Motherhood comes in all shapes and sizes. It comes in the most unexpected ways to some and never finds its way to others. I can vividly remember the day in January of 2003 when I was living on the campus of University of Houston and had gone to the campus health clinic for an issue and walked away finding out I was going to be a Mom. So many emotions, thoughts, feelings were running through me. While this is not the way I had intended my journey into Motherhood to start, it was what was best for me.
As I learned to navigate the road of being a single Mom and all it entails, days like Mother’s day were often met with a suppressed joy yet profound sadness. It is hard to explain. I was so happy to be a Mom and have a beautiful healthy daughter but it was another reminder I was alone and did not have the “perfect family.” But as God is so wonderful in all His ways He surrounded me with those who loved me, lifted me up and helped my daughter and I to find our way. He proved over and over to me there really is no such thing as a “perfect family.”
Mother’s Day is one of those messy days for many I think. It is a day met with happiness for some, perhaps to those who maybe Motherhood played out according to your plans. Or maybe it’s only a happy day for Hallmark as they reap the financial gains of unrealistic expectations the media has placed on us all.
Does Motherhood for anyone really play out the way we intended it to?
I have seen Mother’s Day bring to surface the hardest emotions one has ever had to face. To the barren woman who longs for her own child. The orphaned child who longs for his / her mother. To the mother who faces a broken relationship with her grown children. To the Grandmother not able to be involved in the lives of her grandchildren. To the newly widowed or divorced Mom who is having to face Mother’s Day alone for the first time. To the child (young & old) who is having to face Mother’s Day for the first time or 100th time without their Mom. To the Mother facing Mother’s Day after the loss of her child. To the new Mom questioning her identity & role. To the Mother caring for her invalid child whom she knows one day far too soon she will layto rest. I could go on and on.
As we move through life we each have a day on the calendar which holds significance for us and is hard to face. I think Mother’s Day takes the cake as our overly commercialized world dictates to us that you are supposed to be Happy today! Celebrate, have no worries. It tells us if you don’t have a Mom who is still alive & loves you, if you didn’t give birth to 2.5 kids and have a husband who buys you chocolate and roses then you really aren’t experiencing Mother’s Day. Such lies I had to learn to ignore. Because even those Moms who get the chocolate & roses, have the 2.5 kids and look like they have it all together, they face battles all of their own.
I had to learn to look to the identity of who I am as mother and daughter that can only come from my heavenly Father above. I had to stop having unrealistic expectations and celebrate the life of a beautiful girl I had birthed into the world. I had to stop asking “Why?” as I have watched my own mother deeply grieve not being able to be involved in the lives of her other grandchildren.
I have learned it’s ok to not want to have to face the world on Mother’s Day. It’s ok to remove the mask of “I have my life all together.” It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to question. It’s ok to grieve the life you wanted or the unexpected twists and turns Motherhood has brought you. It’s called being Human.
I have also learned in my weakness He is made strong.
His ways are not my ways. His thoughts are not my thoughts.
I have learned to count it all Joy as God has given me beauty for ashes. He alone has given me the best life for me.
These simple profound truths have been my guide to navigating the best and worst of days.
Whatever Mother’s Day may be for you, may you find time to reflect on the One who created Motherhood and to celebrate the strong women in our lives who may not all be Mothers but have mothered us all.