Under the Dogwood

Our Dogwood Tree

Our Dogwood Tree

Full heart, open hands, wriggly toes. This week I sat with my daughter in the sun under the dogwood tree in our front yard. Spring breezes lifted our hair as we wiggled our bare feet in the grass and gazed up at the creamy dogwood blossoms.

Sitting under the dogwood reminded me of last spring, when I was crazy-mad with longing to be a mom. I wrote this post to the universe, one in a series of letters to my unknown child, desperate to be allowed to love. It still stuns me that I finally, finally get to be a mama.

Grass on our toes

My toes…and my daughter’s little ones!

Being a mom is without doubt the biggest, most incredible joy of my life. And I can’t think of it without gratitude and heartbreak for the woman who made it possible for me: my daughter’s mom. Lisa* chose me and my wife to raise her daughter. Even though we see each other often, even though I know Lisa is navigating her grief, even though I know it was her decision to make, my heart fills and my tears spill when I remember what my joy cost, what it goes on costing.

After that perfect moment under the dogwood tree last week, we met with our daughter’s mom for a picnic by the river. Lisa fed her daughter strawberries. They giggled together, playing in the grass under the trees, watching the people pass by on the waterfront. The afternoon sun sank behind the nearby office buildings, and we all shivered and felt cold. That afternoon was a perfect moment, too.

I’m an adoptive mom. My motherhood is not simple, and it is never just one thing. For me, motherhood, like life, is always joy holding hands with sorrow, cold wind and hot sun, shadows and light. It is sometimes hard and messy, but it is always full of hope…and I work every day to make it honest, to embrace it all, as it is, without holding back.

This is a Perfect Moment Monday post inspired by Lori Lavender Luz. Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between. On the last Monday of each month we engage in mindfulness about something that is right with our world. Everyone is welcome to join. Read more perfect moments on the blog hop.


*Lisa has given permission for me to use her first name online. I find it more respectful to call her by name than to refer to her always by her role or function as a biological mom. I know many folks in the adoption blogging community use initials, so I think it important to clarify that her name appears here in respect and with permission. ~ Liz