I wanted to get this writing done in time for Mother’s Day, but life got in the way. And isn’t that fitting? Most of the moms I know always step aside and let Life go first. My oldest daughter Kate is one such mom.
Kate is pregnant with her second child and due in mid-September. About three weeks ago she was full of excitement as she and her husband and their almost three-year-old daughter went to the doctor for a routine ultrasound. They learned they are having a boy. And they are thrilled! There are very few boys in Kate’s generation of the family. And for John’s family, this is the first boy to carry the family name in a generation. Smiles all around.
A couple of days after the ultrasound, Kate went in for a routine checkup and her doctor told her the radiologist hadn’t liked something in the ultrasound. The doctor said there was some concern about the baby’s feet and Kate would need to have a 4-D ultrasound as soon as possible. Kate left the doctor’s office and called me with the news. We talked for a long time, all the while I tried to reassure her that we needed to think positive thoughts. A couple of days later and the 4-D ultrasound completed, Kate and John learned their baby boy has bilateral club feet.
In the whole scheme of things, Kate understands this is a minor defect, and one that can be cured. But without even holding her baby in her arms, she already knows her baby is not “perfect.” And for that, Kate found herself grieving. Every mom wants a perfect baby and my heart aches for Kate that she’s dealing with this. And both of us keep putting it into perspective. Yes, this will be a challenge the first few months, but manageable. This is not a terminal disease. It is not life-threatening. In her heart Kate knows she will love this precious baby no matter what, but her mind is wondering if she’s up to the challenge. She shared with me how she feels a burden of weight on her shoulders simply because she is having a boy. And now, she feels added responsibility to learn as much as she can so that she can be prepared to mother a child who requires special care. And she wonders if she can do all that will be required of her once the baby arrives.
I was explaining all of this to a friend who said, “I know Kate will be fine and she will handle this with extreme grace.” True indeed. Kate has grace. I’ve watched her demonstrate this all of her life. When she was just three years old she attended a preschool class that mixed special needs children with “regular” children. The teachers regularly commented on Kate’s compassion. As Kate grew older and we added three sisters to her life, she took on the role of mentor. She carried that into high school and on to college, where she worked as a tutor and earned a double major in math and secondary education. Today she teaches in one of the poorest school districts in our state and she absolutely loves her job.
I love my Kate and I am awed by her strength and compassion. She is wise beyond her years. She is comfortable on the floor playing with blocks with preschoolers, she is at ease in a group of middle schoolers learning math, and she is confident as a coach to high schoolers. I’ve smiled as I’ve watched her converse with adults in many different settings. She “gets” people. She is respectful of all those she meets and quickly sees the value in each of us. She has an inherent drive to learn and understand. I have no doubt at all that this precious little boy who will join our world in just a few months will be given the greatest gift of all—Kate as his mom.