Sunday, May 10, 2015
Wednesday night I was at church and I knew the dreaded Mother's Day recognition was coming. It really has not bothered me too terribly much until this year where it feels like cement on my lungs. I was sitting next to two of our Dream Campaign girls who have started coming to church with us and the entire service had been about women in honor of Mother's Day. "All of the Mother's here please stand, " exclaimed the pastor and I felt myself inhale a deep breath. The little girl next to me pinched my arm as if to say, "go ahead...you have permission." I couldn't do it. My eyes filled with tears. I didn't want anyone to notice me or try to comfort me. I wanted to become invisible for a few moments. The pastor then went on to ask us to gather around one of the women standing and put our hand on them because we were going to pray over them. I turned to the lady next to me and put my hand on her shoulder while holding a kleenex in my other hand to wipe my tears.
That's when I felt a hand on MY shoulder and voice that whispered in my ear, "You. Are. A. Mom. You have two daughters (my Dream Campaign girls) with you here tonight and you have just as much of a right to stand with these other women." It was another pastor who knew my story. He had seen me. I felt my shoulders begin to shake. He had hit that nerve that was so sensitive and spoken the words that at times are a soothing balm and others times feel like a pat answer of comfort. Thankfully in that moment, for me, it was the balm. I needed to be seen and recognized as a title my heart longed for deeply.
I spent a lot of time doing things this week for a former student who is like a daughter to me. She lives in Atlanta and I spent countless hours making sure she could attend her Junior Prom and had everything to make it special. To be honest, all of the kids we work with are like kids to me. In many ways and at many times I feed them, clothe them, counsel them, hug them, wipe their tears, cheer at their games, talk with their teachers, speak truth when they need it.....etc. The hardest part at the end of the day is knowing that no matter "what" I do and no matter how much I love them.....I'm not their mom. I'm not getting phone calls or cards today. I think there should be a "Like a Mom" Day for those of us who do a lot of the work but don't feel like we have a place among the Mothers.
Maybe you are the woman who so deeply longs to have a child of your own. You've wrestled with God on the subject and you wonder why it is that He has crafted you in such a way to have a Mother's heart and desire only to be met with disappoint month after month with the single stripe on the pregnancy test. You have daydreamed about the ways you could announce the news to your husband or family and secretly wish you could be buying up all the baby clothes but won't let yourself do it. (Or maybe you already have.) I see you.
Maybe you are the woman who has gone through miscarriages and you feel like something is wrong with you. You feel like this day is a sick joke when your heart has felt love and loss as a mom without even having the opportunity to hold your child. You look around today and feel like you can't breathe because that's supposed to be you standing among those women. You may continue to try or you may have given up. There is nothing wrong with you. I see you.
Maybe you are the step-mom to children but have not birthed any on your own. Today feels bitter sweet. You are thankful to have children in your life and as much as you do and as much as you love there may be that deep part inside of you that wishes you could have experienced that same thing with your husband. You feel like you've missed out on an important experience but you'll never say it out loud. I see you.
Motherhood is a beautiful thing. I think we can all appreciate that today, after all...we all had them.
I just think that when you celebrate something like Motherhood, there has to be the realization that there are those women out there who long for and yet struggle with not being able to own that title. As much of a mother figure as I am to some kids who may not have that, I don't feel like I have a place among them. Maybe I'll feel differently next year but for this year when someone tells me that I AM a Mom....I'm trying to graciously accept that and be thankful that they see that in me.
So to anyone who is feeling lost and unseen. I see you. I feel with you and in case no one else has told you yet, it's ok to feel this day in whatever way you need to. I pray we can all celebrate our mom's or celebrate the other mother's in our lives because they are to be celebrated and I do not want to minimize that AT ALL. However, if your find our eyes brimming with tears today or feel that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that lingers in desire or loss....that can be a holy moment just as much as anything else. Cry your tears. Ask to be held. Pour out your heart to a God that I believe sees and hears and weeps with us. You are allowed to feel however you may feel.
And when you are done for today, you do the thing that you know would make you the best Mom in the world. You get up and you keep going. The world needs you. The world needs me. The world needs us to love with our momma hearts in our momma ways because it's WHO WE ARE and no title or day can change that or minimize it.
It is Devastating Beauty. It is to be a woman. It is to love and feel in a way that only we know we can.
It is good.
YOU are good.