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A tale of three Mother’s Days

May 10, 2015

Mother’s Day 2013, two years ago. My dad had died suddenly and unexpectedly less than a month earlier, and I was staying at my mom’s house in Iowa to help with everything: sorting through my dad’s stuff, helping to close down his cattle business, writing thank you notes and making dinners, spending time with my brother, Craig, and just being there. When Mother’s Day rolled around, none of us wanted to go to church or out to eat to celebrate. My mom was reminded of how my dad had made the day special for her, and it felt strange to celebrate it without him. I was grieving my dad, and remembering the baby I had miscarried. So we stayed in, and Mother’s Day passed by.

Mother’s Day 2014, one year ago. We gave my mom a necklace engraved with my dad’s handwriting of the words “Love always.” I had miscarried again, but was 6 months pregnant and full of tentative hope.  Once you have lost a child, or two, in my case, you never stop worrying that you will lose another. Every single day of my pregnancy, I wondered whether our child would live or die. I felt reassured when I felt her kicks, and nervous when she was still. John and I went to church, and the pastor had all the mothers stand to give a blessing over them, and to pass out flower bouquets. I wasn’t sure whether I should stand, since I didn’t have a child in my arms, so I stayed seated. But one of the women passing out bouquets came up to me, gave me the flowers, and said, “You count too.”

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And today, Mother’s Day 2015. We woke up exhausted after a rough night with a teething 8 month old. But in the daytime, she forgot her teeth, and she made us laugh with her scoots and giggles and babbles. When she lay down for her first nap, we did too–and she rewarded us by taking a 2 hour nap. Since she (and we!) slept through church, we decided to go out for brunch.  We set her up in the high chair and fed her bits of quiche, hash browns, and strawberries from our plates. John surprised me with a card and beautiful earrings from a local boutique. We came home to a house filled with boxes as we prepare for our upcoming move to the first home we will own. Just a week after we move, my mom and brother will be moving to North Carolina.

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Life has changed. Life can be and has been hard, but life can also bring healing. Two years ago we felt crushed, heartbroken, and defeated. Today we still carry those scars, and they have changed who we are, but we have also found joy in today’s blessings. We know the future will have more trials–of course it will, that’s just life. But now we know from experience that you can go through the worst life can throw at you, survive it, and go on to find beauty and joy again.

It has truly been a happy Mother’s Day for me. I hope it has for you too, whether you are a mother or not, whether you are desperately needing a break from your three little ones, still waiting for one to call your own, or simply celebrating your own mother today.

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