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mother’s day : the mothers we have

happy mother’s day!

a day to celebrate the woman who brought us life.  the women who continue to bring us life.  the ones who breathe into our spirit a part of herself.  form us.  physically, spiritually, emotionally.  mothers take many shapes.  come by different paths.  whether by thought, deed, kindness, closeness, or the the act of carrying us in her womb.  raising.  pouring into, nurturing, caring.  sleepless nights, endless days, covered in spit-up, spattered with excrement, stained by sticky, greasy fingerprints.  carpool lines and carpool lanes.  weeknight practices, weekend games.  referees and punching bag.  counselor and endless nag.  heartache and heart break.  a mother.  a giver.  a sacrificer.

being a mother is a sacred journey, not for the faint of heart.  a cobblestone path marred by ruts and hollows to stumble and fall.  fear, resentment, expectation.  bitterness, insecurity and comparison.  could’ve been better.  i wish i would’ve.  i cannot do this.  it’s just too hard.  not only for those blessed to bear children.  many more than those are mothers, who know the struggle in the daily living of loving.  raising a child.  guiding a teenager.  shepherding through adulthood.  sacrificing self.  showing up.  every single day.  for the rest of your life.

mothers: what you do matters.  the little things, the tiny things, the ones never seen.  they matter far more than you will know in this lifetime.  because the things done behind the scenes; the love behind every packed lunch, love note, playdate, birthday surprise, backyard picnic and neighborhood bonfire are the unknowable blessings of a legacy in motion.  the roots of a life that go deep into the soil of our soul and penetrate a heart.  influence of lifetime.  inspire a generation and carry on to the next.  you.  remarkable you.  giver of life and legacy.  mother.  beautiful mother, we honor you.

yet there is a silent group for whom mother’s day is very hard.  neighbors, co-workers, friends, or family members with a shared secret: that mother’s day is a painful, difficult day.  strained.  perhaps your mother passed away.  passed on.  moved on.  is absent.  ungiving.  or simply represents a wound in your soul.  perhaps she gave you away.  made the ultimate sacrifice.  or maybe she never learned how to love herself, and struggles with how to love her daughter well.  it could be that she simply isn’t here anymore.  and a gaping hole is left in your heart.  or possibly you long to be a mother and that dream hasn’t worked out.  yet.  or you’re a mother who has lost a child.  and mother’s day reminds you of all that is gone.

many find mothers on a different path.  the one who comes up beside when life gets us sideways.  when we’re weary or heavy hearted.  who gift us their wisdom.  bestow on us beauty, love, grace and sweet, tender mercies.  who listen in our time of need.  who help carry our burden and lift our spirit.  this is the true work of mothering.  the day in, day out loving.

and though mother’s day is difficult for many, it is also a day of incredible joy.  a needed occasion to celebrate mothers and all that they do for all of us.  because each of us is a beneficiary of a mother.  our own or someone else’s; the precious mother figure at church, work, the soccer game, or the God-designed/chance encounter.  we are blessed by the community of mothers who love us well.  and teach us by their sacrifice.  their willingness to yield to the child, the soul, the need, the time.  whenever, wherever, whatever.

in thinking how to celebrate your mother this mother’s day, try to set aside hurts or unfulfilled expectations.  focus on the good.  the unseen sacrifices you will never know.  know she has done the very best she could.  loved.  the best way she knows how.  as a mother i am aware every day of my failure.  my shortcoming and selfishness.  where i wish i could’ve done things better.  i desire to extend the grace to my own mother that i hope my children will extend to me one day.  because we don’t live perfectly.  not even for a single day.

mother’s day may not always be easy.  but it is good.  a day for honoring the best in each of us.  thank you mothers, for all that you are and all that you do.  for all of us.  a community of mothers raising each other in love.  we honor you.

this is my mother and i on my wedding day.  she isn’t perfect and neither am i.  but isn’t she beautiful?

mother daughter

happy mother’s day beautiful you!


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