13 May 2020

Mother's Day

This Mother's Day blog post was delayed because of...well, caring for my kids.  But, even though it's three days later, I've decided to post it anyway.

I had a really lovely quarantined Mother's Day.  It was a mix of delight, intention and surprise.  It was a completely different one from last year.

One year ago this week, I sat on the floor, alongside Brian, and shared with our children that their father and I had made the decision to end our marriage.  It was a complete surprise to the children.  Telling them was as painful as I imagined it would be.

This entire last year has been filled with firsts.  Alongside each first came unexpected and, at times, paralyzing grief.

While I haven't written publicly about these experiences out of a respect for others' privacy, I have most certainly wanted to.  I desire to be authentic in all areas of my life.  And, for me, writing is healing.

But I felt it prudent to spend the last twelve months quietly healing with the help of therapy, my faith and the tender care of close friends and family.  Our divorce was finalized last month.

What I can share now is that hope is reemerging once again.  Grief is less evident than it once was.  We are at a new normal and everyone is doing well.

Mother's Day this year was my first as a single mother.  And while it was one I had never intended to experience, it was full of blessings.

My sweet boys, Oliver (age 12) and Bennett (age 10), helped me clean the kitchen before we went to bed the night before so that I could wake up to a clean kitchen on Mother's Day morning.  Six year old Avonlea, in full delight, gave me a manicure and pedicure.  And all day she kept telling me how much she wanted me to have the best day ever.

There were other surprises as well.  Neighbors who regularly check on me made sure I felt loved and seen.  Friends near and far called or texted to let me know they were thinking of me.  I was very overwhelmed by kindness.

The most memorable part of Mother's Day this year, though, was reading four little words that Bennett (who has dyslexia) wrote inside my Mother's Day card:

"I know your trying."

I wanted to simultaneously laugh and cry when I read those words.

I could have interpreted his words as disparaging, a sign of my failure as a mother.  But I knew the opposite was true.  He meant those words to be affirming.

"I know you're trying."

My children have heard me say the phrase "I'm sorry I'm trying" to them many times: when I've burnt dinner, when I've forgotten to follow through with something I promised I would, when I felt stressed and needed to apologize for my behavior.

I'm a mother.  I'm also human.

I do a lot of reminding my children that I'm human.  I want to give them permission to be human too.

Our job on earth isn't to be perfect, it is to be our whole ourselves, imperfections and all.

When my children see my brokenness, I want them to see Jesus in me.  He is who makes things right.

To hear my child accept my fallibility gives me great joy.  It takes away the pressure for me to be supermom or to have everything figured out.  It gives me space for me to just be me, just a human who has been given the awesome and sacred opportunity to walk alongside the journey of three little beings as they figure out their way in the world.  Sometimes, on this journey, I'm able to protect them from the hurts of the world.  Sometimes I'm not.  But at all times I am able to trust them to a God who cares for them even more than I do. 

As I kept reading my Mother's Day card, I noticed that right below Bennett's words "I know you're trying" were three words that Avonlea added to them: "I love you."

I can't think of a better Mother's Day gift than to be reminded that my kids accept me for who I am and love me anyway,

Happy Mother's Day, fellow Mamas.  "I know you're trying" too.

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