I've cried at the mere thought of Mother's Day all week.
I'm still a mother, I know. And being a mother to a child in heaven is a very special kind of mother on every day...but especially Mother's Day.
My arms are empty and aching for Miles on every day but especially today. At the farmer's market and during errands yesterday, several strangers said "Happy Mother's Day" referring to my baby bump; there's just so much more to the story than that.
I blindly hoped that last Mother's Day--my first one, the one where Miles was in the hospital (and had been for three months), the one that I both smiled and cried through--would be my hardest. It was a reasonable hope, I thought. Of course that's not to be for me.
And now I know that Mother's Day won't ever be right for me. It's easy to be Miles' mommy, to love him without boundaries. And it's painful that he's gone. It's easy to be thrilled with the little one on her way as she constantly makes her presence known (and makes us wonder just how rambunctious she will end up being if her antics now are any indication). I'm so hopeful that I'll have her with me on all of my mother's days to come, just as I know that I'll be missing Miles on those days, too. As happy and grateful as I am to be a mother on this day, it's just not right to have my child in heaven.
My number one sadness is for Miles. That he didn't get to grow up. That he didn't get to have a full life. That he didn't get to experience all of the important, not so important, and totally unimportant things in life.
And then I have sadness for me (and us), too. It's highlighted on Mother's Day. That I am missing out on having our son with us. It hits me like a wave that our little guy--part Mitch, part me, all himself--was born, was here, is gone.
I remember being in the hospital for Mother's Day. Without me knowing, my mom and the nurses made a flower pot full of colorful "flowers" made out of cutouts of Miles' hands with his little handprints on the sides of the pot; it makes me smile to think of how thoughtful they were for my first Mother's Day, to think of them scrubbing the green paint off of Miles' hands so I wouldn't be suspicious. And I remember Mitch wanting to take me out to dinner, and me trading it to eat pizza, drink a beer, and cry instead. Most of all, I remember thinking how I was a better mother than I could have ever hoped to be and that it wasn't enough. Living at the hospital, learning so much medical information, keeping track of all of Miles' procedures and medications, pumping breast milk eight times a day to freeze, working on Miles' range of motion exercises from physical therapy, using Johnson's lotion for our daily baby massages, tracking his daily spit up on a chart on the wall, comforting Miles (without being able to feed him or fully pick him up) by caressing his head, singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider and a Noah's ark song, whispering in his ear, rocking him on my forearm, shaking his booty back and forth, reading to him, standing at his bedside for hours on end...it wasn't enough to get Miles healthy and out of the hospital. And that's why there's a smile here (I'm with my Miles on Mother's Day) and, along with that, there's the rosy cheeks and nose from crying, the eyes of a mother who desperately wants her son healthy and out of the hospital so he can be at home with her where they both belong...
And now Mother's Day is worse because Miles isn't here. Sure, being in the hospital was awful, unnatural, but not like this. Simply, the most natural thing in the world would be for Miles to be with his mother, and he's not. And I'm left with the same thought: I am a better mommy than I thought I could be, and it doesn't feel like enough. I do the best I can, taking care of Miles in quite nontraditional ways now--honoring his spirit and memory, making him part of our lives as best we can now--and taking care of our baby girl during this long pregnancy. That's the best it can be now without Miles, but it doesn't feel like enough.