A mother on paper

NS March 12th, 2010

She came home, draped in her grandfather’s arms, delivered like a bouquet of roses to my door. Her heavy lidded eyes saw me and her lips smiled, almost imperceptibly. I laid her on the sofa, removed her shoes and coat, smoothed her hair from her forehead and watched her forefinger rhythmically stroke her upper lip as she sucked her thumb.

I closed the door and my heart swelled, glad for her to be back in the warmth of my mother bear’s den. I sat down beside her. She put her head in my lap. Looking down at her face, I marvelled at her beauty and absolute perfection. I gazed for a long time at her ivory cheek, then the pores, then the blood and tissue and bones beneath. Beyond that, the cells, the tiny living particles of life that, together, made her. From my body and his. We made her.

That never stops blowing my mind.

I scoop her up, put her to bed (dress and all, at her insistence) and turn out the light. Downstairs, I begin to tidy up the things she brought home from school and her grandparents’ house. I see three yellow daffodils, tied together with iridescent ribbon, on top of two cards. One is white and depicts a human-like figure with blue construction paper legs, yellow arms, a green body and long red hair. Above it is scrawled ‘Happy Mother’s Day!’ Inside, she has attempted to write her name, though only two of the letters are discernible as such. The figure on the card is smiling. My fears that she thinks of me as a brooding, cross, shouty demon are allayed for now.

The other card is red and circular and, in a teacher’s hand, tells me ‘I love my mum because…’ with her answer dictated and written below. It says:

“She is a very special mummy because she does everything by herself.”

I’m not sure whether that’s good or bad, whether to laugh or cry, so I do a bit of both. Hand over mouth, alone in the dining room, a silent, anguished, joyful tear slides down my cheek. I press the daffodils to my chest and look at the grinning face of my daughter’s imagining. At a time in my life when I feel that everything is changing and anything is possible, an assertion of independence is just what I needed to hear that. That someone has complete confidence in me, even when I don’t; that someone remembers my smiles when all I dwell on are my flaws — that’s more valuable than any gift from a shop she could ever give me.

25 Responses to “A mother on paper”

  1. TheMadHouse says:

    Oh my tears again. They keep coming Mothers day means oh so much to me. I saw my boys cards this evening and I cried again.

    NS Reply:

    @TheMadHouse, Glad to know I’m not the only weepy mess! Happy Mother’s Day to you.

  2. Capital Mom says:

    That is so lovely. Great post.
    And how great to have a glimpse of how she sees you and know how different it is from how you see yourself.

    NS Reply:

    @Capital Mom, It really was exactly what I needed to hear. Kids are good like that, eh? They keep things real.

  3. Charlotte says:

    What a gift from your lovely daughter. And what a gift you are giving her by being an independent mother who she can admire.

    NS Reply:

    @Charlotte, Thank you Charlotte. :)

  4. Spilt Milk says:

    Oh, that is just beautiful.

  5. Oh bugger.

    I am leaking.

    “Beyond that, the cells, the tiny living particles of life that, together, made her. From my body and his. We made her.

    That never stops blowing my mind.”

    Yeah. Even now he is so much bigger, when I go and check on him at night and he lies there so huge compared to his baby days I see the faint ghost of a toddler in his face and think more or less the same thing. Just less eloquently. With much muttering about the Sock Dropper’s contribution being relative.

  6. SandyCalico says:

    Beautifully written. Creating new life is overwhelming and mind-blowing. How lucky are we?!
    Happy Mothers’ Day x

  7. Gappy says:

    What a lovely piece of writing. Enjoy your Mothers Day Amity.

  8. I love this.

    And you can you know? You could do ANYTHING.

    How fantastic that your girl gets to grow up with such an amazing role model, showing her every day how to be an independent, powerful woman. You should be very, very proud indeed.

    Happy Mothers Day my lovely xx

    NS Reply:

    @Josie @Sleep is for the Weak, Thank you Josie, that is very kind of you to say. Happy (belated!) Mother’s Day to you as well. xx

    And thank you to everyone else who has commented, it is much appreciated!

  9. nicola says:

    That’s lovely. I am having the opposite problem in my house! And I am feeling distinctly left out of the whole Mothers Day weekend experience. *sigh*

  10. That’s really beautiful.

  11. Abby says:

    I love your ‘squish squish’ posts. This was beautiful.

    p.s. happy mothers day x

  12. Glad to read I am not the only one reduced to tears on mothers day.

    Such beautiful writing, even though we do our best it is nice to hear some reassurance that our best is actually good enough.

  13. Deer Baby says:

    What an absolutely beautiful post. Just perfect. I often stare at my children in wonder that I made them. That they came from me. It’s mind blowing.

  14. Precious. I feel the same sense of awe and wonder that my body helped build my son’s. It’s pure magic.

  15. I’ve just been hosting a big soggy weep-fest for myself lately. It will pass. But this is a beautiful post and, predictably, it made me cry. It’s difficult to type when you’re all bleary-eyed. The three yellow daffodils …that’s the thing that really got me. Funny how it’s so often the littlest things, isn’t it?

  16. A truly beautiful post. Being a Mummy really is the best thing in the world. xx

  17. Wow. I took your daughter’s card message to mean that she knows how much you do, and that she really appreciates it. Clever her. I got a card depicting me with big, pink boobs. We know how we feel about them, and it’s lovely to get a little glimpse as to how they see us.

    NS Reply:

    @angelsandurchinsblog, Ha! Oh, that’s great. It really is great/funny seeing how they see us.

  18. Iota says:

    Oh gosh yes, those moments are so special.

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  20. andrea says:

    beautiful and very poignant post. still dabbing my eyes with tissues after reading that one. i hope had a wonderful mother’s day!