5.09.2011

A MOTHER'S DAY MANIFESTO


Oh, Mother's Day.

I had a beautiful Mother's Day. I am so thrilled to be the mama of this little family. I just love my boys. They went well out of their way to spoil me today.

But I have feelings on Mother's Day. Oh yes I do. Mostly I sort of hate Mother's Day.

A woman asked me in an elevator today if this was my "first" Mother's Day. She was looking at my baby and was probably finding a clever way to ask if he was my first. It took every ounce of maturity I possessed to say "Yes," instead of saying "Well, I have been on this planet for twenty eight years, so, I would say this was my twenty-eighth Mother's Day, thank you for asking, and how many for you?"

Someone told me last week that she couldn't understand why anyone would struggle with Mother's Day. "Mother's Day has always been about my mom, not me," she said. 

This isn't true probably, but sometimes I feel that uncomplicated feelings towards Mother's Day is a blessing of the fertile. Maybe until you've stared down a barrage of consecutive negative pregnancy tests, questioned your own body's most basic abilities, laid with your legs in the air for over an hour more than three times in a week, or started to doubt that the future you'd planned for yourself could ever possibly happen, maybe then it would be hard to understand.

So if you can't imagine hating Mother's Day, try this: Imagine a world where every second Sunday in April we celebrate National Super Model's Day, and guess what? Most of your friends are super models. In fact, 90% of the female population is five foot ten with impossible cheekbones. You're, like, the only short fat one in the bunch. And for weeks you must endure blog posts dedicated to "What to get for your other super model friends," and "What you can look forward to as a super model on your day to be celebrated," and "What being a super model means to me and why it's the greatest job ever." Meanwhile, it's not YOUR fault you're not a super model--oh, you'd be one if only it were merit based--but you have no control over your height, after all. See? National Super Model's Day sucks for short people. Trust me, I would know.

So yes, Mother's Day. 


This week I've gotten a lot of emails that I haven't had the time to properly respond to. I've wondered how to respond to those of you who still wait, and what would I say to myself, and what should Mother's Day mean to me now?

Mostly, it comes down to that first moment when I first clapped eyes on Henry August, and when the nurse first laid him, heavy and real, in my arms. In that first instant I felt so strongly that it wasn't actually a first at all. I felt like I'd known him from the beginning of time.

And so I've come to believe that the babies we crave are always with us. We do not discover them or meet them, we are reunited with them. Thus, we are all mothers. If we want to be others. To babies on Earth, to babies in Heaven, to babies we have lost, to babies that are waiting for us to be found.

Our bodies will always let us down. That is the nature of our limited life in this limited sphere. It's a good thing, then, that being a Mother is an eternal thing. It's a good thing that being a Mother has nothing to do with anything temporary.

Because I stupidly share far too much of myself on this blog, I've felt very strongly today that, in a strange way, a little bit of my Mother's Day belongs to all of you. So I say to us, Happy Mother's Day. I hope you took a freaking flower from a Deacon.

***

here is how we celebrated mother's day at our house


peonies











a picnic in central park with my two favorites


lilacs on a walk through riverside park (big time love for lilacs right now)
me and my dude at windy pier 1 on the hudson river
(and yes, we matched at church today, that is my right as his mother)

52 comments :

  1. Stunning shots. Looks like you guys had a brilliant day!

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  2. Ok new to your blog via that top moms with style list. I've been reading older posts for the past couple of days and I've come to a conclusion and some confusion. First off, until reading this I was unsure if your baby's name was Huck like for real. Huckleberry was super cute and while I've never seen Tombstone I'm sure it's good. Secondly I think we could be kindred spirits with all the Anne and best Meg Ryan movie youvegotmail talk. Seriously love bothie those (Anne of gg books > PBS series, though it was pretty good until Anne went off to war) but whatevs. I'm rambling when I really wanted to say: you are so witty, I love Henry's rolls, happy 28th mothers day, I hope we can be Internet frandz, and I think that's all my insomnia is going to allow me to type without digressing even more.

