Mother’s Day seems to mount in both its meaning and sentiment the older I get. The more I get to know my mom, the woman, rather than simply as my mother, the more I am deeply grateful and incredibly impressed at what she has both sacrificed and experienced.
As a kid our worlds are small and singular. We intake life experiences as truth and they mark us even if we are making a part of the story the whole truth. The older we get the more we realize the moments we experienced encompassed more details, facets, and components than we had first assumed. But by then we’ve lived decades with false truths as foundational parts of us.
There is a lot more to a mom than her role and the moments we remember.
In fact, while I have known mine as mom for 31 years, she lived a few decades without me first. That’s a lot of life and friends and victories and disappointments and joy and heartache. The more I learn about her, it makes me wonder how she made through all her days.
Like when her dad died suddenly? Ugh. Did her friends stick close by her?
When she longed for a baby for years and all her friends were popping them out, did they understand? There was no facebook telling people to be considerate. Did she silently handle her longing or did people really know?
When my oldest brother flipped our worlds upside down and his disabilities took over and rewrote our story in a moment…how did she cope with losing the family she had dreamed of while taking of the new one she found herself in. Children with special needs change things (I’m allowed to say that, btw)
When she had to say no to what she wanted to do with or for us to do what she had to do…HOW DID SHE NOT LOSE IT. Y’all I would have lost it.
The last few years has been a real unravelling and rebuilding for our family as we’ve conquered mountains and valleys that have made us better and worse and have revealed the things we just let evolve. We’ve become both stronger and softer. But this year a real shift has taken place in our family and a new sense of honesty and communication has entered our world.
We put it all on the table. The kitchen table to exact. Technically, we’re still putting stuff on the table. One by one though we’re unravelling how these people we call family have impacted us. We all share a sense of responsibility for our role or lack there of in seasons. We’re not where we want to be, but we’re learning to not be afraid of where we are. But putting things on the table is messy and hard and saying “This season made me feel like this” is not comfortable.
Leading up to Mother’s Day I have thought a lot about my mom, the woman. She’s spunky and sassy. She wears her emotions on her sleeve and she is so expressive. She is passionate and fun and not concerned with what people think. She is fierce and loving and hasn’t ever met a stranger. She is beautiful and kind and takes instant notice to those who are alone, lost, or in need of home. She loves music and dancing. She didn’t finish college or build big businesses, she didn’t preach at church, and didn’t even get to make all our kid functions. She did her best at juggling four kids and one with special needs that took us on the longest, hardest decade long journey of our dreams we didn’t want to dream. She pushed through giving up and stuck in after long days, long nights, and no end in sight. She loved others when I feel certain she was in seasons of not feeling deeply loved. And she’s still here placing value on her own person, making herself and her health a priority, dreaming new kinds of dreams for seasons of life that have been tucked away in her heart, and learning to embrace the roller coaster her kids still keep her on (sorry about that one – your fav season is coming, I promise!).
My mom is most definitely a gift in my life. I was the answer to her deepest cry and prayer for many years and while I know I met the deepest longing in her heart on an April afternoon, I’m so thankful she didn’t get me when she first wanted me. I’m also thankful she waited well. Her stories of how she waited has painted pictures in my own heart for how to wait and why waiting for the longing of our heart is both 1) ok & 2) divine.
But of all I could be thankful for about her this Mother’s Day, I am most thankful she wasn’t perfect and her humanity is something I could share with her the last three decades. I’m glad her blend of good and bad days and the beautiful and tragic seasons of life taught me I’d face our own mountains one day. I’d survive them because life keeps living no matter how you feel, but you do get to choose how you keep living. I could be sure of it.
I can’t always be gracious. There will be a day the people in my life make me want to lose MY EVER LOVING MIND. There are days I am not so sure I want what I longed for because everybody disappoints us. There are days other people’s simpler, richer, fuller or more vacation filled lives seems like the answer to my own hearts desires or problems. My momma lived those days out with us too.
But I can still keep living and loving my world. There are days when I get it all wrong but it’s ok because tomorrow morning will come no matter what. I think she had that poster on our wall once…I love that puts posters on walls. I would never 😂
There are a lot of different days we will live and while we are responsible for the choices we make, how we love others and the impact we leave – we will still mess up, wound those we don’t want to wound, and disappoint those we love deepest. Our intentions, no matter how pure, are still not enough to right what the other person experienced. But my momma taught me there is enough grace in the oceans to cover our messes.
Might seem like an odd thing to be thankful for, but I feel so much more prepared to fully experience all the things in life knowing my momma has and she is more beautiful and strong today than I have ever seen her. To love MY wild and crazy story and all the surprise details that keep filling up the pages of my book so differently than I dreamed. You can always dream new dreams. Seriously that was another poster.
She has a quote on the wall at her house that is so powerful –
“She couldn’t go back and make the details pretty, she could only move forward and make the whole beautiful.” ~ Terri St. Cloud
Momma, You have taught and modeled a lot of things to me. But none have I treasured more than the gift of knowing it is not being a perfect wife or mother or friend that will leave impact – it’s staying in the game, fighting for those you love, extending grace when you want to put a boundary up, and being will to own the mistakes of your past despite what your intentions were. I’ve always said I don’t know if I can be as good of a mom as you are, but truth is, you weren’t perfect because you didn’t need to be perfect to be the best mom ever. So I think I’m going to be a great one too and some days I’ll ask for the grace that fills the oceans and other days I’ll pour it out on those I love so deeply.
Thank you for 31 beautiful years of life! I have truly treasured the good and hard and wouldn’t change one hard or tragic season for a different life experience or family. I wouldn’t rewrite or want the perfect to replace the real. It was the deepest valleys we have all walked that showed me Jesus and positioned me for a heaven – to – earth life experience and it’s ok to love the ordinary as much as the wild.
If I could line up all the mom’s in the world, I’d pick you every time.
Happy Mother’s Day to my Momma, friend and favorite dance partner! You are the best I could have ever received.