This was the first year I wanted something for Mother's Day.
It's a holiday that, by rights, I can't claim. Every year since 1977, I've marked that day with cards (those first ones were penned by my dad) and then crayon drawings and painted artwork and poems and stories. Later it was small trinkets bought after weeks of babysitting or schlepping dishes at a local restaurant. These days its nice lotions and potions and gift certificates to special restaurants.
I've always been the celebrator on Mother's Day, as opposed to the celebratee, but this year I decided to ask for a gift.
This Mother's Day was my sister's first as a mommy. Most young mothers enjoy their first special holiday with breakfast in bed and kisses and cuddles with their precious baby, but that wasn't to be for my sister. My niece, Maeve, was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance eight weeks ago after complications with her congenital heart and lung defects. Doctors and nurses at the Sibley Heart Center Intensive Care Unit have cared for that sweet baby ever since.
Yes, this Mother's Day holiday was a rough occasion for everyone in the family, and we were all hoping Brigid would finally get a chance to hold her determined little girl.
Brigid was handed a world of heartache and challenge since Maeve was born October Fifth. Since then she has discovered the strength and bravery within to face the challenges of having a truly ill little girl. Brigid has dedicated every thought and moment and intention to helping Maeve as she recovers in the hospital. My sister has remained committed to the hope needed to survive the crushing emotions that come with a gravely ill child.
All of Brigid's struggles and fears and emotions melted away as she got a chance to hold her seven-month-old daughter. Doctors were amazed that Maeve was ready for such a thing, and one can only chalk it up to a gift from God.
Maeve was taken off her ventilator last week and doctors had to perform a rush procedure to remove fluid from one of her lungs. Both of my niece's lungs collapsed after the procedure and doctors were concerned Maeve would have to go back on the ventilator - a circumstance that would have prevented my sister from holding her baby girl.
But Maeve persevered.
She is the most determined person I've ever met - with an internal drive to survive and live and thrive. Maeve is miraculous.
Brigid and Steve got to hold their sweet girl this weekend - on Saturday Maeve was "tracking," or following the conversation happening between her mother and father. Sunday my sister and brother-in-law found their little girl freshly bathed and wearing those little socks that are knit to look like Mary Jane dress shoes - a little girl ready to celebrate with her Mommy.
That's what I wanted for Mother's Day. A brief moment for my sister to forget about her worries and just be with her baby girl. A chance for Brigid to take Maeve in her arms and love life's greatest gift.
Maeve is miraculous, and so is her mother.