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  3. that last pic...killing me!!! too cute.

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  4. Whenever i come to your blog all i can think is "I WANT TO HUG THAT BABY!" Because seriously, that's a damn cute baby. Like, almost too cute. As in, I hope your child never grows up so he can stay this cute forever.

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  5. Well, I know how it feels to be a mom waiting for my baby on mother's day and it does straight up suck.
    I love your blog so much and think you have great taste. I love how you put the things I am thinking into words, especially the things I think I'm the only one that thinks about.
    Also, the 13th picture down {yeah, I counted} is so great and should be in a frame somewhere stat.

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  6. happy 28th mother's day! he's adorable, as always.

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  7. OMG your little one is so cute I could die !!! I totally LOL-ed at some of his pics :D You have a beautiful baby ! :)

    HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY :D

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  8. Happy 28th mother's day, darlin'. Kiss those big cheeks for me (you do realize if we ever meet, you're going to have to hide huckleberry from me).

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  9. umm. awesome. pure awesome. thank you for being so darn awesome.

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  10. Took a flower from a Deacon. Classic!!!

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  11. I TOTALLY AGREE on that 13th PIC Idea!!!

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  12. Other than my own darling daughter, I'm pretty sure you have the cutest baby in the world. And he DEFINITELY wins in the roly-poly category since I was blessed with a little stringbean baby. I'm so happy for you that on this your 28th Mother's Day you got to celebrate WITH your baby. What a joy. And what an inspiration you are.

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  13. I count my first MD as last year when I was 2 weeks post losing the sweet one that had been growing within me, and 3 weeks pre the sweet one that is now sleeping in his swing 8 feet away. How I had just fallen off the cliff, losing after the first, and falling towards the second and all that comes with him and the future. My hub brought me lilac and tulips he took from around the town- cause apparently he tried but "they don't have any periniums in the store", to which i said, "what!?!?" and he said, "periniums? what are they called? the flower you like?" and i said "peonies, but maybe just stick with other flowers so as not to embarrass yourself as a med student, in the grocery store..."

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  14. ok, seriously? that last picture of you and huck is adorable!! his little expression.

    and i love this post. thank you for the reminder.

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  15. this post is beautiful.

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  16. Happy Mother's Day, Natalie! Your little Huckadoo is so darn cute I almost can't stand it; so happy he finally made his way into your loving arms! :)

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  17. OH WHAT AN ADORABLE BABY!!! And what a LOVELY BLOG!!! SO happy to 'discover' you! I'd love to invite you to come visit me over at http://www.juliasbookbag.com/ -- I write about Children's Books! Every week I do a feature called Tiny Tot Tuesday, you might find something for the your little man! Come see us, we're totally fun :) much aloha, Melissa

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  18. Even though I'm 28 with four kids, I've hated mother's day ever since my brother as a 14 year old was asked to speak in church on Mother's day. He didn't say enough nice things about my mom so she verbally flayed him for it later. So, a girl can hate mother's day her whole life because her mom is a kind-of-a-bad-person in a child of God type of way, and you can never do enough for her. Yesterday was my first mother day since I officially stopped speaking to my mom and it's the first one I actually almost thoroughly enjoyed and it only hurt a little bit to hear everyone say how much they love their mom and how awesome she is. I hope I don't sound bitter, I just wanted to point out that mother's day can be painful for lots of people. I enjoy your blog because you're funny!

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  19. I respectfully disagree... and, yes, I've been there. I simply think if Boss's get a day, secretary's a day, president's a day, etc. then Mother's get a day too (even though it is painful when you're not in a club you so desperately want to be a part of).

    I think Mother's do the most special kind of work, the most trying, most heartfelt, most eternal, and most unrelenting. Without them there would be no bosses, secretaries, presidents, or Martin Luther King Jr.'s.

    p.s. I still love you and all of your opinions in a NON-creepy kind of way

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  20. you and your beautiful huck cause me to hum "shiny, happy people wearing stripes" (never mind the fact that the tune is a bad 80s song :),) which makes me happy. happy belated mother's day!

