Mother’s Day- what an emotional day. For many women, it’s a celebration and a chance to be appreciated for the things that are normally done without anyone noticing them. It’s a time to honor the ones who came before them, a time to relax and reflect on these special mothering relationships.
For other women, it’s a hard day. It’s a reminder of what we desperately want but don’t have. A lost loved one. An empty chair. An unrealized longing for a baby.
I’ve greeted this day at both ends of the spectrum. A few years ago, Mother’s Day brought tears and questions. Today I had the great honor of sharing our family story at church followed by a rainy day movie, an incredibly rare dinner out, and a bedtime tickle fight.
Regardless of the emotions this day stirs up for you I think the greatest way to celebrate is to honor the women who came before we did. The women we look up to; the women whose hard work and sacrifices made us who we are today. They may be with us or they may have passed, but they are our mothers and our loved ones and today is about them. I have literally dozens of women who fall into this category. I could blog about a different one each day for the rest of the year. Today I honor four:
I would not be the woman I am today without my sweet 91-year-old grandma’s influence. She introduced me to Price is Right and Lucky Charms, but more importantly she taught me how to love others without getting caught up in drama and gossip. My grandma has seen a lot in her years. She remembers when her house got electricity and when McDonalds came to town. She lost her beloved at a young age but didn’t spend a single second feeling sorry for herself. My grandma conducts herself with grace and class and is thankful for everything she has in life. Grandma, thank you for the example you have set for our family. Thank you for the phone conversations where you listen to things as mundane as my kids’ nap schedule or what we had for dinner last night- not because it’s polite to listen, but because you genuinely care. Thank you for calling me when I post anything that even slightly hints that I’m stressed out. I love you and hope you know how deeply I care for you. Happy Mothers Day to you.
Mom, where do I even begin? You’re welcome for being the perfect child. You know, until you had my sister. Thank you for loving my headstrong self even when I was beating up my sister or slamming my door (I don’t blame you for taking it off the hook). Thank you for putting nursing school on hold to raise me. Thank you for finishing nursing school and demonstrating to me what work life balance looks like; what a strong work ethic looks like. Thank you for showing me how to sacrifice for children. Thank you for doing my laundry and cooking me food and taking care of me well past the time I was capable of doing it myself. Thank you helping me go to college and paying for my wedding. Thank you for showing me how to overcome obstacles with grace. Thank you for loving my children. Thank you for loving me in practical ways- just this week you made my family food since we are moving and not cooking, you’re watching my children so the husband and I can have a night away, and you and dad are physically helping us move. I couldn’t do everything I do without your support. I love you. Also, please let me take more pictures of you. You’re beautiful and I want more.
My Mother In Law
I’ve always loved you, but it wasn’t until I had kids that I realized just how much I NEEDED you. You’re the type of woman who doesn’t wait to be asked to do something- you just see a need and take care of it. Our kids adore you and we’re so appreciative of all the ways you help with them. You often pop by after work and I love these surprise visits. Thank you for raising your sons to be the nice, kind men that they all are. The husband cries at movies and supports me in my career and helps out around the house and I know for a fact it’s because of the way you raised him. You’ve sacrificed so much and you love your family unconditionally. I’m so proud of the way you’ve handled yourself through the last few tough years, and so so so happy that you finally kicked your 40ish year smoking habit. Some women complain about their mothers in law but I hit the jackpot with mine!
Our Kids’ Birth Mom
I’m choosing to keep her picture private, but wow. What a woman. I can’t even imagine being in her shoes. We got the pleasure of meeting her when we were in Ethiopia. Honestly, it was a tough meeting. She was very very very sad- who can blame her? We could only speak through a translator and she didn’t have much to say. Birth mom, I hope you know how much we love you in this house. Thank you for making an impossible decision. I hope you know we pray for you every day. I pray that you have a sense of peace about your son and daughter. I pray you know how much they miss you. I pray you know how smart they’re becoming, how healthy they are, how much opportunity they have, how much they smile. What a weird thing. You sacrificed your children so that my family could become complete. It doesn’t make any sense; I’ll never understand it this side of heaven and I know you won’t either. Today after my speaking was done and the movie was over and the restaurant meal was eaten and the tickle fight grew quiet we talked about you. We shared memories of you cooking and taking care of your cows and laughed at some of their stories. I know your heart aches for your children and I can assure you that their heart aches for you too. I’m so deeply sorry that they cannot be with you today, but I promise to raise them in a way that will make you proud. Happy Mother’s Day to you.