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Friday, May 11, 2012

A Different Look At Mother's Day

Mother's Day means so many different things to me.  It is complex and emotional...for so many years it was cards and homemade gifts for my mom.  I can remember making magnets, picture frames, flower pots and coupon books.

Then, Mother's Day 2003 took on a different perspective.  A day that normally is associated with JOY, now was a day associated with LOSS.  That should have been my first Mother's Day, instead it was a day to remind me of what "should have been."  My first baby would have been a month old.  I remember sitting in the back row of church crying listening to the message being preached by the pastor.  And feeling hopeless as the MOTHERS were asked to STAND.  I sat silent in my chair, but wanting to scream!  It was horrible for a "mommy" like me...the "mommy" typically not celebrated on Mother's Day. 

Mother's Day 2004 was really no different than 2003....EXCEPT I was now a "Mommy" that should have had a 1 year old and a 1 month old sitting with me. The seats next to me were empty.  2 losses in 2 years.  PAIN.  Silent pain.  I remained SEATED this year as well.  This was also the first Mother's Day celebrated without with my dad.  He had passed in Nov. 2003. 

2005 was the first time I celebrated Mother's Day.   I was a foster mom at the time, and Luke was just weeks away from being adopted.  It was the first Mother's Day in years that brought me JOY.  I was with my mom and brother (who had recently graduated from Azua Pacific University).  We were at his church in California.  I was HONORED as a Mother that morning...I actually got to STAND up when they acknowledged the mothers.  Then we celebrated at Disneyland where I was given a flower to mark my role as a mom. 

The Mother's Days that have come and gone over the last six years have been filled with both JOY and PAIN, both HAPPINESS and SADNESS, both HOPE and GRIEF. For every Mother's Day I celebrate with Luke and Grace, it means that 2 other mothers do not celebrate the day with Luke and Grace.  You could argue that it is "their loss," or "they don't deserve to," or "they should have tried harder, " the fact is that they gave life to those little people and without them I wouldn't be celebrating Mother's Day.  Every Mother's Day, I take time to honor them.  I send them each a card and thank them for the gift of life.  I remind them how much I love Luke and Grace and what a gift they are to me.  I include a picture of Luke and Grace and take time to pause and remember the connection we all have together, birth mom, child, forever mom.... and how each of us could not exist and complete our roles without the other.

A few years ago, before I had Isabella, I sat through another Mother's Day service in church.  Luke and Grace had been adopted, and I STOOD at the appropriate time...But as I listened to another Mother's Day message, I was upset by the limited view being discussed from the pulpit.  The words still ring in my head today "nursing mother," "mother that gives birth," "mother who supported me from the beginning of life."  I was angered as an ADOPTIVE mother because it made me feel less.  Even though I was a MOTHER, at the time of the preacher's message I hadn't given birth, or nursed or was the first person to hold Luke and Grace.  I didn't see either of them take their first steps, or was there to hear them say their first words.  I was however there night after night when Grace screamed for the first month she lived with us, or have laid with my son in recovery after his heart surgery, sat in counseling, answered questions like "why didn't my birth mother want me?"  or cry because I am so broken hearted about the hand my son was dealt. 

So after that Mother's Day Sunday, I decided that I wouldn't go to church on Mother's Day.  There was too much anger, hurt and anxiety built up around it.  I feel it is important to remember all MOMS.  My mind is drawn to the so many different types of mother's I know and care about....the mother whose children are grown, the mother who is in the midst of the day to day care of her young children, the mother to teenagers, the step mother, the grandmother who is assuming the role of mother for her grandchildren, the mother of a rebellious child, the adoptive mother, the mother that has lost her baby or young child, the mother who has miscarried, the mother who has given her child up for adoption, the mother who walked away, the mother that has aborted her baby, the mother whose children are in foster care, the foster mother, and one I know so well...the barren woman (who wants so desperately to be a mommy). I am sure there are many more mothers that I have failed to mention.  Each MOTHER carrying a wide array of emotions, hurts, joys, failures, grief, hope, worry, etc. 

I decided instead to embrace the little people that call me "mommy" on a day to day basis, to honor my mom who gave me life, and to reach out to the birth moms in my life that share that role as mom.

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