Today is a day with different meaning for many people. It is Mother’s Day 2020 and, of course, this year is very different. There will be flowers, cards, candy, gifts, and missing this year will be large gatherings. No restaurants, no cook outs, no normal. What does motherhood really mean and what are we really celebrating and how will we celebrate this year?
Mothers, in most cases, are the glue that binds the family together, but there are many different types of mothers. The first of these is in the traditional sense, one who has her baby and spends her life caring for and nurturing that child until they reach a time they can make their own decisions.
However motherhood is not defined by everything going perfectly according to plan. There is the mother who chooses to adopt children or adoption finds its way to her door. She chooses to be a mom in every sense of the word, to a child that doesn’t have one. Sometimes these children have special needs and she chooses them anyway and becomes a lifeline for these children. How special is she?
Another mom is the often criticized stepmom. Parenting a child in these situations can be challenging even in the best scenario. I have heard many talk about the difficulties of being a stepparent and the emotional roller coaster they ride.
One of the mom’s I want to recognize is the one who, regardless of circumstance, raises a child with health problems, special needs or any physical or mental health challenge. These moms live a life others cannot relate to. Everyday they face challenges and situations the rest of the world isn’t privy to. It may be something as simple as a child brushing their teeth or as complicated as getting them to chemo treatments in hopes of a miracle. Children with mental and emotional health concerns are a unique challenge and sometimes this mother is just hoping her child will make it through the day.
Along these same lines is the mom whose child struggles with addiction. The stories from these moms are stories of undying, unconditional love that is challenged at every possible level. They share stories of families torn apart and sometimes splintered forever while she tries to balance supporting that child and nurturing the others at the same time. To me, it looks like a balancing act on the High Wire at the circus. Any wrong step in any direction and it could be a disaster. These moms should be commended for hanging on tight and continuing to try. Sometimes “tough love” becomes the answer and she is left wondering if she did enough.
Then there is the one who can’t become a mom, no matter what she does. She can’t have a baby for reasons we don’t understand. Some try and try and it just doesn’t happen and some have multiple losses on this same journey. She feels like a mom in her heart, she wants to be a mom, she doesn’t understand. She may be a second mom to nieces and nephews, children of friends, anyone who needs someone to care. She may find solace in her pets and care for them in ways that give her a chance to love and nurture and have purpose. Let’s remember her today.
This brings me to the bereaved mother, who often find this particular holiday to be very painful. She may have lost a child at any age, her only child or all her children. These moms, of course, hold a special place because I am one. There are times they never see their child take a breath and there are times that they sit vigilant while awaiting their last breath. There are those who get many years of life with their child and those that get no time at all. I’ve learned none of that matters because love is what matters and love is what mothering is all about. Its taking a chance on a journey that will come with many ups and downs. Sometimes that journey is short and sometimes the road is bumpy. Sometimes things are good and sometimes they aren’t, but overall the journey is worth it because loving and being loved is worth it.
One of the biggest struggles for bereaved mothers is how to be happy without their child and continue to live a full life with any surviving children. Thus, Mothers Day. I have come to realize, with a ton of work and lots of conversations with surviving siblings, that this makes their life very difficult. They, too, lost their brother or sister and they also lost their parents. Their grief is not like ours. It changes the course of their life forever. One sibling said that his life ended the day his brothers died. I never., ever want my children to feel that way. Some things we can’t help and we can’t always help how we feel. What we can do it try, try to find meaning in our new life and try to find happiness, although not an easy task, it, I believe is worth it.
Today, I am thankful for my two daughters, Amanda and Tiffany. They care for me, they make me laugh, they make me roll my eyes at times and above all, they make me want to be the best version of myself. Yes the road has been bumpy, yes I miss those I’ve lost, yes I will always think about and miss Lindsey, but I vow to try to help them. I never want them to feel like their life with me ended the day their sister died. It has been a journey for sure, but we are strong and we are resilient. My goal is this, when I enter Heaven and I see Lindsey, arms open and smiling, I want her to say “Mom you did good. I’m proud of you”. That means taking good care of myself and her sisters and finding a different way to be happy.
I am happy as I walk the maze today. My most recent loss of my sweet Rick certainly set me back, but he too, would want me to be ok. There are days that aren’t ok, but there are more times that are. I love my family, those in Heaven and those here with me. Aren’t I a lucky girl to have had so much love.? I miss you Mom, the one who taught me how to be a mom. I miss you Rick, the one who traveled this journey with me. I miss you Lindsey, my beautiful and treasured second child. I love you Amanda and Tiffany for being who you are, my girls. ❤️❤️❤️😇😇