Monday, May 14, 2012

The Club

                                                    Secret Handshake

  I don’t really think of Mother’s Day as a holiday. Or I guess I should say it never feels like a day that’s different from any other. I was young when I had Mo, my two closest friends were still in college, no one was even thinking about having kids yet and so I didn’t have anyone to talk to about the usual “Oh my god I just had a baby and now what do I do” kind of stuff. I didn't even have a baby shower. My mom was helpful, but mostly Jake and I had to figure it out on our own. When Mo cried for hours at night and no amount of holding would soothe her, we turned on the vacuum. And it worked! I didn't call my friends to ask about feeding or nursing or tantrums or schools, I called them to see if they could babysit.

  I always had a knee-jerk cringe reaction to mommy and me kind of play-groups (I think mainly because I felt insecure about not fitting in), and this belief held over to when Darla and Harry were little. I felt like an outsider. I didn't think of motherhood as something shared, everyone has to figure it out on their own. I have different views about certain things from my friends, and sisters; why talk about it? I didn't feel like just because we were mothers we could all join together and sing around the campfire. But yesterday something weird happened. Starting early in the morning I received a few emails from friends, who are also mothers, wishing me a Happy Day. Then texts, then a few more texts, then a couple of calls. And I realized that even though we might have different opinions about raising children, we all know one thing: nothing about being a mother is easy. We can all agree on that and support each other because of it. 

 It reminded me of the time when Harry was 3 and I lost him in Target. I called his name and my voice went from impatient to frantic to terrified. I kept seeing shadowy video clips from the security camera  in my head of a man exiting the store, holding Harry's hand. Both Darla and I were running through aisles, screaming his name. Then all of a sudden, different Mothers came out of no where: "What's he wearing? How old is he? I'll go the front door. I'll check the parking lot." I didn't even know these people! They all just stopped what they were doing to help me. Finally someone yelled from the far end of the store "He's here!"

Before I could even say thank you, before we could commiserate and roll our eyes and shake our heads, before I could even stop shaking, they were all gone, back to their busy schedules, always doing three things at once, rushing to get things done. 

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