Sunday is Mother’s Day. I’ve never celebrated Mother’s Day as a mother. However, this weekend I will take the stage in St. Louis, Missouri, and tell my story of being a mother. I will begin by talking about the yellow outfit I dressed my baby boy in for his trip home from the hospital. I will talk about how the social worker came to the hospital to take him home—to a foster home, with a foster mom. Recalling that day, I say to my son,
“I kiss you good-bye. And then I cry.”
I was 19 years old, a college student, and unmarried. The year was 1982—the era of Reagan’s attack upon the Welfare Queen. This was long before the days of “Murphy Brown” and Miranda of “Sex and the City.” Being a single mother in 1982 was neither a popular option nor a lifestyle choice likely to garner much support.
Still, I loved my son more than I ever thought possible. And more than anything else in life, I wanted to be his mother. After a very heartbreaking struggle to try to keep him, I finally gave him up for adoption. Another woman raised him as her own. As he was growing up, when he celebrated Mother’s Day, it was this woman—faceless and nameless to me—who received his hugs, kisses and cards on this special day.
Thirty-two years have passed. While there is so much more to this story of me and my son, for now I just want to write about this particular Mother’s Day, when I will claim my motherhood to an audience that will span from the auditorium at St. Luke’s Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri to the global audience of You Tube. I titled my story, “Mothering You, My Son” because I believe that giving him up for adoption was an act of motherhood. And I thank the courageous and creative women of “Listen to Your Mother” for also recognizing it as an act of motherhood, and inviting me to be a part of their show.*
These 32 years have given me the luxury of perspective. It has also allowed the story to unfold. My son is now 31, married and a father. On this Mother’s Day, I will send his wife a card wishing her a day full of hugs and kisses and Mimosas. And my heart will sing with happiness as I think of their little girl, my granddaughter. I will also feel deep gratitude as I think of his adoptive mother—a generous-hearted woman whose own act of motherhood enabled him to become the very fine person he is, and enabled me to continue to mature from the girl I was into the woman I am today: a birthmother who can get up on stage and tell her story of motherhood.
*Special thanks to the Co-Directors and Co-Producers of Listen to Your Mother – St. Louis:
Ellie S. Grossman
Laura Edwards Ray