One warm June day, back in the 1995, I stopped in to visit my mom and dad. Dad was still working every day as a milkman. Yes, a milkman. I know that's a dying, or completely dead, occupation in the states now, but back then it was still somewhat-chugging along. Each morning around 3 a.m. my father would get up, shower, don his striped overalls and get on his way. Wait--I think he left off the overalls and began wearing regular civilian clothes after he purchased his milk route from Vitamilk Dairy. Then he was the boss. The Independent contractor, with all the lovely head banging that came with being your own boss.
But I digress. I was talking about the day I stopped in to see my mom. I opened the back door and found her leaning heavily over the kitchen counter, frosting knife in hand, cake in front of her, tears streaming down her face. Her chest was heaving up and down, face red and eyes swollen. It was obvious to me that she'd been crying for a very long time, as she attempted to put chocolate frosting on a cake.
My mother's sorrow, on the other hand, was as deep as the ocean, high as the tallest mountain and cut like barbed wire into her soul. It never let up and she could not let it go.
So there she was, having baked and attempted to frost a birthday cake for a son who would not darken her door, not even when he was told his mother was dying some seven years later. He then had the audacity to ask us why we hadn't informed him of her funeral, because, he said, he would surely have come. If you're not going to treat someone that gave you life and has done nothing but love you and want what is best for you in life, well while they are alive, why would you believe you should have part in the sorrow and celebration of their life?
While my brother's actions wounded me, they cut deeper into my mother. He had been her first child, the one she loved fiercely and with an epic heart. All you moms out there reading this, you understand, right? The burning love and protection that oozes from you. The constant thought and preparation. The washings and the dryings, the dribbles to be wiped and the cheeks to be kissed. Diapers to be changed, spit up to be washed away and oh the love....the warm, snuggling tiny creature that has been placed into your care. There is no joy that can equal motherhood.
There is also no pain that can equal motherhood.
Two edges of the sharpest knife in creation.
I'm putting together a picture book from my first born daughter's baby shower that we gave her on September 7th. I'm doing it mostly for me, I suppose. It was a lovely baby shower---I had an enormous amount of fun creating things for the party, decorating and having it all come together in such a beautiful way. And while I am not physically leaning over a counter, attempting to frost a birthday cake while tears stream down my face, I am just as wounded and sorrowful. However, I have taken my sorrow perhaps a step further than my mother ever did---or could. I have slowly, painfully unwound the barbed wire from my soul. The wounds are there, but they are healing. Oh, I'll still lean over the counter and let my pain course down my cheeks on occasion, but not often. I have my life to live and an amazing man by my side to live it with. Hopefully the scars will fade and I'll feel no need to lean over the counter again. But if I do, I know I have a faithful, loving, kind man at my side. He was and is the best father to our children and an example of what a REAL man is to his wife and children. I am blessed to have this man.