Mother’s Day- Aint She Sweet?

It was the day before Mother’s Day, 24 years ago when the little sweet child was handed to me. Throughout her life my daughter always had a hard time getting out of the house on time, and that first day was no exception. Fourteen hours of labor, and four hours of pushing, I thought it would never happen. It was my wedding anniversary when I went into labor. I delivered her at 5:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. The next day was Mother’s Day!

I remember that first feeding, it felt so blissful, until…horrors upon horrorsI fell asleep. When I awoke, I remembered I had a baby, I remembered I was feeding her, but there was no baby in my arms. Yes, I actually looked over the side of the hospital bed, each side, and then under the covers. I was terrified, how could I be a fit mother if I would let my child fall on the floor the first day. There was no child. I rang the nurse. “MY BABY IS GONE!” I screamed. The nurse entered frantically, ” It is o.k.” The nurse worked hard to calm me down. “She is in the nursery. When we came in to check on you you were fast asleep, no one could wake you, I think that long and difficult delivery finally caught up with you, and so we brought her back to the nursery.”

I was crying.

I thought the nurse must think I was horrible, How would they ever let me leave the hospital with her? I certainly did not feel much better with her reply. I might not have let her fall on the floor crashing and causing irreparable brain damage, but I did let a total stranger take my child from my sleeping arms. What kind of mother was I? I know the nurse meant well but I was humiliated, and I simply blurted out, “I don’t believe you.” I said, “I want to see my baby.”

The nurse was smiling when she came back into my room, how could you not smile when you are carrying such a beautiful child. She put my bundle back into my arms. I should have apologized to the nurse, but I was still mortified and embarrassed by my own behavior and my apparent neglect.

I examined my Mother’s Day gift again. After the nurse left, I whispered to my baby, “I know you are my baby, they did not switch you.” Why I would think they would switch my baby, I do not know. Perhaps I had seen too many movies. “I know you are, not by the bracelet on your wrist, but because of those horrible marks on your head from the forceps delivery.” I stroked the marks, thankful for their identification, afraid, that adding to my chance of dropping my child, and having a stranger take her away I might also add not being able to recognize her to my list of horrors in those first hours of being a mom. “You sure were stubborn.” She sure was a sight with those red marks. But a beautiful sight. This sweet bundle just looked back at me, assured that I was the perfect mom. She trusted me, and she had this incredible ability to make all of my fears fade. At that moment, the room, the hospital, everything, even my husband, everything out of the small circle of her and I, the entire world simply disappeared. It was the strangest experience that I have ever had, I have never had one like it since. Everything simply disappeared but her and I.

Prior to this delivery I prayed at the church alter. I looked up at Father Lon and said, “Would you please pray for my baby?”

“For a healthy baby and a safe delivery,” He stated.

“Yes, that would be nice, but would you also pray that my baby, and my labrador retriever Conan, will get along? He is really a member of the family and I’m a little worried.”

“Hmmm,” Father Lon said, “I think there is a prayer about the lion laying with the lamb, let me see what we can do.”

We called our new baby and first child Christina. The name was picked by Conan, that same labrador. While reading baby names out loud, Conan’s head tipped to the side with intrigue as we read that baby name from a book. This was probably more due to the fact that the dog’s best canine playmate was named Nina, and this name sounded close to Christina, but the name took.

That first day in the hospital I saved her baby blanket that she had been wrapped in, took another from the supplies under her bassinet and sent the “smelly” one home with her father. “Let Conan smell this,” I said. “They say it might help introduce the baby. Tell him she is coming home soon.”

We were alone again. My favorite radio station played big band. I phoned them, ecstatic that it was going to be Mother’s Day, and it was my first day with my baby. “I’d like to request a song please.”

They asked, “What would you like?” I hadn’t thought of what song I wanted, I just said, “Anything that you want, as long as it is dedicated to this sweet thing in my arms.”

Not long after I heard the announcer. “Here is something for a special little baby that came into the world just in time to make her mommy a mother on Mother’s Day.” I listened intently to what they had chosen for my child.

“Aint she sweet, see her coming down the street. Now I ask you very confidentially aint she sweet.” It was the old song “aint she sweet?” by Gene Austin 1927. My toes wiggled under the sheets. I looked at her beautiful eyes, lips and nose, as I sang her song along with the radio, one of the many songs I would sing to her throughout her childhood. “Just cast an eye in her direction, Oh me oh my, aint that perfection? I repeat, don’t you think that is kinda neat, I ask you confidentially aint she sweet?”

I’m happy to report the lion did lay down with the lamb or should I say that the cherished family pet soon learned that his nose was an equal height to the high chair, and this new smelly, squiggly family member loved to throw food over the side of her high chair and giggle when Conan would quickly retrieve it and then, as if on command, he would put his nose back up, barely resting on her tray and look at her longingly. It caused an instant rapport. Yes, there was a period of time when Conan had a regular diet of Cheerios and baby food.

My baby was married this year, and I’m sure her husband agrees with the song that was played on her “birth” day. I can’t help but think it won’t be long before she is having a baby of her own, and Mother’s Day will become something that she no longer celebrates for someone else but is celebrated for her. Until then, I still find her incredibly sweet, and confidentially, she is still my baby girl and perfection.

Copyright 2009
Mongeon is a writer, sculptor, and speaker

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