Mothers’ Day–Not Always Hallmark Moments!
Last week I was asked to share at church about how I’ve been blessed as a mother (in two minutes). Ha, I knew that was going to be quite a task to keep my talk to only two minutes. First of all, I am a writer and speaker who has A LOT of words to get out on a daily basis. Secondly, how is it possible to share a lifetime of being impacted by motherhood in a mere two minutes? Well, I am happy to report that I delivered a heartfelt message in approximately 3-4 minutes (not bad for an extremely verbal person)!
As I stood in front of the congregation, I shared how every year Mothers’ Day is bittersweet for me. My mom and I had a very strained relationship for many years. In fact, there were periods where we had no communication at all for months on end. I won’t go into too many details right now as to why our relationship was so strained. I can share that her life choices profoundly affected my siblings and my lives (some positive outcomes and many negative consequences). I am incredibly grateful that for the final two years of Mom’s life, we had a restored relationship. I think we both worked through forgiveness and had a better understanding of each other. At age 42, I can whole-heartedly honour and love my mom and appreciate that she’s the mother God chose for me. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it hadn’t been for her. I do miss her and look forward to be reunited with her in eternity.
I am thankful for the adopted moms who have come into my life over the past couple of decades. In my twenties, my “Idaho Mom” entered my life. She shared her heart, her wisdom, her love with me in a way that I didn’t know I needed, hungered, and thirsted for. Even though I moved away from Idaho over 12 years ago, only visit once a year, and hardly pick up the phone, I appreciate that Karen (and Walter) is there for me. We can pick up where we left off. Their home is a refuge for me. I can be myself and breathe!
When I moved to Canada, I didn’t know anyone outside of the family I married into. There was a deep yearning to establish my own community and family. Thanks to my three year old daughter, at the time, asking if she could call our new friends Grandma and Grandpa, I have Canadian parents who are pillars of strength and encouragement in my life. They have extended mentorship, love, support, and are willing to challenge me when they think I might be needing a change in perspective. They are the Mom and Dad I need and want in my life. We are family.
I am grateful my adopted siblings have shared their parents with me and my family. This openness and love does not go unnoticed nor is it taken for granted.
As I continued to share at church, I talked about being a single mom and then blending our families. Yes “blended” families seems like an appropriate term. As those early years felt like we lived in a blender. The process and journey were very difficult and messy and to be completely transparent, I feared that we were going to end up as another failed marriage. Among faith, stubbornness (my refusing to be divorced a second time), and a lot of hard work, we have come out on the other side of the tumultuous years. I boldly pray Proverbs 22:6 over each of our children, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” I am grateful for the relationships I have with my adopted sons and pray for my adopted daughter to restore relationship.
I also touched on the topic of infertility. Even though Randy and I had four children between us, we so desired to have a baby together. Through numerous tests, a surgery, fertility drugs, and many years of “trying,” we had to come to peace that we would not get pregnant. To this day, every time I see a baby, a “twinge” of longing surfaces from deep within my being. You can imagine that supporting my 14 year old daughter as she trains and certifies as a doula, I have to let those “twinges” go…
As I came to a close of my brief time to share, I talked about my Grandma Dot. So often my conversations come full circle returning to the legacy of that mighty woman of God. Grandma Dot lived until she was 105 years old and journeyed to heaven just two years ago. She experienced so much in her life. She overcame many hardships (the Great Depression, years of physical illness, the death of her husband at a young age to name a few), yet she chose to focus on the victories and joy in her life. I knew she was a Christian but didn’t really know what that meant until I was a young adult. She prayed, daily, for her family (and many others). She gave me my first bible when I was nine. Inside she wrote out the verse that I later found out was the one she prayed over me for my entire life, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straights,” Proverbs 3:5 and 6. I am forever grateful for her prayers. I KNOW her prayers have contributed a lot to my life and are in part why I am who am today. Thank you Grandma Dot for never giving up on me!
I have not been the “perfect” mother, by any means. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and often reacted versus responded to whatever crisis or situation presented itself. I have asked for forgiveness as my shortcomings have come to my consciousness. And I know I will make more mistakes as a mother. I can only hope that each of my children (biological, adopted, spiritual) will be willing to overlook my shortcomings and remember that I Love Big and do the best I know how to positively impact their lives. I have followed Grandma Dot’s lead, I PRAY…
I am not sure what Mothers’ Day brings to the surface of your heart and mind. I hope my real reflections help draw you to a place to allow yourself to be honest about your own experiences. Take time to BE, breathe, reflect, and impact others.