What Mother’s Day Has Become

Yesterday, something felt different. It was Mother’s Day. A day that used to be for others is now, somehow, also a day for me. I always wanted to be a mom. As hard as some days get I’ve cherished every second of being home with my young kids. There aren’t many moments I’ve missed. That’s a treasure I can’t compare to anything else in this world.

Yet, so much has come of this day than I ever anticipated. It’s not just a day to celebrate mothers but to reflect. It’s a day we remember our own mothers and their mothers. Its a day we analyze our own motherhood. It’s even become a day that hurts a little more than most other days for some. It’s a day many of us have painful memories highlighted.

For me, there is on the one hand a child I never got to kiss or know. One who was held in my womb but not in my arms. We named her and yet we will never get to call that name. It’s a name we might not have used if she had not passed away so soon. In some alternate version of reality we should be planning a first birthday for baby “Ellie” as we refer to her. We speak of her on occasion and in general the word “miscarriage” has lost some of it’s stabbing pain. But I imagine a baby I won’t meet until I die and wonder why.

On the other hand, there is our Liam. He would have been called Liam Gideon. Forever in our hearts and minds – he is the one we wanted to adopt and couldn’t. He is the one that needed dire medical care. I will always carry the guilt of failing him. There’s no point in trying to relieve myself that guilt because it’s baggage I’m willing to carry. While we have his photo in our home and his soul in our prayers there is so much distance. The baby who reached his first birthday only to face an early death. Not because no one hoped or tried or someone lacked faith. His reality has crossed our paths and brought us humility we’ve never known.

I shuffle between these two. In my mind we should have them both here with us. Ellie thriving and learning to walk. Liam shunted and pain-free. We don’t. We can’t.

Then the thoughts pass through that I know aren’t truth. That I should “just” be thankful for those I have here. My sweet babies – Naomi, Emma Kate, and Mordecai. My three that have hurt from these two losses just as I have. Thoughts pass through that we should stop bringing hurt into their lives. It’s unfair. Those thoughts are not truth.

Because God gave us Ellie. Because God showed us Liam. Because God.

He made me a mother to our firstborn – to raise and know her – when I was 19. He gave us these two children – one born at the same time the other left the world – not so we could “keep” them but to know a love I couldn’t imagine before. This story has unfolded and their names are the chapters.

More than anything this Mother’s day I have come to know more than ever that my God loves each of these children more than I do. He has given me more than I ever expected by giving me things I never would have wanted. We met and loved young and we were doubted by everyone. That alone is the best decision we ever made. God used it to write this story and it’s beautiful. My Naomi brought pleasant joy into my life by making me a mom – my first time with my heart existing outside of me. My Emma taught us love in its purest form – that our heart isn’t split between two but grown. My Mordecai who made me a stronger woman because when he came I began to accept myself in a new way. My Ellie who turned my eyes up to God. My Liam who cut my pride down and showed me God’s power. My little Roxy who has brought new beginning and whose life will show God to me in ways I haven’t considered yet.  This is what Mother’s Day has become and it’s only the 8th one. It’s just the beginning.

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