Either I have it all wrong or Hallmark does

in Cherimie Crane/Voices by

By Cherimie Crane Weatherford

Delicate white dresses, pristine flowers tied in pretty pastel ribbons, pearls and diamonds adorning a glowing loving face — this is motherhood. Sweet sleepy snuggles, prideful milestone memories and constant celebrations of the art, trials and tribulations that make up being someone’s mommy. The second Sunday in May is a day of adulation for the portrait of perfection that holds a family firmly in place. Mother’s Day is a clear reminder that either I have it all wrong or Hallmark does.

For almost one and a half years I have awakened to the pure terror of realizing that I am responsible for another’s well-being. Especially when the ‘another’ has an awfully familiar temperament and an all too familiar giggle to someone she knows well. Somewhere in the sweet nursery rhymes and the What to Expect When You’re Expecting series, I must have overlooked the chapter on reality. I simply do not remember reading anything on the importance of owning 1,123 pacifiers (especially the glow- in- the- dark variety), the havoc caused by an ill-fitting diaper or the paragraph on how not to hate your peacefully sleeping husband during the less than romantic marathon of teething. Surely it was all addressed.

From the moment her magical little eyes open in the morning to the victorious moment when those same eyes close at night, she is in full control of my entire existence. The mere glimpse of women who have it mastered sends my once capable mind into orbit. I have studied the ways of the “supermom” but have yet to remember all the lyrics to the Wheels on the Bus song. Morning is a sequence of high level negotiations, frantic food wielding and consumption of caffeine at an impressive speed with a sincere hope that she and I will both leave the house in appropriate attire. Evenings are a muddled maze of bath toys, fascination with all that is forbidden and logical reasons not to go to bed. She is a powerful force.

Motherhood is more than controlled chaos, more than matching dresses and family portraits. For me, it is an out- of- body experience. I watch as her little feet stumble, only to feel the sting as her knees meet the sidewalk. When her forehead is warm to the touch, it is my body that aches. Her accomplishments are my greatest achievements and her disappointments, my truest angst. She reaches for me and I am the one lifted up. Her tears are my sorrow and her fear, my burden. Motherhood is an extension of who I am and a reflection of who she will become.

Mother’s Day is a day of acceptance. It is a day to joyfully embrace, the confusing, emotionally draining and often mentally paralyzing position of being Mom. It may not include spa visits, celebratory dinners or pearls. It may not even include sleep, food or appropriate clothing. But it does include the gift that can’t be explained in commercials, greeting cards or ceremonies. It can be seen every time a Mother wipes away a tear, explores a homemade fort, struggles to carry a squealing, squirming protester, reads the same book 300 times, or sacrifices her wants for the needs of her child. As most Mothers do, I strive for the very best that I can each and every day, hoping that my mistakes will be less memorable than my boo- boo healing abilities. Here’s wishing all the hand-holders, the tear-wipers and the fort-builders a day of hand-holding, tear-wiping and fort-building this Sunday. Motherhood is all about the moments.

Cherimie Crane Weatherford, owner of SugarBelle boutique, Celadon Real Estate Broker and observer of all things momentous and mundane lives on Lady’s Island with her golfing husband, dancing toddler and lounging dogs.