Mother’s Day isn’t a big day in our home. As the children get older, they tend to do a little something special for me but I don’t generally get breakfast in bed, fancy gifts, or dinner out. I’m okay with that. Being with my family and remembering how far I’ve come is enough for me. A kiss from one, a drawing from another, and getting to hold someone’s favorite toy for the day is special. They’ll let me pick a movie. Mom’s Night Out has become a family favorite. I always laugh and cry my way through it.
As the years go by, I see more of my friends struggle with losing their mother. Mourning is especially difficult during holidays like this.
Motherhood was very difficult for me in the beginning. I had no clue what I was doing and few examples to go on.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved my mother, but I only met her after I was eight years old and our relationship was never the typical mother/daughter thing. She was like a teenager all of her life and we never could relate to each other. The only time we really clicked was when we were working with horses. We were so very different. Sometimes though, I see a lot of similarities. I not only look a lot like her, I also have a lot of her mannerisms. It’s fun sometimes. It has also been hard. There was never the perfect mother’s day card. Nothing really seemed to fit. Sometimes when I would call her for a special day, she would be put out or put upon, like it was a hassle. I tried to include her in our family and keep her up with our children’s growth, but would usually come away feeling like I had just waisted her time. I know a lot of that was her own feelings of guilt. Drugs, alcohol, and men were her priorities, whether chosen or by default. She lead a hard life. She never felt accepted by me. On the contrary though, I did accept her as she was through all the ups and downs. I was also very proud of her. She could sew anything from a whole 1800’s Cherokee Strip riding habit for the Centennial Land Run to saddle repairs. She drove heavy equipment and semi-trucks. She could level an oil location with a road grater by eye, without a transit within a 1/2 inch. She could break the wildest colts to be the gentlest riding ponies that would do absolutely anything for her. She was awesome. She just didn’t know how to be a mom and never got the hang of it. I didn’t fault her. I really didn’t expect it of her. Throughout junior high and high school, my mother was the “cool mom”. All the other girls would say how they hated their mothers because of this or that, then they’d look at me expectantly and I’d say, “My mom is cool.” She was. She had a snoopy tatoo on her wrist, striking blue eyes, and long golden brown hair. She was tall and gorgeous and made all the guys turn their heads when she walked by. I was proud she was my mother.
My grandmothers were all lovely women as well. Two are still with us and are still beautiful, amazing women. I gleaned valuable insight from each one to apply to my life as a mother, but it was like trying to piece a puzzle together. They were all so very, very different from each other.
In retrospect, I realize this puzzle has been instrumental in my successes. I’ll count my failures as my very own. Thankfully I had the Lord’s help, by my request (actually by my insistence) from the beginning. I praise Him for letting me have my mother-in-law for those first few years.
When Paul’s mother passed away, I don’t think anyone realized how devastated I was. One dear friend even railed on me about not honoring her memory properly. I had no clue what I was doing. Paul and his dad were very, very busy with work and hardly took time to mourn her loss. I did the best I could to keep up with two toddlers and learning the bookkeeping for their family business along the way. On top of that, I had been saddled with teaching Wednesday evening Children’s Church and had no idea what I was doing. I was beyond overwhelmed and no longer had a mother's help.
Thankfully God provided me with a friend who was a committed wife and mother. She encouraged me through the beginnings of breastfeeding. She came over before church and helped me pin on my first cloth diaper. She helped me sew adorable outfits for my little ones and myself. She encouraged healthy, homemade meals, sharing recipes with me. She wasn’t afraid to admonish me when she saw me do something wrong. She gave me permission to not take any of her advise. She’ll probably never know how much help she was. Once our children got to school age, we parted ways. We decided to homeschool and she vehemently disagreed. I'm still super grateful for her help.
I praise the Lord for directing the right people at the right times to guide me through learning to be a mother. Each woman mentioned and several others through the years have influenced me in various ways. Like I said, I’ll own the mistakes I’ve made as completely mine. I’m admittedly impatient, overly independent, and proud. Through the years and many a trial I’ve softened, as most of us do. Our children have turned out to be responsible citizens and each have a personal relationship the Lord. I couldn't ask for more.
Mother’s Day can be hard for a lot of us. As we lose the important women in our lives or get overwhelmed with the challenges we face as mothers ourselves, the day can be difficult. As mother’s day approaches, rather than focus on myself, I contemplate all the mothers who have had an influence in the raising of our amazing children. Yes, I miss the ones who are no longer here. Yes, I often feel like a failure as a mother, overwhelmed with the struggles I face. Yes, I may have to clean up a mess if my children decide to fix me a special mother’s day meal. That’s all okay. The day doesn’t have to be perfect.
Take time to look at your blessings and thank the Lord for the opportunity. In spite of our failures and weaknesses, He can accomplish miracles.
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10