Mother's Day will be here in a few days--for some it is a day to count their blessings as they look at the miracle of their children and it brings joy...others, it brings sorrow as they wait to be held by the arms of their mother again or are waiting for their arms to be filled with a sweet bundle. I have been on both sides of this coin and wanted to take a moment to encourage each. You are all a treasure and sometimes, we just need reminding.
to the mother with small children,
Oh sweet mama, I promise you will sleep again...maybe...well, sometimes. Did you ever think it possible that your precious little one looking up at you with the utmost deep well of newborn baby eyes would also send a tidal wave through your life? But as Jenn said the other day in Riding The Waves Of Motherhood, this time is so short and when our kids spill their second cup of juice at breakfast time, we have to choose do we go under in the current or just hop in the boat and go along with the tide.
Everyone says don't blink and it's so true. My twins are three and it feels like yesterday I was pulling all the tricks to hold and feed two babies while putting a puzzle together with my toddler at the same time. I don't know how we do it sometimes as moms, but we just do. Your cape may be invisible, but believe me, you are a superhero. You know what each cry means, you know the profound magic in kissing a boo boo, and you know how to hold them just the right way they like to feel safe.
So, as you clean out the Cheerio crumbs from your purse and may have tees stained with spit up, remember to get back to the basics of just loving them. Instead of looking at all the things you feel you may not be doing right, give yourself grace--your kids are happy, healthy and love you, that is enough. You are enough. The amount of laundry you tackle does not measure you as a mom, the number of veggie servings your kids consume does not equate to the best mom badge. Loving your kids with all your being and building them up to grow into brave, grace-filled human beings is it my dear.
Fist bump from one tired momma to another,
to the school age and teen mommies,
Ahem! Oh, hi momma who is consumed with homework assignments, baseball practice and teen drama. You still have a name and a purpose in all the chaos. In a life that just never seems to stop moving, don't forget you still matter. They may wipe off your kisses, but don't stop trying to give them. They may not need you to help tie their shoes anymore, but you can still sit down and chat with them while they do it. In a time when the definition of family time might mean sitting next to each other on the couch scrolling away on a smart device, have screen-free-look-in-their-eyes time. Break out the board games, go for a hike, grab an extra scoop of ice cream. Sure, they may put up a fight at first, but on the inside, they just want you.
Even though they may be more defined in who they are, the world is still trying to tell them that they have to listen to booty shaking music with a few too many plug-your-ears words to fit in. We worked with teenagers for many years as part of our ministry and we often asked them what they felt they needed in life. More than anything else, they just wanted someone to listen to them and to feel understood. Even on the "silly to us" things, just being an ear to let them get it all out lightened their load and earned us their respect. If we aren't listening, the drugs, alcohol and not your choice of friends "will."
I say all that to encourage you to remember that even though your children are older, you still are so important to them. No, they may not always know or appreciate that fact, but keep trucking along momma. Remind them of their strength and the ability to say "no," that God created them to be who they are meant to be versus following everyone else, that you love them unconditionally as they learn, even when mistakes are made.
to the empty nester,
Congrats mama, you did it! You survived 18 or possibly even 28 years of raising kids in your home! Doing a happy dance for you! Joking not joking as I know it's got to be such mixed emotions. You may be so proud of the adult they've become or may even be questioning if you did everything right. As I'm sure you know, there are is no way to travel back in time, so all you can do is live in the now and still love them going forward.
As a grown adult myself with my own little ones, can I let you in on a little secret? I still love when my mom or dad calls or sends me a text to tell them how much they love me or how proud of me they are. There is no magic button that says when you become an adult, you no longer experience insecurities or crave to be accepted. In fact, I think it gets even harder as you are in college with the expectations of needing to determine your career path or a new mom wondering what in the world you are doing.
I say that to encourage you to not stop being mom just because it may seem like they don't need you anymore. The world is full of friendships that often stay at surface level and having your mother there to call on during the extra hard times is a treasure. They still need you mama, I promise. Your identity may have shifted as a mother and you aren't sure what to do with yourself these days, but you are still very much important, very much a gift to them, still.
From an #adulting momma that still needs her mom,
to those longing to be called "mom,"
I can barely type my words at the moment, because life just doesn't seem fair sometimes. There may be many of you reading that just want the chance to be called "mom." You would give one of your kidneys and then some to be able to be a mom. I've been there precious lady. After we had been married for five years, we decided we were ready for some littles and nothing wanted to go the way I wanted. We walked through infertility and a journey filled with loss that I didn't know if I was strong enough to handle and some days I got lost in it. I saw other women that their husband just sneezed on them and they got pregnant. I was truly happy for them, but I wondered why that couldn't be me. But can I tell you, looking back, I am thankful for the journey as I look into the eyes of my children and all it took to get here and I can be assured God had a big plan for me and my children through it.
Today, if your arms are not filled yet with a bundle to hold, cling to the hope that this is a journey still to be walked, not finished, and it's purpose will be evident to you on the other side. You may be destined to have your own biological children or there may already be a child born to someone else that will be the recipient of your big love. And if neither of those things seem like they are your path, keep walking, keep pressing forward and remember God's got you. He stays near to the broken. He is able to seal the cracks in your vessel that are draining the life right out. When people ask that dreaded question of "so, when are you guys having kids?" after you just left getting bad news at the doctor, let Him wrap you in His arms and bring the peace that only He can give. It would look really silly if someone hugged you and you didn't hug them back, right? Hug God back, when you let Him in, you will feel refreshed and ready to keep going.
From someone who is believing for your miracle with you,
to those who miss their mom,
Firstly, let me say I cannot even begin to try to understand what you may feeling right now. Your mother may have lived a long, wonderful life or may have gone too soon. Either way, those who have loved us like only a mom can, will always leave a big hole in our hearts if no longer with us.
The only part of this I can relate to is feeling like someone is missing and can never be replaced. People will tell you to "try and move on," but how can you? "It will get easier" they say. Ugh, sometimes things are just hard. Sure, the grieving process may bring some acceptance of them being gone, going through the anger may make you feel a release, and getting the tears out may make you feel better for a moment, but they are still and always will be a missing piece.
Although, I know all you really want is your mom, I pray you are able to cling to your family as you bask in precious memories spent with her and laugh-cry as you reminisce, that you can look in the mirror and see part of her in you and the legacy she has given in the amazing woman you are, that you know you are human and it's ok to crumble, but also remember the importance of getting back up. As I mentioned up above, "keep walking, keep pressing forward and remember God's got you. He stays near to the broken. He is able to seal the cracks in our vessel that are draining the life right out."
Always try be a light in your sorrow even when you don't feel like it, as eventually, that is what you will become. You will remember to feel joy, to give your love again.
Speaking comfort over you today and always,
Whichever letter recipient you are today, you are loved and an amazing gift to those around you. Never forget the worth of you.
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