A few years ago, I used to think of Mother's Day as a day to celebrate my own mother. I did not really think about the other mother's surrounding me or the ones that influenced and shaped me. It came and went and that was all there was to it.
Then we started trying to have children and this day that once was a short celebration became a dreaded event. The days leading up to Mother's Day were heart wrenching. The actual day I mourned ever so deeply because I was passed over and forgotten, even though I desperately wanted to be called a mom. We even skipped church one Sunday because I was crying and could not handle going inside, the pain engulfing my soul too much to bear.
A few years later I became a parent, literally overnight, and began to see this celebratory event of sorts completely different. I smiled and I cried. I embraced the title of 'mom' and yet still hurt as I thought about what brought me to this day. My pain, and another mom's pain. My joy, and my heartache.
You see, suddenly a day that I thought was meant for one thing took a turn I never predicted. Now, this day held an abundance of various emotions and it took me a few years to begin to understand how to handle it all.
I became a mom by adopting a man-child 17 year old. I didn't get to birth him or rock him to sleep. I wasn't there for his first steps, first day of school or to save him from the horrible tragic things he has endured in his life. He called someone else 'mom' before me and it was not either of their choices to end that relationship. So the first couple of Mother's Day celebrations for me were incredibly hard when all I wanted was to be honored and yet it seemed to be so painful for him. Was I not a good mom? What did I do wrong?
But it wasn't about me. I'm not the only mom in his life. I'm his forever mom, but not his first. This day brings up memories, both good and heart wrenching for him. And to make it solely about me was just wrong. Wrong for me to expect that and wrong for me to think that was even okay.
You see, no matter how much heartache he might have experienced with his birth mom, there is good in every single person because we are all made in the image of God. She was a good cook. She was an incredible artist. She passed a lot of her greatness on to him and it shaped him into the person he is today. She loved him the best she knew how and gave him life. His birth mom is to be honored and cherished, especially around Mother's Day.
Two and a half years ago, a birth mom picked us to parent the son she was carrying and he came into this world less than 24 hours later. We sat in a hospital room and got to talk with her about her decision, what motherhood meant to her, and why she was picking me to be his mom.
The next day, as I sat holding the son we shared, she walked into the nursery and said her final goodbye. The emotions that filled that room could have knocked walls down and yet you could have heard a pin drop. The heartache she must have felt as she turned around for the last time. The fear I had since he wasn't legally ours yet. The love we both intensely felt for this little baby I held in my arms. Before she turned, our eyes locked, her's telling me her love for him would never end and mine telling her I promised to love him forever for her.
It is love, though, that always wins out.
The love I hold for my two sons is the same love their birth moms feel. We share a desire for them to succeed in life, to grow up and become great men and fathers. There is a bond between myself and them unlike no other. And when we adopt again, I will embrace another birth mom into my life and celebrate the love we all hold so deeply for our children.
The Saturday before Mother's Day has become the day our family celebrates birth moms. We talk about good memories and the love they have for their children. Our older shares stories and we share stories with our youngest. I am grateful for these strong women and hurt for what they must feel each Mother's Day.
One day I hope we will all sit in heaven around a table, sharing about the love that bonds us together. This might not be how God intended families to be created, but in our sin-filled and heartbreaking world, He is a God of redemption. And that has become my life song both as a mother and as a child of God. My redeeming Savior has shown me that He indeed causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for Him.
My purpose is to love.
Love my family.
And love other mothers...
- - -
On this Mother's Day, I celebrate all of you.
To those that desperately want to become a mom and can't,
my heart breaks for you.
To those that have lost a child before they took a breath,
I grieve hand in hand with you.
To those that are "temporary moms" and foster children,
I applaud the way you allow your heart to swell over and over again
with new children and birth families alike.
To those that made a choice to have someone else raise their child,
along with those that had children taken from them,
I mourn with you for the pain you must feel on Mother's Day,
birthdays, and every day in between.
And for those that share a Mother's Day with someone else,
I honor the way you allow your heart to be stretched.
I wish I could embrace you and silently share that
"I understand and you are doing an amazing job handling it all" look.
So instead of saying "Happy Mother's Day", I have changed it to "Mother's Celebration Day". For every single one of you are to be celebrated, cherished and loved.