She woke up from the anesthesia to a blurry-figured nurse in white, and asked to see her baby. What did she have, she asked the nurse?
It had been hours since the baby was born, she was now pink and clean, and carefully wrapped in a blanket, where she slept soundly in the nursery. The nurse hadn’t realized the mother had not yet met the baby and quickly hurried to introduce mother and child.
She carefully laid the newborn on the mother, who was still groggy and weak from a caesarian. “You had a little girl, a perfectly healthy baby,” smiled the nurse.
The woman looked at her child with tears streaming down her face. She gently removed her daughter’s clothes, and touched her warm chest. The palm of her hand felt her child’s gentle breaths, whose soft pink lips were parted. The little girl had dark, thick hair; her weight was solid, her skin buttery and soft.
“Brianna Rose, that is what I’m going to call her,” said the mother, confident. There was a moment of peace and calm, a quiet that enveloped the mother and baby. An invisible cloud surrounded them, a protective layer from the grime and strain of life, the burden of choices that needed to be made, and losses that would one day be felt.
That is the day, as I imagine it, that my mother held me for the first time. It was the day that my mother became the sole provider for a single baby; a responsibility too weighty for me to even comprehend.
From that moment, I became my mother’s world.
My crib was pushed against her bed on Maitland Street in Brampton. She would sway and rock me in her arms, kissing my downy forehead.
She lived with her parents for those early months. She eventually bought her own place with a Fisher Price swing in the backyard. Soon after we moved to a new development called Springdale in Brampton. We were one of the first families to call North Brampton home. A crazy thought today.
I remember playing in the backyard, washing my red Little Tikes car with warm soapy water. I remember my mom running a mouse over with the lawn mower, and how disgusted we both were. I remember making fresh pizza and peanut butter cookies in the kitchen, my hands getting goopy and messy.
I remember my Mom painting, cleaning, working, cooking, reading, and cuddling me throughout my childhood. I remember movies I was too little to watch, and tears I was too little to understand.
I remember determination and stamina like I have never seen before. I remember my mother driving a forklift. I remember counting nuts and bolts while sitting under her desk in a warehouse. I remember driving a train by myself at four. I remember how loud it was, and how scared and thrilled I felt.
I remember size five construction boots, because my mom is petite like me, but more fierce than I’ll ever be.
My entire childhood is filled with memories of my mother, and only my mother. She was always there and my entire life revolved around her. She was my hero, my everything, and I worshipped the ground that she walked on.
When I became a teenager our relationship shifted, but I still loved her more than anyone or anything. We fought like any teen and her mother does. I still had a quiet respect and awe for her that she didn’t see. I trembled any time I thought I may have disappointed her, which was often. I feared her wrath more than anything else.
It wasn’t until I was a mother myself that I really started to understand my mother. In those dark nights, when my child wouldn’t stop crying, or in those beautiful moments where my child would take their first steps, I understood the love and devotion that a mother has for their child.
I understood why my mother left the love of her life for an innocent child. I understood the sacrifice, and was in complete awe of my mother for all that she did alone. That she took those steps, and was willing to do hard things for me, I am forever grateful. What my mother saved me from, I can never quite understand. What my mother gave me, what my mother did for me, each and every day, I know completely, because I was there.
I love you mom. I am in awe of you, and I tremble with admiration and respect for you. Thank you for the choice you made 26 years ago, and the mother you are to me every day since.
Happy Mother’s Day.