Brendan Bjorn gave me the gift of becoming a mother when he was born on 1 October 2004. After 4 miscarriages, I held this beautiful baby boy in my arms and rejoiced at not only finally becoming a mother, but at the doctors saying he was perfectly healthy. As we all know now, he is not perfectly healthy. The past 13 years have been a journey I never expected, and frankly, had I been told before he was born of the many difficult challenges we would continually face, I would have told said there is no way I could handle that kind of life.
Yet, here I am.
Here we are.
We are surviving.
Surviving, yes. Thriving, no. Experiencing life to its fullest potential, definitely not.
As a mother, I am happy that I’ve managed to give my sons the loving little family unit in which we find comfort, despite those incredibly difficult challenges that we continue to face. It takes a resolve of spirit most people will never understand unless you walk in our shoes. Having said that, I am sincerely disappointed in myself on this Mother’s Day (and most every other day, especially lately) that I have failed to give my two sons what they need in a secure, safe, forever home – especially Brendan Bjorn, considering his profound care needs. Yes, some days I even despise myself for being a “failure” in this regard. I admit this ugly truth here because it is part of my journey with Brendan and that is what this blog is about, after all. So, there is the truth of the matter on how I feel.
I also reflect back on my own mother. I lost her in March 1990, so coming up on 28 years ago this week. She was only 60 years old. Cancer. I miss her sparkling, bright blue eyes and the way they twinkled when she smiled. I miss the conversations we would have, especially in her last couple of years when she was sick, and how she revealed to me just what a loving, beautiful soul she was. I miss her gentleness in a world that is often devoid of even simple kindness. And I wonder, what she would say to Brendan Bjorn if she could stand next to his bed and stroke his thick brown hair? I can only imagine…and it makes me smile, though it’s bittersweet to think upon.
And what is Mother’s Day without thinking about the line of mothers that have come before us? I also think of min bestemor, my grandmother, who in her younger days before having a family of her own, spent her days living between Norway and America. Her first child was my mother. This morning I sit here looking across the room at the framed photo of her tenderly holding my mother in her arms, just as my mother held me and as I held Brendan when he was a baby – and continue to do so each time I carry him so carefully.
This Mother’s day is filled with poignant memories, administering medications and holding my son as he retched with ongoing feeding difficulties. This is my Mother’s Day, and at the end of the day, it is a day like every other day except for the fact that it’s a gift in and of itself, given to me by the teenage boy who lay in his bed in the next room from where I now sit typing about his journey.
So, to that most special boy who gave me that gift of being a mother, and who has taught me more than I could ever hope to teach him, I love you beyond words, my sweet, sweet Brendan Bjorn…
On this Mother’s Day, I also think of the many mums out there who have lost a child. This day must be so painful for them, on so many levels, as they remember the joys of their precious child with the heartbreak that comes with no longer having them to hold. My heart goes out to you all.