OHBD 2015

OHBD 2015

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Complete Trust - Motherhood Reward and Responsibility

A recent Tuesday early morning, I was snoozing contentedly, savoring the last few minutes of peace before the hustle of getting Leyla and me out the door. I hear my firstborn’s newly deep voice roust me, “MOM!” I felt the prickling of irritation rise as I saw the opportunity to revel in those final moments fading. I responded according and asked brusquely, “What do you need?” He then again said, “MOM!!” and I could hear the tears he was holding back in his voice. I found myself fully upright in bed on instinct. I then saw him standing next to my side with blood on his chin and forehead mixed with tracks from his recently shed tears. I noticed his hands are also bloody. I was now fully and painfully awake. “What happened honey?” I asked feeling guilty for my earlier thoughts. He said, “I fell when riding my scooter to the bus stop.”

I got up and cleaned up his face and hands as best I could so I could see how badly hurt he was. To my mother's eye (experienced from a number of his incidents as well as numerous ones myself as a child), it didn't look good but also did not appear serious enough that an emergency room visit was warranted. I made an appointment with our family doctor for later that morning to confirm.

I then got his little sister ready for pre-school and prepared for the delay in my work day start. Out of the corner of my I eye, I could see he lying in our bed looking more like my little boy than the gangly teenager he has become. “Mom, can you stay home with me today?” he asks. My first response was, "No I have a day full of meetings. I will take you to the doctor and then your dad will come home early.”

“Ple-ea-ase mommy (the description he reserves now for when he really wants something from me),” he pleads. I look again at my schedule and see some of the meetings I can call into and others I can reschedule. It appears I can avoid a "bad mommy" moment. I tell him I can stay and am rewarded with his trademark grin – now including his braces which had cut into his lips in the fall. I hurt looking at him. But it is gratifying to know that even now he trusts "mommy" to take care of him. He is pictured below a few days later . . hamming it up with his new teenage battle scars beginning to heal.

I was taken back to when he was three years old. During pre-school, he was wacked in the mouth with a wooden block by another pre-schooler cutting his top lip. One of his front teeth turned also brown. The dentist said he needed a root canal. And told me the normal procedure for his age is to put the child under general anesthesia. Wanting to avoid that if possible, I said I thought he would be okay if he could be with me. The dentist and his staff were extremely skeptical but agreed to give it a try.

I lay down in the dentist chair and then pulled my son up. I wrapped my arms around him and told him he needed to lie very quietly. "Mommy is right here. The dentist is going to fix your tooth and everything is going to be fine. You just need to be my brave boy.” As I lay there, my little three year old let the dentist deliver the pain killing shot and drill extensively into his injured tooth. On a couple of occasions, he said in a little plaintive voice, “I don’t like this Mommy!!”

But when I replied, "You are doing great. I am very proud of you," he lay quietly until the dentist finished his work. I was hit at the time with the realization that what allowed him to do so was his complete faith and trust in me. Even as the long needle entered his gums and the vibrating drill dug into his tooth, he believed me when I said it was all going to be okay. My eyes filled. I was touched and humbled. I don't think I appreciated the full responsibility of his complete trust until that moment. The staff too was amazed and gave him a stuffed animal he kept as a special memento. At that age, his cheeks were plumper and he took his injuries a bit more seriously, as you can see below.

He still has that trust although it looks and is communicated differently more than a decade later. Its manefestation range from the serious to the more trivial. For example, we talked about a potentially life altering illness. He asked me “Are you worried, Mom?” I said, “No honey, I feel good about the likely outcome.” He responded, “If you are not worried, then I am not either.” Again, I was struck that his trust allowed him peace rather than worry.

Another time, when he was waiting for text, he asked me if I thought it was significant he hadn’t heard anything yet. I honestly wasn’t paying close attention and said something like, “I am sure it is no big deal.” He signed and said, “Thanks. If you don’t think so, then I feel better.” Then I felt a stab of guilt that I hadn't responded more thoughtfully because he put a lot of stock in my answer. He is growing into a young man and our relationship changes as he matures. But we still enjoy a close connection -- this photo taken during our visit to Greece this summer.

I found motherhood to be hard, complex and often messy (and with this one even a bit bloody). It requires the best of me but can also bring out my worst. It’s in these moments of revelation, I come to understand a bit more of the depth of what all motherhood really entails. And there in lies both the reward and the responsibility.


  1. This was a very beautiful, insightful post! Thank you for sharing your thoughts here!

  2. Thank you Kim! Appreciate the kind words .. .I find there is much to learn from other moms.

    Best -- E

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