It’s the day before Mother’s Day and the celebrations have already begun in our house. That’s me, so expressively and accurately drawn in sidewalk chalk. And the selfie? That’s after they returned from shopping with Daddy and needed some welcome home snuggles.
Aren’t they precious?
I love all the effort they are putting in to celebrating me but, honestly, I don’t just love Mother’s Day. Or the day before or the week before. In fact, the entirety of Mother’s Day season, beginning immediately following Easter season, kinda bugs me.
And I haven’t really been able to put my finger on the why behind that.
I mean, sure, there’s likely a holdover from the years of infertility. That I get.
But it felt and feels like more than just that.
Then Anne Lamont posted something about why she and her son never celebrated Mother’s Day. My dear infertile sister sent it to me.
And I cried reading it.
Ah. There it is.
Do you know when I first felt that all-consuming, unconditional, oddly-uncontrollable love for a child?
The moment my brother called to tell me, my nephew, Noah had arrived.
That exact second.
I have never been able to fully describe it but it felt something like I MUST HOLD HIM NOW. I was in Texas and he was in Alabama and every cell in my body wanted to run straight to him.
You know what? That was before I was a mom. Before I had children of my own. In fact, it was smack in the middle of the darkest days of infertility for me.
No one needs to have their own child to know the kind of unconditional love we feel for a child. A niece, your foster kid, your best friend’s adopted daughter, the neighbor’s kid who helps you work in your garden.
Love can take hold, a strong unbreakable hold, without biology.
And those bonds deserve celebrating.
I am incredibly grateful for my children. There are not enough words to express how grateful I am to be their momma. And how awed I am God would trust them to me.
But do you know when God taught me how to be grateful?
When I didn’t have them.
And, I’m ashamed to admit, I was probably more grateful before my kids arrived. It’s not that I take them for granted but when you have a thing, it is kinda easy to get used to having that thing. At least sometimes. But before they came, I was grateful for just about every single detail of my life.
Gratitude is powerful and possible and potent without children.
Mothering feels a lot like never quite getting a day right. Like I can try and try and try and still, I say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing or don’t do the right thing. There’s so much gray. No one parenting expert or blogger or other mothers can ever really tell you how to mother to your own children. God has to fill in the margins because I can not do it alone.
But do you know when I realized I could do nothing on my own?
Oh, college. When I figured out the amount of knowledge to obtain was too vast for a human being to ever grasp. Or at my first job, when my college degree in English had given me largely zero in the marketable skills department. Or three jobs later, when I finally found my dream job only to face the fact I couldn’t actually do that job and be married or have friends or, well, do anything other than WORK.
Truth is, I felt more like I was drowning every.single.day in my career than I have as a mother. Not that taking care of an infant and toddler isn’t enough to make you feel like just a walk alone to the mailbox is “self-care.” But the responsibility of a team of people? Or making sure an executive has all their needs met? Or how about an entire private jet full of executives? The toddler and newborn ARE FINE.
Motherhood is a noble calling. Holy, even. But it’s not the only calling.
It doesn’t teach you things you can’t learn in other areas or in a different calling. Perhaps we pay attention more as mothers but that might just be because we missed learning a whole slew of stuff before we became mothers.
This day, let’s celebrate all women, in all of their callings.
Women loving unconditionally.
Women living gratefully.
Women daily realizing they need Christ to fill in the gaps where the needs of those around them outmatch their ability to meet them.
If you are one of those women, loving, grateful, dying to self to let Christ shine, then, friend, I owe you a bouquet of flowers, or a nice dinner out, or a massage. Whatever makes you feel appreciated and needed and seen.
Because you are appreciated, needed, and seen.
Thank you, friend, for being exactly who you are in the exact calling God has placed on your life.