I remember the exact moment when I realized what it meant to be a mother.
My son was about 18 months old and he needed a small procedure which required general anesthesia. The doctor told me matter-of-factly that on the day of the operation, I was expected to hand my son over the nurses who would take my son into the operating room where anesthesia would be administered.
Me: Well, I’d like to be with my son until his eyes close.
Doctor: We find its best a parent not be there at that point.
Me: Well, I would prefer to be there.
Doctor: Well, that’s not possible…hospital regulations…blah, blah, blah
I am a people-pleaser by nature so this conversation was really challenging for me. I negotiated, cajoled, complimented – used everything in my people-pleaser arsenal to make him see things my way, but no dice.
It became obvious that if I was going to be in that operating room while they administered the happy gas, I was going to have to piss off a few people…And piss them off I did (with the help of an amazing patient advocate).
When we arrived at the hospital the day of the procedure, I could see the front desk person whisper to someone after I gave her my name.
I was escorted back and when I told the nurse I had received permission to go into the operating room and to please give me a gown she said:
“Oh we know EXACTLY who you are. We’ll have your gown in a minute.”
She was pissed. In fact, everyone I met was seriously displeased with me.
As I took this all in, I was surprised to realize it didn’t bother me in the least. In fact, I was kind of enjoying it.
Had the people-pleaser in me suddenly been put to rest?
Just then my son crawled up into my lap. He was (is) a “spirited” child by nature but in the oversized hospital gown he looked small and vulnerable. My heart ached for no reason in particular.
In that moment, I realized I would do anything for this child. ANYTHING. My people pleaser was alive and well but even she said “Fu*k You!” to someone who put our son at risk.
And that is when I realized what it means to be a mother. It is the love. It is the big, brave, tear-filled, joyous love you can only have for your child that makes you a mother.
That love makes me a better person.
That love makes me strong.
That love makes me…”mom.”
Every single one of us is the same, us moms. We have our good days. We have our bad days but always we love.