Over the past many years, Mother's Day has previously been an incredibly difficult and complicated day for me for the simple reason that I was not a mother myself...yet I was blessed with a wonderful mother and mother to my husband, wonderful grandmothers, as well as many amazing friends who were mothers. It's not that I didn't appreciate the day itself or those it honored, it's that in the past this day brought up the stark reality of my then painful situation and lonely sadness.
One of the hardest and most memorable was 3 years ago. It was one of the worst years emotionally for me where I rarely went more than a few days without crying in between. I came home emotionally exhausted from working at the winery on Mother's Day (having a million people ask me if I was a mother yet or planned to have children) to find that Derek had arranged a surprise "Mother's Day Sucks" party for me! It was one of the sweetest things he's ever done. He decorated the entire back yard with balloons, flowers, streamers, and chocolate covered strawberries. My favorite was that on each mylar ballon that said "Happy Mother's Day!" he wrote in black sharpie underneath "sucks." In that moment I connected with my husband in a way that I couldn't have if I hadn't experienced the terrible hurt of infertility. To see that he understood my pain and acknowledged it while also putting such a thoughtful and humorous spin on it was a turning point for me in healing and in not feeling completely alone in my situation. As crazy or weird as it may sound, it was exactly what I needed and somehow made me feel better in the midst of a terribly painful and lonely time.
This Mother's Day, however, marks the first one that I have not dreaded in as long as I can remember. To say I have been healed and changed is an understatement and I am so incredibly thankful. I have so many reasons to be thankful for and especially for all the children I do have in my life. My sweet goddaughters whose mom, Tif, so sweetly sent me Mother's Day flowers that are filling my whole house with such a beautiful fragrance right now. It's a reminder of the love that I get to share with so many amazing children and that I do get to experience moments of motherhood through my friends and family and all their children. It's such a blessing to me now that I get to have a different perspective and love on them in ways that I wouldn't be able to if I were taking care of my own. It's a beautiful thing and only made possible by God. I'm so thankful. I'm thankful that this is who God made me to be and I wouldn't be without having gone through infertility or experiencing all those painful Mother's Days.
However, I know that this day still causes much pain for many people. Whether it is waiting to have a child of their own, mourning the loss of a child or children, or missing their mother - Mother's Day can be an extremely difficult and heart wrenching day. Having a very close friend who just lost her baby and will mourn this day, I feel an empathetic sadness about this day for her. I feel for her, I hurt for her, I dread this day for her...and I pray that it will pass quickly for her and that she will not have to endure another Mother's Day like this. As easy as it is to remember all the mother's in our lives, I want to make a conscious effort to remember all those who find this day difficult instead of filled with joy. There have been so many people in my life that reached out to me on Mother's Day and the days leading up to it to check in on me and I can't express how thankful I was for that. How just being acknowledged meant the world to me and that I wasn't forgotten just because I didn't have a baby bouncing on my lap. Let's make it a point to reach out to those who may be finding this day difficult. It may be uncomfortable and you don't know what to say and that's ok. Just tell them you love them. You're praying for them. You're thinking about them. Just let them know they are not forgotten on this day.
This Mother's Day I am truly thankful. I'm thankful that I have a wonderful mother. I'm thankful for my mother in law and the amazing man she created. I'm thankful that I have many friends and family members that are mothers. I'm thankful for all the amazing children in my life because of those mothers. I'm thankful for the future children who will be in my life because of those mothers and other mothers I may have yet to even meet. All I know is that God didn't leave me out of Mother's Day, He just had a different role for me in it. It's a beautiful day and I'm so thankful to be included in the lives of those who are. And to those who aren't able to find this day beautiful yet...just wait, you will. It may not be how you envisioned, but someday the pain will subside and you too will feel joy again.
"God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain..." -Revelation 21:4