Day. And while yes, this was the first time that I was able to partake in the party and be celebrated as a mother (I was about 10 months pregnant with Biet last year- just missed it by a hair!), it was also the first time in remembrance that I genuinely celebrated the day at all. So, you see, this was to be my very first Mother's Day ever.
I had just turned four when my own Mother, the dark-haired beauty with loving eyes who I know mostly through photographs and stories, succumbed to cancer. I imagine that we celebrated Mother's Day with gusto in my first four years of life. Two artist parents with three wild girls- I like to think that we cooked up some glorious songs and cards and cakes for our Mother. But, truth be told, I really cannot remember. I was just so small.
Over the years my sisters and I would sometimes go through the motions on Mother's Day with a foster parent or an aunt, but it never felt right. Eventually the day became, for me, so meaningless and empty that I wouldn't even notice its passing. It was a day that simply did not apply to me. I knew that the day celebrated something immensely sacred and beautiful, but I never felt it. I couldn't even imagine feeling it. The concept of Motherhood was so very foreign, having never had a place in my life.
And then my daughter changed everything. And she gave me, this past Sunday, an immaculate gift. The moment I opened my eyes at 5:30 in the morning to my baby girl's wail, I felt it. I suddenly knew what the day was about. My husband brought me ice cream for breakfast and a new bottle of my favorite perfume, and I began to understand what we were celebrating. Instead of passing on a quiet sad note, the day brought light and love and gratitude. We dressed up and went out for bagels, did a spot of shopping in the city, walked all over the West Village, had sushi, and sat at sunset in the park eating pastries. It was pure joy, but the truth of the matter is that it wouldn't have really mattered what we had done.
To be with my family, to understand the magnitude of my role, to spread love onto my child and those dear to me, to understand how sacred this all is- that is what this day is about. This day that Biet gave to me when she was born.
Thank you Biet. Thank you for making me a Mother.