Mother’s Day this year was extremely bittersweet. For the past 9 years, I’ve been so used to stretching ourselves so thin on this day, celebrating my mom, mother-in-law, and both of my grandma’s. This year felt pretty empty in comparison, but we made the best of it together, as a family.
This was my first Mother’s Day as a mama to my sweet baby boy, but also our first without both my mom and mother-in-law. My mother-in-law, Cam (who I will refer to as Mẹ, which means “mom” in Vietnamese), passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on December 20th, 2016. This was an extremely huge hit for the entire Le family, as Mẹ meant the world to us all. I only had nine short years with her, but will forever cherish them. Not only was I able to witness her strength myself, but the stories told of her journey of coming to America with four small children (soon-to-be five) and building her life in a brand new country, has made her the strongest woman I’ve ever known. Her love for her children and grandchildren was one of the many things I adored about her.. oh how she loved! She was always so thoughtful and giving. It seems like every time the family was all together, she would go into her closet and come out with new clothes she purchased for each family member. And I can’t even count the number of times I saw her shoving wads of cash to each of her 6 grandchildren, each and every time they were all together.. just because. I always thought this was so hilarious, but also so character of her. She just wanted everyone to know how much she loved them. Mẹ passed away exactly 7 weeks before our son was born. Beckham never got to meet his sweet Bà nội (paternal grandmother), which is just so painful to the core. Her last words “to” Beckham while I was 8 months pregnant with him were, “Be good for mommy and daddy, baby. Bà nội loves you.” Beckham is named after her (Beckham Cam), and has a lot to live up to. I will make sure he knows just how much she loved him for as long as I live.
As most of you know, my mom was killed by a drunk driver on April 12th, 2017, just four months after we lost my mother-in-law. My mom only had two months with my son before she was taken from us, which just kills me every single day. There were so many things she wanted to do with him– in fact, her first words to him when she met him in the NICU on his birth day (February 7th) were, “Grandma gets to take you to the zoo one day!” Although she had only “known” Beckham for two months, she loved him so deeply, and I will never let him forget that. My mom was more than just a mom to me… she was a best friend. I could talk to her about anything, and she was always there. She has carried me through the hardest times in my life, and I am a better person for the wisdom she’s instilled in me through those moments. She was so caring, up-beat, full of life in even the saddest moments. She embraced me with more encouragement and positivity than I’ve ever experienced otherwise. She was my cheerleader, and without-a-doubt, my biggest fan. Even in my adult years, I’ve called out for her when I was sick, when I made mistakes, when I had a broken heart… and I could always count on her to pick me up. She was the best mom I could have ever asked for, and I will spend the rest of my life living by her example.
There is nothing.. NOTHING.. in the world like losing your mom, and we did it twice, less than four months apart. We knew Mother’s Day would be hard for us, so we decided to spend it with our families, together. We invited mine and Robert’s siblings, nieces, and nephews over for a Mother’s Day cookout on Saturday. We grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, and I got to pull out my favorite dishes for the first time in our new house. We had way too much food to mention, and were surrounded by the best company.
After going back and forth for a week or so in regard to whether or not to have a balloon release for Mother’s Day, we decided to go ahead and do it and I am so glad we did. We were worried that it would be too sad/too hard for everyone, and while it was both of those things, it also felt good in a way… it was the only thing we could do for my mom and Mẹ. As we stood and watched our message-filled balloons soar away, I heard words to a song playing through our patio speakers, “I need a sign to let me know you’re here.” Calling All Angels by Train was playing on Pandora, and we all couldn’t help but feel like our two favorite angels were there with us as we watched those balloons fly away.
We ended the night watching a movie with my oldest brother (Matt), sister-in-law (Kalisse), and niece (Brinley). The two babes fell asleep and we snuck the sweetest photo of the two of them.
The next morning (Mother’s Day), I woke up to a cup of coffee, the most beautiful flowers and a sweet card from Beckham (aka via daddy) and snuggled with my boys for a bit before heading to my grandparent’s house.
What better a day than Mother’s Day for my first of many #epicmomfails…. we planned on being out the rest of the day and forgot Beckham’s diaper bag at home. There was not a bottle or wearable diaper in sight… upon arriving at my grandparent’s house, we quickly realized what essentials we were without and I sent Robert to the store. My grandma fed him and then he pooped…. a lot… like way more than his diaper could hold. It got all over my grandma and ruined the only outfit we had for him (naturally we always carry extra onesies in the diaper bag but have never needed them… until we forgot said diaper bag). So, in proper fashion, we have naked baby photos to share. 🙂
Anyone who knows me well knows how much I LOVE my grandma– she has been a huge staple in my life since I was born. Her constant love, support, and friendship has molded me into the person I am today. Her faith and advice have meant more to me than I could ever express in words. Because of my close relationship with her, my heart is broken for my sweet baby boy who will never know the love of a grandma.. my life would have been so much different without the relationship I’ve built with her, and am so sad to think that Beckham will never get that chance with my mom and Mẹ. However, I thank my lucky stars each and every day for this woman, and am so thankful Beckham will get to know what an incredible person he gets to call great-grandma. Although his “gift” to you was not a pleasant one, we hope you had the best Mother’s Day!
Last, but not least, we wrapped up our Mother’s Day (week) having lunch with my grandparent’s on my mom’s side. I thought it would be difficult to have lunch with them without my mom there as I have always celebrated my grandmother on Mother’s Day alongside my mom… but I felt my mom’s presence there with us and it ended up being a great day. We laughed and talked a lot about my mom and family. My mom loved these two people so incredibly much, and as much of a loss as my mom’s passing has been for me and my siblings, I know it has been so extremely difficult for them as well. My grandmother lost her best friend, and I know I will never be able to fill those shoes, but I plan on doing my best. My grandmother has been so strong through all of this, and I admire her so much. Her heart is truly golden, reminding me so much of my mom in so many ways. I am so thankful to be able to share my mom’s memory with two people I love so much.
Thank you to all our family for making a hard day/weekend so much better. And thank you to my sweet baby boy for coming into my life when I needed you the most. Being your mama is the best thing that has ever happened in my life, and I will work hard every single day to make sure you know just how much you are loved. “You are strong, you are brave, you are smart, you are kind, and you can do anything.” I love you so very much!
Happy Mother’s Day to all!