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

12 thoughts on “Under the Dogwood

  1. Here via Lori’s Perfect Moment Mondays. What a beautiful and perfect post about motherhood and your experience with your daughter. I am feeling emotional this morning and reading your words brought me to tears, in a good way. Thank you for sharing.

  2. This sentence is a perfect moment in itself: “Lisa fed her daughter strawberries.” First of all, the strawberries and second of all, your use of pronouns. I love the way you encourage Lisa and your daughter to claim each other, and that doing so also adds to you 🙂

    So happy you are participating in this month’s Perfect Moment Monday! And that I get to read about the same moment from Lisa as I go through the linkies!

    • What a great insight, Lori. I never thought of it before as encouraging claiming. But you are right. Lisa and I DO encourage each other to claim our daughter, and in different ways. Our relationship is such a huge blessing in my life.

    • Thanks Daisy! It IS such a gift. My daughter surprises me every day with some new aspect of her personality that delights, challenges, or inspires me (or sometimes all three at once!).

  3. What an incredibly simple, but beautiful and poignant post! I love your resolve to love and be open to receive love, instead of allowing fear and the unknown to take hold of your head and heart. I cried a bucketful of tears reading through it…realizing in my own situation how much heartache and loss my family has endured. Your post helped awaken me in so many ways today. Thank you and bless you!

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