Mother’s Day. The day I avoided for so very long. A day when I spent a lot of time crying. Year after year, while going through various infertility tests and treatment and—eventually—a hysterectomy, Mother’s Day was a reminder of what I had not become. Dreams unfulfilled. Going to church on that Sunday each year became heartbreaking. Family dinners were torture.

Fast forward to 2013. A beautiful little boy was placed with my husband and me. I was finally a mom. An amazing, selfless, strong woman chose to make me a mom. It felt like a whirlwind of events, and time flew by until LT’s birth in April of 2013.

That first month, as we soaked in every single moment of new parenthood, my thoughts would often turn toward RW, LT’s birth mom. My very first Mother’s Day approached quickly and I wrestled with mountains of mixed emotions. Overwhelming joy at a dream and destiny fulfilled, yet extreme sorrow. My blissful moments were coming from another woman’s pain. I’d be lying if I said I wanted to celebrate and shout from the rooftops about Mother’s Day.

Then a box arrived in the mail.

I saw the name on the return label and my heart skipped a few beats. Cautiously, guarding my heart, I opened the package and was floored. Inside contained the most amazing Mother’s Day gift from LT’s birth mom and family, including the most heartfelt card.

This year, Mother’s Day will be the weekend after we visit LT’s birth family during a trip for a triathlon my husband is doing. I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate a little early. While I usually refrain from shouting “Happy Mother’s Day!” from the rooftops (it still stings from infertility), I find myself coming to terms with the day and accepting the honor that RW bestowed upon me.

For me, Mother’s Day isn’t just a day for those whose calling has come. It’s a day to honor women–something, truthfully, I hated to hear during all those years my heart and soul ached to be a mom. I find it somewhat ironic that my coming to terms with this day only occurred after my heart was broken over another woman’s grief.

For me, Mother’s Day will forever be celebrated with a purpose and with gratitude for LT’s amazing birth mom. While she may not be celebrating Mother’s Day with him in the way I will be, I hope she knows that she is the one that set everything into motion, allowing me to enjoy this day. We will celebrate her, not only on Birth Mother’s Day but also on Mother’s Day, for she is the one who made a choice to carry a little soul to term and lovingly place him into our arms.

A quote I will never forget that sums up my feelings on motherhood is one from Desha Wood. She said, “He is mine in a way that he will never be hers, yet he is hers in a way that he will never be mine, and so together, WE are motherhood”. What better way for this adoptive mom to enjoy this day, and motherhood, than to tell RW “thank you” and then do my very best to honor her by raising an amazing boy. For me, Mother’s Day will always be a reminder to honor and stay true to those promises spoken and unspoken to RW.