Oh Mama!

Oh Mother's Day... A day with joy and tension and happiness and mourning. I love being celebrated, but my preference would be birthdays, where the honor comes from simply surviving another year. It's hard to feel comfortable being celebrated as a mom when just this year three friend celebrated with positive pregnancy tests, filled with hope and expectation, only to later find the pregnancy ending too soon to result in that dreamt of child, which will now stay only as a dream. How must they feel on a day where we celebrate moms, when they have carried life within them, but never in their arms? My heart feels heavy even while I was spoiled this weekend with fancy meals, thoughtful small gifts, and handwritten cards from the boys who made me a mama and their dad. 

This actually feels like a uniquely "mom" problem... Making sure everyone has enough, putting yourself second so someone else can get what they need. Perhaps because we're well versed in loss, from lost sleep to lost time, privacy, and a lost sense of accomplishment in the repetitive tedium of early childhood, moms can already deeply empathize over the loss of having the opportunity to give up those things by having a baby at all.

And even heavier on my mind are the people in my life who lacked a mother, or lacked the kind of mother that Hallmark creates greeting cards for. The ones who find themselves shaking in anger or grieving deeply over what could have been but wasn't. I think all these thing weigh on me so heavily the rest of the year, but come to light in tweets and Facebook posts filled with such sorrow this weekend. 

So what can be done? I know that while Nathan and Benjamin made me a mother nearly 15 years ago, I've had the sacred privilege to mother many other people through the years. Some I got for a season, and some are still mine today and always will be. I wish I could go out and solve this problem today for everyone all over the world. But I can't. The scale of the problem is too large. So I do what I can, and I do it with all my heart. These people who come into our lives and home for a season or a lifetime get showered in the kind of unconditional love and support which every kid should get. We've already seen some happy endings which came from the love we heaped on the kids and adults in our life. And hopefully the chain continues... They were loved so they'll turn around and share it again, in a real and personal way. 

So on this Mother's Day I have gracefully accepted the loving compliments and well wishes from friends and family. Because it was having Nathan and Ben, two sons who grew right under my heart, who taught me it is possible to also love someone who has a desperate need to be in someone's heart at all. 

And I can't fail to mention my own mama, Judy, and my mother in law of nearly 19 years, Carol, for both being the best kind of moms in your own way. How grateful I am! And how much I desperately miss you both, living here in China so far across the ocean. 

Above is our annual Mother's Day portrait. I love these two boys with so much of my heart. And Lucy Rocket, the dog? She rocks too. 

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