Three Stories of Moms.
I was only six when I broke my mom’s heart. At least, that’s the earliest that I remember doing it. It happened after school, on the first day that I could walk to our new home in Middleville, Michigan.
You see, I started the school year as a bus-rider. We moved to the west side of Michigan from the Flint area, but construction was not yet finished on our house when the school year began, so we ended up living temporarily in the Indian River campground in my grandparents fifth wheel camper.
When the foundation of the house was set, my first grade class walked to my new home to see some of the construction happening. And sometime into the school year, the home was complete enough that we were able to get power and water to the property, enabling us to move our camper from the campground to our very own land.
The first school day after we moved the camper to our property was the day the it happened. Now that we lived in the middle of town, we were no longer bus-riders, we were walkers, meaning that when it came to getting to school, we walked. I don’t remember how I got to school that morning, whether my parents dropped me off in the car, or I walked there, but I do remember that I was going to walk home. When school let out, my mom was there waiting to walk with me.
But I didn’t let her.
I told my mom that I didn’t need her, that I could walk home by myself.
I still regret that. And now that I am a parent, I am afraid of the day when my own child tells me that she doesn’t need me.
That day, my mom walked in front of me about twenty steps the whole way home because I didn’t want her to walk with me.
I do need you mom, and I am thankful that even when I say I don’t, that you don’t give up on me, that you are still only a few steps away and ready to help me as soon as I ask for it.
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The first Sunday dinner I was invited to by my girlfriend’s family was a big deal. DeAnne and I had only been dating a short time, and I was very much in the approval seeking phase of our relationship. I had only met her family member a few times and some of them, not at all. The dinner was my chance to make a good impression.
I don’t remember what the menu for dinner was. Whatever it was, I am sure that it was very good. The Cazier family doesn’t know how to make bad food. In trying to make a good impression though, I refrained from taking too much of any dish and made sure to finish all of what I took.
After seeing that my plate was clean, DeAnne’s mom asked politely if I would like some more food. I assured her that the food was delicious, but that I was content with what I had eaten. She then said something that caused a silence to descend upon the room so thick that even crickets would not have chirped for fear of awkward attention. What she said was this, “But you look like the kind of guy that gets seconds.”
Now, I’m not the skinniest guy out there, but even so, I didn’t expect something like that. From the looks on the faces around the table, no one else did either. After a few seconds of pregnant pause, I laughed. Everyone laughed. She asked what was so funny. By the time it was explained to her why what she said might have been offensive, I had passed some kind of acceptance test with the rest of her family. I was a guy who could take a joke, intentional or not.
She is now my mother-in-law, and I wouldn’t trade her for the world. What I know now that I didn’t know then is that she gets great joy from being hospitable, especially to her sons-in-law. Shortly after the “accidentally insinuating that I’m overweight” incident, she asked me what my favorite kind of pop is, and it has been in her fridge waiting for me ever since.
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My wife called into the hospital to confirm our appointment for her induction early in the morning. She was 39 weeks along and this was our second pregnancy. The hospital told us to wait and call back in a few hours, that a lot of babies were being delivered at the moment and that we may need to wait a day or two. My wife, being a committed student and hard worker, was frustrated with this response, as it meant that she could have attended one of her college courses that morning after all. Of course, what really bothered her was the fact that we were ready and had waited for so long already to hold our daughter in our arms.
After a few more calls to the hospital (and a walk or two around the block to take our minds off of things), we got the okay to come to the hospital. They would have a room waiting for us and as long as everything looked good, they would be inducing her that day. We went.
After meeting the various doctors, having family visit us in the room, and even watching part of a movie as we waited for the medicine to start the birthing process to kick in, it was time.
Now, if I may brag on my wife for a moment, there are no women out there who are as strong and as amazing under pressure as my wife is. She wanted to give birth without an epidural or anything to numb the pain, and she did. On one of the last pushes, our daughter’s shoulder got stuck and the doctor jumped up on my wife’s stomach and started physically pushing our baby out from the top, and out she came.
This wasn’t our first experience with giving birth in this hospital. The previous fall, we came into Emergency with my wife at 30 weeks along only to find out that we had lost our first daughter. That delivery was very different.
This time around, when we saw our second daughter come into the light, we waited with bated breath. We had already known the loss of one child and at many times during the pregnancy, we felt like it could happen again. And then our daughter cried. She was okay. She was loud. She was chubby and covered in goo, but she was unmistakeably alive.
We laughed and cried and thanked God for the opportunity to be parents.
Since then, I’ve had the chance to see my wife prove herself as a loving mom time after time. When she had to go back to class right after giving birth, she did (I was in the hallway with our daughter while she was in class so she if I needed her, she wasn’t far away). When breastfeeding wasn’t going well, she didn’t give up. When our daughter was feeling ill or had banged her knee, she was the first one to offer a hug and some love.
And with another little girl on the way (we’re about 30 weeks along as of this post), I can’t wait to see her as a mom of two girls.
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Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!