The Birth of Love
My mother was raised during a time in which being told that she was loved was simply “not done”. Therefore, she did not demonstrate love through hugs or words. I know that my mother loved, however.
About 16 years ago, I had decided to adopt a child. I was not married, yet at 37, I very much wanted to be a mother. I grew up in a conservative, Christian home. I did not know how my decision would affect my family or me.
I invited my mother to visit as we lived in different towns. We sat out on my patio and I told her of my decision. I need not have worried. My mother was wonderful l… We talked about my plans, the research I had done, her concerns for me, her concerns about adoption, but most of all, her acceptance of and support of my decision. She even helped me script out a letter to present to my father…who would need to read it before discussing it.
I prepared for my baby’s arrival, buoyed by the support from my family. I walked each morning, going over plans about day-care, time off from work, and most of all, holding, rocking, and loving my baby.
Finally, the call came! A 16-year-old teen had given birth and her baby was to become mine.
I immediately called my parents, sisters, and brother. Then I began with my neighbors and friends who were going to help me as I went through “labor” and waited the requisite hours for the birth mother to relinquish her rights.
I could not sleep or eat that evening. I paced throughout my house and prayed…for the baby, her mom, and for me. I waited for the agency to call and tell me all was OK…that the girl was willing to sign the papers and I could sleep for a while, waiting to bring my baby home.
The agency did call. The call was the most devastating news I could imagine. The birth mother had changed her mind. The agency social worker said she would talk to her (by this time it was about 3:00 A.M). I was told not to give up hope, but to wait until morning when things were “less emotional”.
My Mom had told me that I needed to prepare to handle things on my own…she had warned me that although I had friends, family, and support, in the middle of the night, when I was scared, she had warned me that I would be alone. She was right.
The call came at 7:30 AM…that child was not to be mine.
By 9:30 AM, since I was quite upset, a friend arrived to help me and take me to the airport. I had already canceled work (for what I thought would be 6 weeks)…I just needed to get “home”. I wanted my Mom and Dad. I wanted to be loved and reassured that someday, I would be a great mom.
I sobbed all the way home. My sister picked me up and we drove to our parent’s house. All of my family was there. I walked in and they all embraced me. Then I went into the kitchen where my mother was cooking.
At that moment, although she did not come over to hug me, I felt the love that passes all understanding. My mother, who had also been crying, was making chicken and dumplings, a recipe from my great grandmother… I loved it.
Mother seldom had the time to prepare it. It was labor and time intensive. That day, as she waited for, her newest granddaughter, and then her broken hearted first daughter, she had rolled out dumplings. She loved me in a way we both understood and acknowledged. My mom flew back with me, helped me put away the nursery, took me to dinner, and let me cry.
Maybe my mother was not the kind to hug and stroke me. She did love though. I felt that the night I arrived at their home. I had just forgotten that sometimes love was chicken and dumplings. I remembered then.
I also knew it 4 months later, when my daughter did arrive! My mother and one of my sisters drove through the night to be with me. We put the nursery back up and got baby clothes out of the closet. We ate pizza the night my daughter came home… while not sacred chicken and dumplings, sacred nonetheless.
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