My husband and I are facing another first in our relationship--celebrating Mother's Day from the parental side of things. For years, we have gotten by with a card, phone call or visit and a bouquet of flowers to celebrate the special women in our lives. Now, however, we are celebrating Mother's Day from the perspective of our son Micah, and as two dads we don't really know what to do.
Micah is 8 months old and has been with us in an open adoption since he was three weeks old. At the start of the open adoption process, I was nervous but optimistic for the idyllic birth family/adoptive family relationship we often saw. However, the reality is that open adoption has been hard for our family. We have had our ups and downs with Micah's birthmother, Andrea, and her involvement in our lives. Recently she moved 10 hours away to live with her boyfriend. She is upset that we are not visiting her on a regular basis and especially wanted us to visit on Mother’s Day. It has been hard to help her understand that, while we are committed to our relationship with her, we are not able to drive up and see her as often as we like.
In spite of that, we are forever grateful to Andrea for helping us be a family. It seems fitting and appropriate to send her a Mother's Day card to celebrate her role in our new, modern family. As I was standing in front of a Mother's Day card display the other day, I tried to find the perfect card to send her. However, I could not. There was no card that said "Thank You For Giving Us the Ultimate Gift of Parenting--Your Child". So many of the cards celebrated how a mother raises and shapes the life of her child, but Micah is not being raised by his birth mother. Other cards make humorous references to the messiness and laughter of childhood. Andrea's not there to experience those daily joys and frustrations that make up a parent's life. I finally just grabbed a blank note card that we could personalize with a message.
But of course I'm constantly striving to be the Martha Stewart of gay dads, so a card alone was not going to cut it. After scouring Pinterest for ideas, bemoaning my lack of creativity and having a minor breakdown, I found the perfect idea--footprint art! Who doesn't love an adorable picture made out of a baby's footprint? We were set: relevant card, foot print art, Happy Mother’s Day.
However, Andrea is not the only woman who has contributed to our lives. We have a birth family with mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. We have our parents and grandparents. We have our babysitter who is a vital female presence in Micah's life. All of these people contribute to the success and joy of our family and deserve to be recognized on Mother’s Day. We started an assembly line consisting of paper, footprints, ink and stickers.
As I looked at the eight pieces of artwork we created (we had to keep one for ourselves!), I realized that each of these people has a special place in our continuing journey. Mother's Day with two dads is even more special because we are so thankful for all of the female support in our son’s life.
How did you celebrate Mother's Day this year? I would love to hear all your great ideas so I can be ready for next year! To all the mothers in our lives and everywhere, thank you and Happy Mother's Day!