I’ve been wanting to write a Mother’s Day post, but I haven’t known where to start. Then I read this beautiful post by Sarah Bessey and cried, because I know exactly where she’s coming from.
“Really, all I wanted, even more than any gift or party is for just one day to pass without anyone needing anything from me . . . I curled up in the corner of a crowded restaurant on Mother’s Day, alone, and I read an Oprah Magazine and ate carbs until I felt like a person again.”
Like Sarah, all I really wanted was ONE DAY in which I did not have to take care of ANYTHING. Because I am always taking care of someone and something. I wanted one day in which somebody else did it all. I have to admit that Steven did most of the somethings on Mother’s Day. He got up with the kids when they woke up and got them both dressed for church and drove both to and from church (it’s a 50 minute drive, so we always take turns). He took me out to eat for lunch so I wouldn’t have to worry about dishes and sandwich crusts and straws in the Capri Suns. He picked up the house and loaded the dishwasher. And I am thankful.
But I also have to admit that the night before I’d warned him that he better have a card or something for me (even though I’d previously told him not to get me anything) or that I’d be very upset, and that at the end of Mother’s Day I sulked because I still had to do laundry and help the kids with baths that night.
And Sarah said, “The tinies threw me a homemade party when I came home an hour later . . I was spinning in our tiny pink kitchen, with a baby on my hip, and this is still my favourite thing in the world to be their mother.”
And yes, on Mother’s Day I opened a book Ephraim made just for me at school and a card Madeleine spent a lot of time on and I spent an entire meal at P.F. Chang’s sitting in the sun, laughing and talking with my 3 special people without rushing so we could get to school or ball practice or whatever. And it was joy and loveliness and everything to be thankful for. I am a mother. I am their mother. I am their main encourager and listener and problem solver. I am their lunch-maker and hair-rinser and laundry-folder. And as much as I push for feminism and equality and gender-free roles, I know that I need my children and they need me. I know that under all the frustration and resentment that creep in sometimes, I love being their mother.
Sarah went on, “I confessed to you that sometimes I get so mad at the Inklings . . C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien and all these other writers, real writers, had luxuries like housekeepers and pubs and colleagues, they had creature comforts and every time the Muse arrived, they didn’t have to shush her, plead with her to come back later because, right now, Muse, can’t you see? preschool, supper, diapers, bath times, and everything wonderful in my life needs my attention.”
Amen! I tend to wonder why it seems like others (by others I gotta admit I mostly mean men) can put domestic life on hold for their work and passions, while I am trying to fit in writing here and there, wherever I can. I can’t stop my life for writing.
But then I wonder about that Motherlove that wanted just one more, the one in my womb, the one I call Ember because that’s what I wanted to name her if it was a girl, the one that hardly grew at all and then she was gone. And the Motherlove that wanted the baby from Thailand, which was once my home, and how that may or may not happen now. And the Motherlove that speaks a language all its own, that keeps me up at night after a bad dream about my child, and that warms me each morning when my son kisses me goodbye, that whispers to me how fragile my children are and that I only get one chance at this.
And I wonder about all the women who aren’t mothers and want to be, and how Mother’s Day is difficult for them. The friend who waits, month after month, for a positive pregnancy test. The friend who was a guardian-but-really-a-mother to a family member, but is no longer that. The friend who hopes to get a foster child soon. The friend who lost her baby at nine weeks pregnant. And the women who have chosen not to be mothers, and are vilified for it.
I don’t know the answers, and I don’t have something lovely and poetic to say. I wonder, I grieve, I love, and I ask your forgiveness.