G.G. was here! For three weeks we were spoiled by my Mom. My husband summed it up when he told her, "I love it when you're here; when I get home dinner is on the table, the house is clean, the kids have been bathed and my wife is happy."
He's right and he's not kidding. He remembers one winter night when it was not like that. It was one of the worst days of my life, Christmas Eve 2010. I was sleep deprived and hungry all the time, but I could not feed myself. Nineteen days after my son's birth, he was still figuring out how to latch onto my breast. My round-the-clock routine included: trying to nurse him, then finger feed him via a little tube, then pump, then try to get a few hours of sleep before starting the whole cycle again. I was sitting at the dinner table while Mom served me a plate of her delicious homemade meatloaf and mac-n-cheese. I was starving and ready to fill my fork and eat. However, as I was attempting to nurse my newborn on my lap, I realized I had inadvertently used the last bag of stored milk from the freezer. Mom quickly picked up the baby and attempted to soothe his hungry screams. I tried to pump, but nothing came out. She looked down at the few drops in the bottom of the bottle. Her eyes went wide with disbelief.
"You're all dried up," she said.
"Don't say that!" I said feeling enraged and about to cry.
"What will we feed him?" we both wondered.
If we chose to get formula from the store, what store would be open on Christmas Eve? Immediately, my four year old began having one of her typical knock-down-drag-out tantrums. We were desperate so we did what needed to be done. We trudged through the next few hours together. She fed me. She fed my daughter. We soothed the baby. My husband came home. The next time I pumped, milk came out.
Then she started praying. She prayed for help and she pleaded with God. "Please, Oh please, just let this baby start to nurse." It was Christmas Day and her prayers got serious; furthermore, we went bowling. Mom is on a weekly bowling team I think amongst all those balls crashing into falling pins is where she says her best prayers and God must have heard her because when we got home, my boy nursed!
On this visit, the kids were so much bigger than the last and we were busy with the mania of summer activities. Like all her visits, Mom was up for anything. Many times during her visit, I thought to myself, "I don't know if I will be able to do this for my kids. I think I'm just too selfish to tend the way she does." Maybe thirty years from now when I visit my kids, I will do laundry, go grocery shopping, cook dinner and play with my grand kids all day long. On most mornings, I might read to my daughter's kids in bed while she sleeps in. Maybe I'll bike with my son and his kids to the Farmer's Market. I could lie down on the asphalt and happily be the center of a flat-out chalk art project or dip in the pond. I just hope I can be the ultimate Grandma and give them my all, just like our Geeg. Please let this be.
We had a good long talk while she was here, the kind that wipes away so much hurt from the past and opens up new paths for healing. I can see it a little more clearly now; how she continues mothering the same way through the hardest times, one chore after another. This Mom of mine, she's just like me, a woman struggling through life, trying to remain sane, yet finding so much joy in loving her family like crazy. I may have spent years thinking I didn't want to be like my mother, but now I honestly hope that I can become more like her as I laugh myself silly, tend to my family, pray and believe. I miss you Mom!