As Mother's Day approaches, I've had a lot of thoughts cross my cluttered mind. There are some days that I don't think I can make it out of bed, and others when I feel like I might have a nervous breakdown. Most days I am overwhelmed by the love I have for my children and look forward to the simple things, and just being their "mom". The joys and the struggles of motherhood alike are real--but praise The Lord that the joys are greater.
It is a challenging yet rewarding task, and I'm grateful I've been given this opportunity to love. If you haven't been following our family's journey, you can read We Are The Village and The Best Gift for a glimpse into the past year of this unpredictable ride! Earlier this year, we accepted our second foster placement while fumbling through raising a busy, beautiful baby! We have been so blessed during this time to experience a smooth transition and have the support, once again, of our family and friends.
Raising children, whether they are your own or not, is a honorable task. If you're a teacher, aunt, mentor or friend, you've likely helped raise a child. My hope is that the words I share send encouragement and comfort your way--meeting you where you are, sharing in the daily joys and struggles together.
Last Mother's Day, I found my heart a bit conflicted. Was I a mother? I was carrying a baby in my womb and caring for a teenager in my home. Personally, I felt very much like a mother! The world around me, however, didn't seem to think so. Harmless comments were made to suggest my time had not come yet, while Phillip and the foster child in our home planned to celebrate. What I quickly realized is that it didn't matter. It didn't matter what others think. What mattered was the time I spent "mothering" an independent, rebellious, smart and growing child. The child itself is the celebration.
I've had the privilege of being "mothered" by many women in my life. Teachers, coaches, Bible study leaders, bosses, mentors, friends, aunts, grandmothers, my Mother-in-Law and my own Mom. Each one teaching me something different, shaping me into the woman, and mother, I am today. Each one demonstrating to me how to be compassionate, fun, loving, kind, strong, thoughtful, resourceful, genuine, or selfless. Each one playing their own important role in my story. Not only have they influenced me, but now these same women also care for my own children too!
I can look at the style in which I mother, and attribute certain traits to particular women. I joke that after watching shows like This is Us and Parenthood, I am better prepared to raise children...but the truth of the matter is that it has been the real-life men and women in my life who have modeled how to love and raise a child, not without making mistakes, but rather making them with grace.
Mother's Day can be a strange time for those women who have not birthed children of their own--I've been there. Many of those women wish(ed) for the opportunity to do so, but haven't known that joy. Some women consciously made a choice to forgo motherhood. Either way, for some, this day can become a time of frustration, sadness, confusion, disappointment or discontentment.
What I'd love to challenge you to do is take this time to truly think about the women who helped shape you, and choose to honor them, too, this Mother's Day. Let your gratitude show by sending them a card, mailing them a package, or even just giving them a call. Let's celebrate all of those that mother, in our lives and the lives of others!
Updates: Since I originally wrote this blog in 2020, we have welcomed a second baby girl into our family! Meet Evelyn (Evy) James Smith.