May 13, 2012

It's Complicated

I find Mother's Day to be a very complicated swirl of emotion kind of day.

Yearly, I find myself at the card aisle hoping to find a card that will say what I want. And always end up picking a card that says PART but certainly can't capture it all.  I mean, how can a cutsey verse or two of prose actually sum up one of the most important relationships that you will be entwined with forever? 

And it also reminds me of something my mother said.  The time had come for her mother to leave her earthly body and she was entrusted with picking out the casket.  Mom relayed to me that she walked around the place in a blur, eventually settling on a box.  But she said very clearly, "There is no box worthy of my mother." 

She went on to tell me that losing her mother was like this:  Ever since you were little, there was this huge oak tree in the backyard. You play under it, climb it, rely on it, enjoy it... then one day, it's just been uprooted and all that is left is this huge hole. 

That's been almost 10 years. 

At the time, I just listened.  Afterall, I have not lost a mother so I don't know.  I also only had two small children at the time and I was so in the thick of being a new mother that the whole concept of "Mother" was a bit daunting. (Who am I kidding ... it still is!)

So to all those missing your mother this year, I am sorry for the hole in your backyard, the hole that will always be there.  I am thinking of you. 

I used to look at mother's day and cry.  Afterall, I'd wanted to be a mother and it eluded us for many years.  Miscarriages.  Failed adoptions. Foster children that came and went.  It was complicated. 

Then I became a mother.  Again and again and again.

Now I think about my mother.  I think about my husband's mother.  These two ladies (friends by the way) are different in strengths and personalities but both share that same mother's heart.  The kind that would lift a semi off one of their kids and grandkids.  Both to be greatly admired. 

I also think about 4 birthmothers and a foster mother every mother's day. 

Mayola ... She birthed Jacob at home and then took him to the hospital to be adopted.  He was struggling to live so she isn't even sure he is still alive.  16 months later, she birthed Kaley and called the paramedics to take her.  She has no clue these two have found each other and are living together.  And I wonder ... does she ever think about them?  Does she know she made a great decision to place them for adoption? 

Cathy ... She birthed Sam and could only keep him for 10 days.  Choices she made prevented her from keeping him. And then 20 months later, she delivered Luke.  She was in jail at the time.  She got to hold him for a few hours and then he was gone.  She knows they are together.  She knows they are with us.  She hasn't seen Sam since he was 10 days old.  Hasn't seen Luke since he was 1.  I wonder what goes on in her mind every Mother's day.

Unknown ... Zoe's mother is somewhere in China.  We don't know her name.  We don't know the circumstances of why Zoe was found the way she was found (in a non-traditional way for Chinese abandonments).  We just know she was meant to be found.  Zoe recently asked about this birthmother and said she is dead.  I think it's her way of coping with the question of, "Why would someone abandon me?  She must be dead."  But I can't help but think of this mother.  She thinks her daughter is dead.  Ironically, she is named "Zoe" which means LIFE. 

Yima ... this is Zoe's foster mother.  At 11 months, this lady took Zoe in.  She loved for her and cared for her like her own.  I've had the chance to meet this woman twice now.  She is amazing.  She still calls herself Zoe's Mama.  I'm OK with that.  We all need all the Mama's we can get in this life. 

Rosa ... this is Manny's birthmother.  She is very, very young.  She kept him for 8 months before placing him for adoption due to health concerns.  She misses him a lot.  How do I know this?  She has contacted the adoption agency and asked if she could meet us and see him.  We have the meeting set up for Tuesday of this week.  I know many of you will be happy for the decision, but most of you will question if this is the right thing.  I'll have to write another blog on how we came to this very difficult decision, but we feel it is the best thing for everyone involved.  So I think of her mostly this year. 

I also reflect on the ladies who desperately want to be a mother but circumstances of life have not worked out that way.  Your arms are "empty" and there are no misspelled cards, sloppy kisses or pitter patter of little feet for you again this year.  There are no words that will comfort you.  I know, nothing comforted me. 

I reflect on those who have lost children.  Even if you still have other children, the loss of a child is so unspeakable that there are just no words.  Time doesn't heal the wound.  And so my prayers are with you. 

I also think about those people who, for whatever reason, are separated from their children.  Time, distance, idealogies, etc.  You want to hold them but you can't.  And as a mother, you feel incomplete because you can't BE THERE for them the way you want to. 

So Mother's day to some is about bad breakfast in bed.  Or cards.  Or flowers.  Or dinner out.  A special day to be recognized.  But to me, it's a very complicated day.   I love the cards and the flowers and not having to cook and being recognized.  I love that I am a mother.  I love that 365 days this is the hardest, most thankless, most impossible job in the world.  And some days I'm even up for the task and feel I do a good job.  But most days, I just struggle from the time they get up until I go to bed. 

Wondering.  Worrying. 

Is it enough?  Am I being a good mother?  Am I raising Godly children? 

And I never know.  Some days, I think it's working.  Other days I feel like I got hit by a tank. 

Another diaper. More dinner.  Dishes. Laundry to fold. Hair to cut.  Boo-boos to kiss. Hearts to mend. Lessons to teach. Praise to give. Displine to administer.  Toys to pick up. Medical decisions to make. 

And one day blurs into the next.  Always wondering if it's enough.  Praying for God to make up the difference (which on some days is 99% or more). 

One day, the rug is pulled out from under your feet and you look around to see if all your proverbial eggs in the nest are still OK.  Sometimes they're not.  And you just pick up and go on best you can. 

And in the middle of the heart wrenching chaos that is our lives some days, you hear a little voice say, "Mama" ... and you put on your proverbial cape and become MAMA again.  That little voice keeps you from spinning out of control on all the thoughts in your head, all the worries, all the doubts.  Because AT THIS MOMENT ... Someone needs me to be Mama. 

So carry on Mamas of the world.  You're doing a great job.  And no, it's not enough, but God WILL make up the difference.  Trust Him. 

He entrusted you with His most precious gifts in the world ... He has faith and confidence in you.  So carry on. 

And if you, like me, have mixed feelings about this day, it's OK... because it's complicated.  And that's OK too.


  1. Hi Beth-
    One of the most moving commentaries on Mother's Day that I have read. Thank you for sharing your heart. Blessings to you, Mama.

  2. It was great getting to meet you and your wonderful family todayas well as being with Rosa and Vicente. It is great to read Manny's story and get a little bit more of the details. God definitely has a purpose and is glorified by his life. Thanks for being such a wonderful Mama to your six blessings.

    Becky Leppard

  3. What a wonderful story of how God has worked to bring your family together. I'm so glad for all of those babies' mamas.