Saturday, May 7, 2011

Memories on Mother's Day

My children were born when I was very young in Mexico city at a Spanish hospital. My Spanish was not very good then. The nuns, also our nurses, spoke a clipped Spanish from Spain, so quickly I could not understand them and my husband daily translated what they had to say.

It was a wonderful hospital.  My room had a great view on the flowery garden and for lunch I was served Paella which is a chicken base, saffron, chorizo and rice dish with many more things added and it was delicious. Gourmet food in the hospital! Quite rare. I walked at the end of the corridor to see my son and my husband was happy to smoke a proud cigar. When they brought me the baby, he was always wrapped like a sausage with only his head showing.  So I unwrapped him marveling at this minute pink body moving in my arms. This was the time women stayed a few days in a hospital and it gave me time to get used to the feeling of being a mother.

Nevertheless when the day arrived for me to go home, I was feeling so anguished and scared wondering if I was up to the task of caring for this little baby. My mother had applied for a visa to Mexico that was slow in coming so I gave birth without her.

Coming home was a strange mix of joy and worry but the baby and I bonded quickly and I would sit in silence in front of him with wonder in my heart.

We had a good maid then.  But she told me as soon as I came home that she had found a job who would bring her to the USA.  How could I not let her go? It left me with the task of caring for the baby and his many diapers and cooking and taking care of the apartment and the laundry plus all else. At that time we had cloth diapers and no diaper service.

My husband prepared the bottles for the baby in the morning and it was a great help.  But one afternoon he came in the door and I burst into tears.  I did not expect to do so but the tasks of living were catching up with me.  We had a good friend who brought me a maid to help.  I was elated.  My husband and I went shopping and his camera films - films were only used at the time - disappeared.  We went on a search and it yielded nothing. No film in all the empty bags from the grocery store. But I found them the next day -- in the freezer...The maid did not know better and to her the freezer was a safe place to put the films.  She did not last very long.

The next maid was much better and my mother arrived in Mexico.  Help was available. It saved me a lot of work.

This little baby is now a grown men with a wife that I love and a family of two boys living in Maine.
Sometimes I remember him, wild kid on the roof of my house or swimming in the canals of Miami and I remember all his many stages of growth plus all the ones my wonderful daughter went through and I marvel at the force of life reproducing itself through us - mothers.

All over the world mothers carry their babies, give birth and raise them as best as they can.  The dedication, the patience, the loving, the pain and worry and also the rewards are enormous. Babies come with so many lessons for us parents to learn.  They act as our teachers when most of our education is done.

I remember at night looking at my kids sleeping and thinking their presence was such a gift.  A marvelous fact of life and a new addition to the world population.  And the world population is growing everyday. In so many countries the birth rate is high and the question is: How can we cope with and feed so many people?
In my case I only reproduce us -- the parents.  But the future is something to consider as we face those little bodies with so much love.

When my children became teenagers they had a very good friend from Nicaragua who used to come and visit all the time. Even after my kids were gone he kept coming just to see and talk to me.  One day I realized he was my other son.  Not born of my body but a spiritual son whose family I love as well.

I wonder why mother's day is not also fathers day and childrens day as well.  The bond are obvious and celebrating them at different times puzzle me.  So I did survive raising my children, learned a lot and loved being a mother and I would never give up what I experienced as a parent.  I can face myself in the mirror and say: I did the best I could and I know many mothers around the world will be thinking the same.

Copyright 2011 Micheline Brierre