Saying Thank You to My Mom on Mother’s Day

Cortni Merritt and Son
Managing Editor Cortni Merritt and her son Austin, March 2015

When I found out I was expecting a baby, I had to tell my mom first. She lived 2,000 miles away, so there was no way I could see her reaction. After my first ultrasound, I scanned the grainy, black-and-white images of my future. Fuzzy and curled, the baby had an elongated Picasso-esque face wearing the carefree expression of weightlessness.

In one of the images, the humanoid shape had turned to face the machine, with a wide infant skeletal grin and outstretched arms. I told the ultrasound tech that looked like an alien gummy bear. She told me it was probably about the same size.

I actually dialed out my mom’s number on my cell phone. The moment seemed monumental enough to need the action of dialing.


“Yes, my child.” Her standard greeting.

“You busy?”

“No,” she said. She is never too busy when it comes to her kids.

“I’m going to send you an email. Tell me when you get it.” I pushed Send.

The silence through the phone was crushing. A full 30 seconds, maybe a minute, of breathless stillness. I exhaled slowly.

“Did you get it?”

“Yeah. It’s ultrasound pictures.”

I timidly offered, “Congratulations, Grandma.”

“No,” her smile was so bright I felt my phone warming like a rock in the sun, “Congratulations to YOU, Mom.”


Months later, I crouched on the queen-sized bed at the birthing center. It was exactly as we had planned – no drugs, no machines. Quiet and intimate, and focused on this moment that would make me a mother.

Labor is every bit as painful as anyone has ever told you, and no one in the world knows that better than another mother. My eyes cut through my dripping curtain of hair and knife-sharp breath, at my mom, holding my hands. Her gaze was warm and serious. Her eyes took up half her face.

“Come on sweetheart. You can do it,” her voice was an iron mass in the room, something I could grab onto and make sense of. “One more push.”

My mom held my son when he was a few seconds old. I don’t remember much about those minutes, but I remember her face glowing as she stared down at his little face, repeating, “He looks just like you. Just like you.”

It was true that he no longer looked like an alien gummy bear. Now he looked like a little alien person. Plump, pink, with all the fingers and toes a mother could want. And I looked at my mother holding him and saw something I had never seen before: my mother holding me.

Nancy Merritt and Austin LingleNancy Merritt holds Austin Felix Lingle, August 16 2012, minutes after birth

Since that moment nearly three years ago, I haven’t been able to forget how my mother holds me still, everyday.

A mother never stops being a mother. Once a mother, it is at the center of you until the day you die. She told me that when I was young, but I understand better now. Although, how could I forget: she’s been doing it ten times longer, so she’s at least ten times better at it.

So thank you to my mother, at least ten times, for every day of my life.

This Mother’s Day, all you need is one word.

My mother is: Heart



I love you, Mom.

About Cortni Merritt

Managing Editor, Cortni Merritt, MA, reads everything she comes across. She has degrees in both psychology and English, and has been a composition instructor, and a copywriter for lawyers, a coordinator at a dating service, and a property manager of apartments. Cortni makes it her mission to read people's stories.

One Comment

    nancy merritt

    Once you are a mother it is your center until the day you die. When you become a grandmother, your love lives on thanks to your kids. Thank you, my child

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