I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. - John 16:33
Happy Mothers Day. A phrase that I for years said blanketly, without much thought about what it meant and who might be hurting. When my mama died, my understanding of Mothers Day changed. I didn't just expect it to be any other day where I happened to buy my mom flowers. There was suddenly a hole in my life where I was supposed to be celebrating. My first Mothers Day without my mom was also my first Mothers Day as a mom. I had prayed and prayed for a child. Infertility was exhausting - and our journey wasn't even all that long or difficult - and God had finally answered that prayer; He gave us Audrey two and a half weeks after He welcomed my mama into eternity. That day was hard. It was bittersweet. I was so excited to finally be able to have the title "mama" but it didn't seem fair that my own mama wasn't there to celebrate with me.
This yeas was my third Mothers Day as a mama. It was the third one without my own mama. It was the first one since George Mason's Day.
I knew yesterday was going to be hard. I had cried all week when I even thought about it. I didn't want to face a day all about motherhood. I didn't want to acknowledge the holes in my family. So we tried not to. Adam was so sweet and he and Audrey picked out flowers from the grocery store floral department. Audrey helped me arrange them in a vase, so very proud of the what she had picked out. He also got a card from Audrey and they practiced all week saying, "Happy Mupher's Day, mama." She said it to everyone she saw and then she expected cake.
My two year old had the right idea. I didn't want to celebrate Mother's Day because my relationship to motherhood is so complicated. I didn't want to celebrate because I didn't want to face the empty places where my mama or George Mason would have sat. But Audrey doesn't understand all of that. She simply knows that she was supposed to say Happy Mother's Day. If there is celebration and joy to be had, count her, and everyone she comes in contact with, in. As she spread her little piece of joy through the lumber dept at Lowes, the bagel shop near the park, and to the families watching the ducks waddle around the pond, I wanted to be just like her. I didn't need to celebrate my own motherhood because it seemed so painful but it really made me so grateful for all of the women in my life, at every stage, who have made an impact on my life. It made me think about all the women I know that have or are still dealing with infertility. It made me think about all the women who have walked this very same grief journey before me.
I cried a lot yesterday. It was never an uncontrolled, ugly cry, but there were tears of all kinds throughout the day. I think I was just aware, all day, of the things I am missing but also of all of the reasons Mother's Day could be painful. This world is so broken. No day should be painful. No person is meant to experience loss or pain or disappointment in waiting. That's not how God created us or how he meant for us to live. But we do. The curse of the fall is big and awful. Bad things hurt not simply because they are bad things, but also because we know in our hearts that this isn't how things are meant to be. Yesterday was a hard day but it wasn't all bad. I missed my son, like I always do, but I thanked God for my precious daughter. I lifted fellow sisters in Christ in prayer through tears of sorrow.
I can't wait for Jesus to come back and make things right. I can't wait for the day that things are made whole. My life here, my role as mama, they are wonderful and sad at the same time. The way God chooses to bless my futile efforts to expand His kingdom and live for Him don't always make sense. I know that as long as I'm this side of heaven, my son's death is going to present more questions than answers. I know that as I live out this journey called motherhood there will be ups and downs. There will be women who walk with me, pray for me, encourage me, and love me as I figure out how to be mama to two babies while only being able to hold one. There will be so many women who cry with me, who mourn my son (and my mama). There will be women who, thankfully, never experience this pain for themselves. There will be women who experience more pain than this, different pain from this. All of these women, past, present, and future, are a gift from my Father. They have and will impact me more than I will probably ever have words to explain. Mother's Day will probably always be hard but God will definitely always be good. For that, I am thankful.