Since I can’t be with you this Mother’s Day…
Oh, how I love to tell the story of the night I was born.
How you and Dad were supposed to be catering a huge party the next day, and I decided (you know how I am when I make up my mind) that it was time for me to meet the world. Two weeks early.
How you slid in bed with rolling contractions, and unable to sleep through the pain— This can’t be happening now!—you slid right back out again and padded downstairs to work (and wait) alone.
How you must have cooked feverishly, silently wishing it wasn’t July and that air-conditioning was less fantasy and more reality.
How I imagine you were wiping sweat from your brow and pushing loose strands of brown hair behind your ear, talking to me quietly, begging me to wait just a few more hours.
How I didn’t listen.
How you always include the tiny detail that you were chopping a pepper the moment your water broke.
How you stubbornly kept working—chopping, slicing, stuffing—knowing now this was happening, and you needed to get the food ready for Dad to deliver.
How when you finally caved and got in the passenger seat, there began a nagging worry whispering at the back of your head that you might have to have me in the car.
How you arrived at the hospital, breathless, aching, and maybe a little bit proud you’d waited this long—having reported too soon the first time around—and the doctor had the nerve to yell at you anyway. This time for coming too late.
How the nurse took one peak under your gown and said, “If you have the urge to push…DON’T!”
How wonderfully you gloss over the part where you pushed and panted and pushed some more. How easy you always make it sound, that I came out so quickly…even if that’s not quite the story. But you let me believe it anyway, because you know I want to.
How I was small and jaundiced, but you always tell me I looked like I had a ‘great tan.’
How you may sometimes mourn the marks we left on your belly, but only until you remember—a moment later—what a wonderful life we all have together.
How powerfully you’ve owned that body of yours…even if that came a little later.
How it seems we me made a deal that night, you and I, always to push each other a little further, a little harder, and a little sooner than we may be ready for, knowing that we’ll (almost) always resist.
How you already seemed to know that night that the greatest gift you were ever going to give me, besides life, was cooking.
And how it seems that it will always be as it was that first night…you and me in the kitchen.
My strong, radiant, talented, humble, sassy, determined, naughty, gorgeous mother.