Tomorrow is Mother’s Day.
I’ve been churning it over for a week now, trying to decipher what feelings bubble up in my chest when I think about this day.
I go tuck in each of the five children I call “mine,” pausing over each sleepy face.
I’m not his real mother…and I am so frightfully out of control of his future, even though he looks up at me trustingly with those beautiful blue eyes. I stroke his cheek and smile down at him as he says, “Goodnight, Mommy.” My heart constricts with pain and anxiety as I think about the unknowns rising like a mountain before us. He won’t be seeing his mother tomorrow or likely for a very long time. I hold that truth painfully in my chest as I creep softly from his room.
In my littlest boys’ room, I go to each little toddler bed. My baby has fallen into an exhausted sleep after our busy day and I’ve missed catching him awake. I wonder how many more things I missed today…it feels like there’s just never enough of me to stretch around. This child that I carried and birthed; I want to give him the sun and moon and all the realms beyond but all I can muster up is me, which never feels like enough. I struggle with guilt, wondering at the life I’ve given him even while I watch him laugh and play with his brothers.
The child who will soon be legally mine sighs and reaches for me as I come close. He’s my “hand full and heart full” and we struggled to stay afloat today. I press my cheek against his for an extra second, squeezing my eyes shut and praying God can somehow redeem the brokenness of his life, the feeble attempts that are mine and the friction between us. He gives the tightest squeeze and then pushes me away to grab for his comfort blankie. I would give my life for him, but my patience seems to hard to muster sometimes.
I tip toe downstairs to find my girls who have been scurrying from yard to house to barn all evening with excited grins and warnings not to look. My heart swells under their unconditional love. I soak in their hugs and draw strength from their steady affection. They don’t know how much I rely on them and how many times I pour out gratitude for getting to be their mother. They are growing so fast, and I love watching them flourish. We sent flowers to their first mom today, and chatted on the phone. We all miss her, and I wish we could be together tomorrow. It feels incomplete, somehow.
I sit down and stare at the screen, the house falling into silence around me.
Mothering has been so much more joyful and so much more painful than I ever imagined.
It has filled me with courage and strength and it has crushed me in defeat.
I have cheered on the sidelines, filled with pride and I have fallen on my face sobbing under the weight of it all.
More than anything, I have learned that no matter how my children may come to me, they are not really mine at all.
I keep running face first into the harsh reality that I have very little control over my children’s lives.
I am not enough, and I never will be.
The truth is, it is my own sanctification at work so many times in the hard, the pain, the messy of it all.
It’s humbling to realize that I’m not the teacher, He is. And he uses them; their disobedience, trauma, anxiety, carelessness, chaos, lies. To create in me a new heart, a new spirit, a breathing, living reflection of Himself.
But oh the texture and soul that these small humans bring to my life. How the Father has shown me His love for me through their lives. How He has grown in me a love so beyond my own capacity.
So what do I feel when I think about Mother’s Day?
I feel hopeful…that He who started something new will be faithful to complete and establish it.
I feel grateful…to be surrounded by my little tribe of witnesses who run this race at my side and offer life giving sustenance to my weary bones.
I feel honoured…to be chosen to love for a season or a lifetime; to invest in this next generation in the small ways I can and then to be a witness of the incredible ways He multiplies those feeble offerings.
I think sometimes I have made motherhood my idol, but God continues to bring me back again and again to the Truth of it all. How small I am, how great He is, and how much He delights in this beautiful, daily, messy sanctification.
I would do this all over again.