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  21. I've been reading your blog for ages, and I love that you share so much of yourself. Sometimes I feel like we are bestest friends, even though you don't know me! Your writing is great and I totally get your struggles. Even though I have one son, he will be my only one. Since him I can't have any more babies... but ohh how I want them! I love living vicariously through you and your huck, not to mention your adventures in NY. Fantastic pictures too.. please, please keep posting them :)

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  22. So happy for you, but just one small point. To the friend who couldn't understand why anyone would struggle with mother's day... How about having 11 mothers days since your mom died and 3 more since you miscarried and haven't got pregnant again. For me, it IS all about my mom, but my mom is not here and so I get to listen to "what my mother means to me" in the same way you had to listen to "what it means to be a mother." There is more than one way to struggle with that stupid day... just sayin.

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  23. Thank you for this. Couldnt describe it better myself.

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  24. For the past years I've strongly disliked Mother's Day and I'm moving more and more towards that "H" word. I live in LA and my mom lives in Tampa. Every year my cousin calls to tell me that she's taken MY mom out for a mother's day brunch. I should be thankful that someone is there to do it, but I'm actually just resentful. Now, at 32 and childless, I'm starting to dislike Mother's Day for another reason. What you said about watching women with their babies...I get it. You said it beautifully. Thank you.

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  25. you're so beautiful! and your baby is just so darn cute!

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  26. What a wonderful and interesting perspective. Thank you for sharing again, as I wasn't around the first time you posted your feelings about mom's day. My mom passed away 4 years ago, and I do a pretty good job of not thinking about how much I miss her (because that makes me cry) but it's inevitible on mother's day.

    Loved all the pictures. You make me want to add even more pics to my blog. You're the best!

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  27. I love this post. I am pregnant with my 5th kid, and have not had too much trouble conceiving, but I dislike Mother's Day for a variety of reasons.

    I love what you said about being reunited with our babies. Beautiful. Especially when Heavenly Father had to work really hard to convince me that I needed this one (or it needs me!).

    Thanks for your blog.

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  28. That paragraph on having our babies always with us and the one that followed were pretty much perfection. Thank you for sharing your testimony (and so much else) with us.

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  29. Just found your blog via Apartment Therapy and just had to tell you that one of my two year old twin boys is named August Henry! (Pretty cool.)

    P.S. I have issues with Mother's Day too. :)

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  30. I loved what you said about being reunited with our babies--of thinking of our role as eternal. Beautiful. That encompasses everyone, and I love it. :)

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  31. I am new here... been reading for a couple of months. I love you! Is it weird I just said that? lol! Not in a stocker weird way, I promise! I too HATE Mother's Day. It took 7 years to get baby #1 here. I've had 2 more since and lost one last August. Once you've struggled to have babies you join some kind of Mother's Day hating club. I will always remember how hard it was to get my babies here and what it felt like going to church not knowing if I should stand up for what ever it was they were passing out. Thanks for posting this!

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  32. This made me tear up. Happy Mother's Day. You put a lot in perspective for me with this. I have actually always felt this way about Father's Day, but for different reasons (I lost mine when I was really young). Just goes to show, you never know what someone's going through. I'm so happy this Mother's Day was perfect for you... You're clearly an awesome mom:)

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  33. Happy Mommy Day! I hope I get to be one here on Earth someday. :-)

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  34. "i hope you took a freaking flower from a deacon". You are the best! hahaha. But seriously, beautiful post. You are an amazing writer.

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  35. So beautifully written, so perfect. I love you (not in a weird way :) You have the most darling baby, his cheeks are unreal!

