March 5, 2015

As my daughter, Jill, approaches delivery of her first child, we have had many conversations that have brought back many memories. Tonight we were talking about hospital stays and what she might need to take and what it would be like. So much has changed since I had my first baby 38 years ago. One thing she mentioned is that all new mothers have a private room now. I always had a roommate. Another new mother, a stranger to me, separated by a curtain. Sometimes it was nice to have someone to chat with; other times I nearly went crazy hearing only half of hours of phone conversations.

My favorite memory of being a new mother with a roommate was with my second son (1980). I had been induced and had a fairly easy birth (relatively speaking, of course). He was notorious even before he was born. I remember the nurse shouting out to the other nurses when she checked me, “He’s got white hair!” My Tim had a full head of white-blonde hair. He was beautiful.

My roommate was about 10 years older than I was and was from the Philippines. I was fortunate to have the bed by the window. She was very sweet and quiet as I recall. Early in the morning the day after our deliveries, she peeked around the curtain. She held her baby with his full head of black hair. She said timidly, “Excuse me, may I borrow morning sunshine?” I wasn’t sure how to reply, but welcomed her to the window. She explained that in the Philippines, it was customary to bring babies into the morning sunshine to prevent jaundice. I had never heard of that before, but it made me happy that I got to learn about her ways.

Again very early the next morning, she asked, “Excuse me, may I borrow morning sunshine?”  I smiled. I felt differently about sunshine in the morning. I felt differently about mothering. It was my first time sharing motherhood with someone from another country. I knew she had taught me something important–even though I couldn’t put it into words. Even now, I’m struggling to express why that memory is so dear to me nearly 35 years later. I think perhaps it is just the simple act of love. The mother doing her best for her baby in the ways that she learned from her mother.

As I told Jill the story of “May I borrow morning sunshine?” we felt close. A simple act of love. Perhaps she will bring Maggie into morning sunshine and remember.

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6 comments on “March 5, 2015

  1. Amanda says:

    Congratulations on the upcoming blessing! Thank you so much for this beautiful piece! It gave me goosebumps and made me well up. There is such beauty and tenderness in your post, and I’m quite certain that I’ll never quite see the morning sunshine in quite the same way after just hearing of your experience.

    Life is best shared – thank you for sharing today!

  2. Kris Shrontz says:

    I enjoyed your story as my daughter just had her first child and I enjoy watching her raise her daughter which brings back so many memories of when I raised her. I love the “white hair and black hair” connection to the differences in cultures but regardless both mother’s with the same passion for their new bundle of joy.

  3. keitheduardo says:

    Love that line…may I borrow morning sunshine? You said it was something special that you couldn’t put into words—you just did! I’ll remember this post…thanks for sharing your memory.

  4. Carrie Horn says:

    What a sweet memory. Becoming a mother is such an overwhelming and beautiful experience.

  5. beachhousefarmhouse says:

    This is so beautiful. Some moments in life are just beyond words but you know that they have touched you deeply. I felt that in your post. So excited for you to be welcoming a special little person to the world very soon. 🙂

  6. sallydonnelly11 says:

    I too well up as I read your beautiful story. Knowing you and your work as an ESOL teacher, I could see you already being that kind ESOL teacher who appreciates others’ cultures even back 38 years ago.

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