I don’t usually blog on the weekends but it’s Mother’s Day and there is so much going on my head, I need this space to sort it out. (OK?)
It’s technically my first Mother’s Day today. Yay! I love being a mom. It’s even more fun than I expected. I say it’s technically my first Mother’s Day because last year at this time I was expecting. Not pregnant; we were in the midst of training to become foster parents.
At what point does a woman become a mother? Is it the moment of conception? Is it the moment her child is born? Is it the first time she sees her child’s face? Is it the day they meet for the first time? Is it when she’s aware of her child’s existence? I pondered these things one morning last Spring and I asked God. I felt His answer wrap around me, You became a mother the moment you decided to become a mother.
So, you see, a year ago, I already felt like a mother in a lot of ways. I had a car seat installed in my minivan, for crying out loud. I just didn’t have any kids to buckle into it yet. But I could feel their existence like an ache inside of me. I prayed for them and cried for them as I arranged childrens books on ledges, painted a nursery and stretched a sheet over a new crib mattress. Last Mother’s Day was full of excitement and preparation.
Mother’s Day has never been a hard day for me. Never a sad day. I know it is for a lot of people… women who long for children, children who long for mothers, mothers who have lost children or lost touch with their children, children who have lost mothers or lost touch with their mothers. I’m not one who was brokenhearted on my childless Mother’s Days because I never doubted that I’d be a mom one day. I was not in any hurry. I knew God put it in me to be a mom and I didn’t care that much when and how it happened.
This Mother’s Day is sad for me, though. I am crazy in love with my little girl. She fills my days with joy with her sweetness, giggles and gigantic smiles. Her baby browns pierce into me and melt my heart. She’s everything I could ever want in a child. She is a blessing. But I am her mother because she was taken away from another mother. And that is why I am sad this Mother’s Day. On my way to church this morning, I’ll drive past the hotel where she lives—the woman who carried my precious daughter for 9 months, who decided not to abort this one, who brought her into the world hopeful she could parent this time, that she would be able to be the mother her daughter needed. But it didn’t happen. She messed up. Again. And a child was taken from her. Again.
(photo: beth rose photography. bethrose.com)
I have an irrational amount of respect for my daughter’s biological mother, her first mom. “How could someone give up such a beautiful child?” a friend once asked me, without thinking of the implications. Before I met her, it was much easier for me to judge her, too. She wasn’t a “real” person to me yet. I knew on paper what she had done and I was angry about what had happened to Precious, what she had been put through. However, getting to know this woman forever changed me and my perspective about the parents of children in foster care. She was not a monster. She was not an evil child abuser. She was not a heartless, selfish, careless person. We all make mistakes, some with more serious consequences than others. I can say without a shadow of doubt that she loved, and still loves, Precious deeply. She has dreams and hopes for her future. She misses her terribly and I hate to think of what she might do to try to cover the wound left by the children that were ripped from her. She’s a hurting woman—just like many others on this day—and my heart breaks for her.
So that is on my mind today.
Then, there is the problem of orphans. There are thousands of kids in this country who have no mothers to celebrate today. I’m not even going to try to carry the weight of that burden because I would be instantly crushed. Lord knows I can only handle so much. But I weep for them, too. We’re making more room… I whisper into the wind. Our new house will have 4 bedrooms. FOUR! But there are so many motherless kids. So many more than our home will hold.
I read this awesome blog post on Friday called Where is the Mommy-War for the Motherless Child? and wanted to run around shouting, YES! YES! Why are we moms not more outraged about the number of motherless kids around the world? I get that stay at home moms are offended that working moms think they don’t work hard and working moms are offended that stay at home moms think they’re doing better for their children. I get that some moms advocate for breast feeding while other moms choose formula for valid reasons. In all these situations, these kids have moms who love them and are providing what they believe is best for their financial, nutritional, emotional needs. In light of the fact that there are thousands and thousands of kids WITHOUT mothers, IT DOESN’T FREAKING MATTER. Kristen says it better than me, so please read her post.
So there’s my broken heart this Mother’s Day.
I will be happy today, I promise. I will savor the sloppy wet kisses of my baby girl and hug her a little tighter, endlessly grateful for the blessing she is to my life. I will thank my mom for setting an awesome example for me and for continuing to love, encourage and support me as an adult.
Who knew Mother’s Day could become such a tangled mess of emotion?