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  36. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

    we have been IF'S for the 7 1/2 years we have been married. mother's day never really got to me too bad. it was people who told me i was a mother figure to someone, that got to me. i know they are trying to be nice, but just don't say anything at all. because saying that i am a mother figure to children who are not mine does NOT help.

    so to help those who don't know what to say to IF'S on mother's day? DON'T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL. i was fine to not have anything said to me when i was single on mother's day and i am fine being married with no children and you not saying one thing to me on mother's day.

    just had to share. :)

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  37. *HUGS* you know i loves ya, and i'm so happy you share so much of yourself on the blog. you're awesome, and ppl should know you! i'm so happy that NOW is your time w/ huck here. his smile is amazing for certain!

    also? CUTE stripey shoes! they are so you, and so adorable!

    and that is all. : )

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  38. what a wonderful post! it made me cry- i feel the same way about mother's day, and motherhood, for that matter. my husband and i lived in a 300 square foot apartment with our first daughter- until she was almost a year. we also had a 110 pound chocolate lab, and a ferral cat. we ended up moving not because of the space- but because our building managers were animal hoarders and the building got sooooo disgusting. so there ya have it. a few moves later, now we are 4 people in 1200 square feet, and it feels like a palace! :-)

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  39. Ah, yes...once past the yearning heartache it becomes much easier to find a way to be philosophical, to see the bigger picture.

    i'm so happy for you. And thank you so much for sharing so much of you and Huck and Holbs with us!!

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  40. Such cute pictures and I'm glad you share so much of yourself on your blog. Before we started trying to have a baby I didn't get what infertile couples went through, now that we are having trouble I can read your blog and others and know that I'm not alone in this. That there are others I can talk to and walk with through this.

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  41. your strength is so inspiring. i love how you said that we're all mothers and that our babies are all with us. thank you for sharing so much of your beautiful life with all of us!

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  42. I loved this post so much that I had to quote part of it in my blog. You're amazing and so fun!

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  43. i LOVED LOVED LOVED this post.
    "I suppose uncomplicated feelings towards Mother's Day are the blessing of the fertile. Until you have stared down a barrage of consecutive negative pregnancy tests, questioned your own body's most basic abilities, laid with your legs in the air for over an hour, or started to doubt that the future you'd planned for yourself could ever possibly happen, until then you can't get it. Until the sight of another woman's baby brings you to tears, or until you grow a really stupendously empathetic heart, I can't see how anyone could imagine the pain of yet another empty Mother's Day."
    perfectly stated.
    AND it made me want to be back in grad school.
    b/c post grad school just isn't what i made it all out to be. it's good. it's great! but i also miss the student life:)

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  44. This made me want to cry a little bit. Thank you for it.

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  45. What a great way to spend Mother's Day. My fav pic is the first pic of you and Huck in the park and you're smiling. You look so happy! A close second is the pic of you kissing Huck's cheek because I want to do that every time I see pics of him. Such a cute fam!

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  46. Yes! This is perfect Natalie:

    'Until you have stared down a barrage of consecutive negative pregnancy tests, questioned your own body's most basic abilities, laid with your legs in the air for over an hour, or started to doubt that the future you'd planned for yourself could ever possibly happen, until then you can't get it.'

    And unfortunately, some people just don't get it.
    It's just part of the journey... and when my little one FINALLY arrives I know all of this heartache will be worth it. So thank you for sharing :)

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  47. Can I just tell you I LOVE you for writing this? And the supermodel analogy - perfect!

    It's been a rather stressful week in our baby making journey and this blog post was so wonderful to read. Thank you for not forgetting all of us infertiles ... :)

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  48. This is brilliant. I couldn't agree more. Thank you for writing it and for sharing it.

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  49. Thanks for this post. I had a miscarriage 4 days before mother's day this year. Needless to say Mother's Day was pretty hard. After having most bloggers cheery mother's day posts in my feed that week, it was great to read yours.

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  50. I love you, Natalie Lovin Holbrook. That is all.

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  51. Ok. Im super late on this post, but I wanted to thank you for it. As a person who is (im)patiently waiting for "the right time", I have such a heavy heart whenever I hear someone new is pregnant and when I see their baby, when I should have one in my arms as well. It is soooo hard, so reading your post made me feel so much better knowing that I am not the only one with those thoughts. Congrats on you ridiculously cute baby!!!! ...and I love your sentence about the flower and the deacon. priceless and true.

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