my first mother’s day

First, I want to wish all of my mom-friends a very happy Mother’s Day!  Whether it be by your example from afar or the close-up life and motherhood you have shared, you have all impacted me in profound and lasting ways and I have so much respect and applause for you.  Some of us have similar mothering styles and perspectives and some of us are on polar opposite ends of the spectrum.  But I cheer you on in the daily minutia and the decades of investment.  Both are a reflection of your dedication and your faithfulness to your calling.

All week as I pondered and anticipated Mother’s Day, I found my heart bursting with more love and affection for my son than I ever knew existed. He had a few rough evenings this week, struggling to get to sleep and fussy. I was surprised by how eager and quick I was to simply hold and rock him and comfort him until he was calm and oftentimes, until he was asleep in my arms. Even last night, as he awoke crying in his crib just moments after I had fallen asleep in my bed, and I dragged myself to his room for snuggles and rocking, my heart was still happy as I held him despite the tiredness. I’m sure I won’t always respond with such joy and eagerness, but this week, I was thankful for the grace that made it happen.

On a similar note, it has surprised me how much I have embraced the much slower pace of life that pregnancy and motherhood has brought. I still have a strong tendency to be driven by and find fulfillment in productivity, and to fill every waking moment with something, but the major shift and adjustment to that drive and MO that has come with motherhood, by God’s great grace at work in my heart, has not been nearly as difficult to accept as I had anticipated. How grateful I am for the softening, the patience and the compassion I have felt in my heart in the midst of the [often inconvenient] interruption to my plans/expectations.  This new pace is so worth it and so wonderful.

However, I must admit, this morning I actually find my heart very heavy and sobered.  The older I get, the more I realize and understand that holidays are not always happy times for many people.  And this particular Mother’s Day seems to deepen that understanding in a particularly poignant way.  Becoming a mother was not an easy journey for us.  And I have a number of friends who are grieving this morning over loss, or longed-for joys yet unknown.

There are women in my small group who are pursuing motherhood either biologically or via adoption and are still waiting on the Lord for the fulfillment of that desire.  I have many friends who lost 1 or more babies in the womb before receiving a child in their arms to hold and to raise.  I also have several friends that have been blessed with a child yet now find themselves dealing with unexplained secondary infertility.  A friend of mine recently lost her son at 20wks pregnant and had to undergo the awful pain of delivering a stillborn and holding her baby for the first time after life had already left him.  Another friend, whose firstborn boy was born within a week of Jack and whose due date with baby #2 was within a week of my current due date with our baby #2, recently miscarried and buried her son (talk about hitting close to home).  Or a longtime close family friend for whom this past week marked the one year anniversary of losing her first born son (age 24) in a tragic accident. Mother’s Day will never be the same for any of these women.

For many, Mother’s Day may not bringing sadness because of the loss of a child, but because of the loss of their own mother.  I think of my cousin-in-law and his sister, whose mom died suddenly and tragically.  For him, this was actually the 2nd mother he had lost, his biological mom being tragically killed when he was a toddler.  For his sister, she was young and newly married when her mom died and she now walks out the courageous role of motherhood without the joy of her own mom being there for encouragement and counsel and memories.  My heart breaks for my own mom.  This is the first Mother’s Day that she won’t get to write a card and send flowers and call to wish her mom a happy Mother’s Day.  And even though my Grammy lived a long and full life, and my mom was able to know and enjoy her mom for more than 5 decades, the sting of loss is still sharp and sad.

I don’t share these things trying to bring some sort of “reality check” to anyone who would find today cause for pure joy and celebration.  Do celebrate!  The women mentioned above do too!  But while I rejoice and celebrate the amazing joy and miracle of motherhood in my life and season right now, I simply can’t help but feel sobered and tempered by the reality that this day also brings much pain and tears to others.  I think it’s part of growing up – you realize that life can just be really really hard sometimes.  I have shed tears for my friends today and smiled and congratulated other friends today as well.  With increasing intensity, I am reminded again that we live in a world where very little is as it should be.

I find myself wondering if there will be a special and specific place and event in heaven where all mothers and fathers will meet again those children who have preceded them to glory.  And the Father will hold all in His arms and all the bottled tears from earth will evaporate in the flame and thrill of blessed, heavenly reunion.  Where all will finally be as it should be, with no more pain, no more tears, no more loss, no more longing, no more hurt, and no more death, because of Jesus.  That day gives me a reason to rejoice and celebrate in the midst of many sober and sad realities.  I look forward to that day very much and celebrate today in light of that day.

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