Mother’s Day. I tolerated it during those years when I longed for a child who could not be born. A child who could not be born from me.
And then…he arrived. A child through adoption, the miraculous process of child matched with parents. The ultimate blind date.
Alex is 18-years-old now. I still marvel at our coming together: different continents, same blood type. He looks like my husband, he acts like me. But his talents are uniquely his own. His creative mind, his generous spirit, his refusal to hurry through life, he is a wondrous soul who knows himself and acts accordingly – no matter how much I try to take him off course. I wish I had possessed half his self-confidence when I was twice his age.
I am grateful for the moments: when he was 3-years-old, he put his chubby little hands on my face and proclaimed, “I want to mah-wee you, Mommy!” I watched one morning as he closed his eyes tightly and jumped on top of a book. When I asked, in that staccato, parent voice,”What..ARE..you..doing?!” He said, “I want to get in that story!” That year he also announced at breakfast he had been gone in the night, “The Moon Horse came and got me and took me for an adventure, Mommy. So, when I’m gone from my bed, don’t worry. I am with the Moon Horse.”
At 7-years-old, he decided he loved “putting on shows” and stepped onto a stage, memorizing lines, performing with ease before 200 people. Tonight he performs in Footloose at a local theater.
When my cancer came, he stayed close and made huge bowls of mashed potatoes because I said that was the only food that tasted good when I was in the hospital. Eight months later, we excused him from school for two weeks and traveled to Italy. We walked off the grief from my illness - 81 miles over Italian streets. Alex is a perfect traveling companion: curious about everything and undaunted when plans go awry. He loved the “dead guy in a glass box” at St. Peter’s in Rome. He walked through Assisi, chattering on and on about St. Francis, who “talked” with animals. We stood still in Piazza della Signoria catching snowflakes on our tongues while pigeons strutted around our feet. He hauled his suitcase on and off trains and over cobblestones through Bologna, Florence, Rome, Pescara, Perugia.
While I have hauled him across this continent as well as across the Atlantic Ocean, he has taken me on this wonderful journey of motherhood, a journey made up of wonderful moments.
And that is my daily prayer: give me grace to pay attention, to the moments, to the joy, to the gift who is our child.
We waited so long for him to arrive, but our journey, like those Italian trains, moved fast. Someday soon the Moon Horse will call him and he will follow, jumping into his own story. I’ll try not to worry. As he travels into young adulthood, I hope we have not left him with too much childhood baggage to haul into his future.
Thank you, Alex, for the privilege of sharing our lives, for teaching us more than we could possibly teach you. No matter how old you are or where your dreams take you, know that our love travels with you, always…through eternity into forever. Xoxoxo ~ Mom
(Photo of Cathy and Alex, Piazza della Signoria, Florence, 2005)