Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Mother-less Mother's Day

(Please see this post for Creative Scrappers Reveal)

It's Mother's Day.

A day I celebrate with my own girls.  A day I say a special prayer of thanks for the blessing of having each of them in my lives, and for the young women they are becoming.  A day, in which I thank my husband for choosing to join me in this journey of motherhood.

I haven't loved every moment of mothering, some moments, days, weeks are just hard, and some are even harder than that.  There are times where I worry I'm messing them up by things I've said or done, or choices I've made on their behalf, often wondering if I am "good enough" to be their mother.  In spite of all of that there are so, so many wonderful moments. Moments where I am fiercely proud of them.  When they don't give up, when they show compassion and reflect the person of Jesus in their choices and actions.  Those are the moments that have much more impact on my heart.

Mother's Day, however is also a day where my heart aches amidst the joy and celebration of my own mothering.  I've been motherless for 13 years, the ache has lessened, but is always there, some days more than others.  Some day, I just miss my mom.  She was far from perfect, and we sure had our disagreements, but she was mine, and I was hers.
I grieve for the grandmother she would have been to my girls.  I grieve for the loss my girls have experienced even though they never knew her. My heart aches for the friends we may have become in my adult years, the things she may have taught me, the encouragement and wisdom she may have passed down to me.

Mother's Day.  It's a bittersweet day for me.

Lysa TerKeurst had a wonderful blog post last week, so fitting.  The post gives words to what I fail to. Read on, if you too are celebrating with bittersweet joy today, or if you simply want a glimpse into what today feels like for others like me.

*******************************************************************************Mother’s Day for the Motherless Mother
As Mother’s Day approaches, my heart is especially sensitive to my friends for whom this holiday will be hard. I have friends who will be standing by gravesites this Mother’s Day. I also have friends whose moms haven’t been a part of their lives in many years. And those who have challenging relationships with their moms who try to navigate Mother’s Day with grace but some necessary distance.
No matter the circumstances, I wanted a post that could help those feeling the sting of a mother’s absence.
My friend, Lisa-Jo, knows this delicate struggle in deep ways. And from her own pain, she pens these words for us…
My mom used to dance in the mornings.
A happy, shameless jig in her PJs right out there in the driveway as my dad drove us off to school. She’d dance and wave and grin and I could feel the love well up from my toes to my nose. It spilled out of me – this being someone’s daughter. Loved. Cherished. Celebrated.
She’s been dead now 21 years to the day since I turned 18.
Time passes and with it go the birthdays, love stories, anniversaries, new babies, first steps, preschool orientations, international moves, new jobs, hair color changes. And each milestone is a mile more in the road that we don’t walk together.
I am the motherless daughter.
And three continents and three kids later I have grown up into the motherless mother.
Of two sons. And a daughter.
Everything I can’t remember about my mother I see reflected in my daughter’s eyes. I am terrified by how much I love her. How does a mother bear it? The good-bye. Twenty years. Twenty years. It hurts to type it.
Twenty years ago I sat in a pew and sang the last words my mother left for us:
“Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
‘It is well, it is well, with my soul.’”
One week after I’d turned eighteen. I’m thirty-nine today. And I’m still singing it, Mom. I’m singing it still, and I still believe every hard, awful word to be true. That we can sing though the heavens crash open and the world comes pouring down around us. We can raise our eyes and our voices to the hills, where our help comes from, and sing. Even when all that comes out is a whisper.
“Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
‘It is well, it is well, with my soul.’”
So many of us make the journey to motherhood without a mom. Whether she’s absent because she chose to leave or because she was emotionally unavailable or because she died like mine did, we all have to make sense of what that means for our own mothering.
I am the motherless mother.
If you are too, can I take your hand?
Can I stroke the hair back from your forehead and just be here with you? Can I whisper, “I know” and let you cry if you need to? Can I just sit a while beside you as you shout the hard questions?
I believe God can take it.
I believe He invites it.
…the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. Romans 8:26.
Go ahead and groan child. Let the part of you that never got to grow up with a mom, never got to bear down with her as you bore down in labor, never got to introduce her to your own babies — let that part of you weep if she needs to. You are beautiful and loved and not a single tear falls to the ground uncherished by the Father God who holds us both.
You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
~Psalm 56:8
You are your mother’s daughter, created in your Father God’s image. And nothing can break that.
We’re in this together. Every step of the way. And you are braver than you know, for all the ways you mother.
*****************************************************************************************Happy Mother's Day Friends, in every way the title fits you
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Kathy Skou said...

Beautiful tribute! Your girls are lucky to have you!!! Happy Mother's day & hugs!

Lee-Anne said...

Sherri, this is absolutely beautiful! It makes me tear up. I am very sure that you mother would be extremely proud of you and the wonderful mom that I am sure that you are. Hugs. Xx

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Hugs! Beautiful tribute!! Happy Mama's Day!!!!

Leigh Penner said...

Lovely post, Sherri! Hugs to you!
This is how I feel about Father's Day.... it's bittersweet because my dad died 14 years ago.

Jossie Posie said...

Love the post! I lost my mom at 5 years old. I feel her love everyday and it drives me to be a better mom. Thanks for sharing with us! Hugs!