Saturday, May 9, 2015

To the Woman who Feels Like an Outsider on Mother's Day

Ah, Mother's Day weekend...

        You and I are somehow foes again.

My Facebook news feed is already exploding with the pictures that used to drive me insane with jealousy. For 10 years my job as a mother went mostly unrecognized...or at least it wasn't recognized the way I wanted it to be. I wanted a doting husband who would shower me with flowers and breakfast in bed or make reservations for brunch. I wanted someone to tell me to sleep in late and not worry about anything else. I wanted someone to send me off on a girls weekend, or maybe a day at the spa. But single motherhood and I were together for 10 long years.

And then I got married and Mother's Day was much more fun for a few years.

But then, I lost a baby and became familiar with International Bereaved Mother's Day - the Sunday before 'normal' Mother's Day.

A few years later, I sit here with a marriage that is broken and once again feeling acutely aware that there is nothing 'normal' about this Mother's Day. I have been dreading this weekend - and I know there are many more of you out there that feel the same.

You, who are estranged from your own mothers or have lost mothers. You, who desire to be a mother but cannot conceive. You, who are struggling with secondary infertility. You, the mother who has children far from home or who are not speaking to you. You, who have lost babies or children. You, who are hoping to adopt but have children caught up in the bureaucracy of the adoption process. You, who are fulfilling the role of both Mother and Father. You, who long for a family of your own but haven't found someone to be your partner in life. You, with the husband or partner who always forgets to recognize you on this day.

I know there are many who feel the same feelings I feel about tomorrow. Loneliness, sadness, bitterness, regret, anger, disappointment, longing...

My thoughts and prayers are truly with you. I am not just saying that. I will spend this week fervently praying for those of you with broken hearts as you head into tomorrow. I know what a hard obstacle some of these holiday weekends can be for so many of us. I cannot speak to all of the above categories because I haven't experienced many of them. But I can speak to those of us facing Mother's Day alone, with no one to tell us to sleep in and bring us breakfast in bed.

There are articles floating around about how not to be disappointed with what you do or don't receive on Mother's Day. There are articles telling us what Mother's DO want for Mother's Day. Every opinion or thought about how to celebrate Mother's Day right and well for your situation is out there.

I steeled myself for sad feelings to overwhelm me this weekend but I sat out on my back deck this morning and watched my children play in the backyard and I felt at peace.

My beautiful children who trust and love me enough to call me Mommy...the children who depend on me to care for them, love them, provide for them, be a safe place for's really what Mother's Day is all about. What an honor it is to be their Mother. What a privilege to have these amazing little people in my life.

Logan, my eldest - the one who made me a Mommy for the very first time. I am watching you grow into a man. You are my right hand in so many ways. You are always willing to help me around the house or with your younger brothers. You are such a loving sibling who has taken on the role of big brother better than I could have ever imagined. I am so proud of you.

Beckett, my almost 4 year old. You came into this world 9 days later than you were supposed to but you have been such a joy ever since. A calm baby who seemed content to just watch the world around you, you have morphed into a curious preschooler with an appetite for learning that is hard to quench. You have questions about everything. Although you can be stubborn and strong willed, you have a joy that is hard to contain. One Volume Beckett is what I call you - always loud and the most extroverted child I've ever known with THE most infectious cackle laugh to boot. I am so proud of you.

Declan, my toddler. You have tipped me upside down since the day you were born. You have made me question and doubt everything I ever thought I knew about being a parent. You are so bright, so much quicker to pick up things than your older brothers ever were! You learn fast, and you want to do everything just like a big boy. You love music and I have so much fun listening to you sing and watching you dance. Yours has not been an easy ride so far, and I am so proud of you.

Lilia and Harper - my two girls I have not yet met. Lilia, I know I will meet you someday and I think of you often. My first daughter, your name means 'what belongs to me belongs to God' and though you were never born you have left a mark on this family and on my heart that will never be erased.  I am so proud of you. Harper, you are growing inside of me and have been one of my most active babies! It is amazing to feel you moving and getting bigger and I am trying to cherish these moments with you in the midst of the chaos. You will be born into circumstances I am still unsure of, but I know you will be a blessing. I am so proud of you.

While I can't say that I wouldn't love to be able to sleep in tomorrow and have someone shower me with flowers - I CAN say that I know someday, I will be able to sleep in again. Those tiny voices that wake me up with the sunrise will be gone from my home and I will be celebrating Mother's Day with a phone call.

It's easy to feel that your Mother's Day celebration should look like everyone else's, but I have begun to realize that if I expect my life to look like the lives of others I am forever disappointed. My life is my own, it belongs to me and it is a beautiful story being woven together by the Creator of the Universe. It's painful and messy at times, but it's also full of joy and laughter and toddlers and preschoolers and teenage boys.

Tomorrow I will wake up and go about my day like it is any other day. But I will remind myself that my race isn't yet finished. Keeping my gaze focused on eternity, I know my moment of rest and celebration will be glorious and rewarding.

For all of you struggling this Mother's Day I leave you with Philippians 3:13 "No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead" We can all find hope in that, right?

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