I must admit, I have no idea where this post may lead. No matter where we go, please know, I’m ok.
I feel like I should lay some groundwork to paint a clearer picture of my foray into motherhood. I didn’t grow up playing with lots of babies and dreaming of being a mommy. Instead, I grew up quite confident that I was created to be an aunt. You might say God’s calling into motherhood was quite a shock to my aunting system. This could be the reason behind my repeating record that says, “this can’t be my life.”
A few other important details to my story:
- When I was really young my family liked camping. While I don’t remember any of our camping trips, I have heard of a time when someone forgot to snap the side of the pop-up and they didn’t know it until they heard me crying on the ground… outside of the camper.. having rolled (or likely been pushed) out of the end. I’ll let you imagine how fond I am of camping.
- As a teen I spent ungodly amounts of time in the tanning bed. A sin I shall carry to my death and that I earnestly pray is not the actual cause of the inevitable.
- And lastly, as an adult I truly struggle with being fun. Despite my greatest efforts and pinterest boarding, Daniel is the one that brings fun to this family.
Enter the week of Mother’s Day… where my husband has planned a camping trip for our family and I am doing my best to believe we will be building cherished memories. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll even have fun in the making.
T-minus four days, I go into the dermatogist to have a pesky little cancer removed from my abdomen. I’ve gone through something similar before on my forehead, so I knew the drill. What I didn’t expect was that they had a lot more material to work with in my abdomen. I began to wonder if the doctor could go ahead and pull out my uterus from the gaping hole otherwise used to remove a pound of flesh. As the assistants quickly cauterized my wounds and sewed two layers of stitches into my love handle I began to repent once again for the sins of my youth.
My sweet girls cried real tears when they saw my two inch battle wound and told everyone they saw for the next few days about mommy’s sick freckle and stitches. It has worked a bit in my favor since the girls were sensitive to my wound and didn’t want to cause me undue stress. They do have hearts 🙂
So here we enter mother’s day weekend, fully packed and loaded for adventure. A camper [which may also double as a pressure cooker of parenting], three littles, two dogs and a mom that feels like she has literally been stabbed. Y’all… what could possibly go wrong?
It had been bubbling below the surface for days – this tension I carry feeling as though I am living someone else’s dream. I should be enjoying every minute of this life because there is certainly someone else who would give anything for it. Whether you’ve experienced the loss of a child or your mother, carry an unmet desire of motherhood or your own painful childhood and those living through a difficult journey of parenting – your pain is not lost on me.
To be honest… Mother’s Day… it breaks me.
It puts me face to face with my own frailties and overwhelmingly sensitive to the pain around me. I fully know what I count as joy comes at a loss from another. I can’t think of any other day of the year I would rather skip. I write these words fully acknowledging I am coming as a mom whose arms are full, adores my own mother and is blessed to have strong, beautiful mommy friends and sisters … but the complexity of my feelings run so deep.
As I look back over this last week it seems like a blur of emotions – where mine came crashing into the shore of expectations and should be(s) that I can’t unravel.
You would think after four years I would be used to this Mother’s Day thing – not finding myself surprised that this really is my life. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped and thought, I never imagined my life would look like this. Sometimes these words were echoed with joy and at other times they were whispered through tears.
We were exhausted by a full day in the sun, swimming and watching – counting heads all the day long. They drifted in to sleep quickly, a tad bit earlier than usual. With sunkissed cheeks and blood shot eyes, they fell hard. It was a successful day and would all be down-hill from here.
Until… she wakes up. It doesn’t matter which “she” because we are in a camper, remember? That means that the first she wakes another she and all the tiny emotional people are floundering around in sleeping bags, hot and cold and uncontrolled. [Jesus, this would be the perfect time for your return from heaven.]
There is literally no escape. I can’t make anyone happy. One is crying because she wants a campfire. The other one is crying because she wants to go home – right now. Ok, sure – that hasn’t crossed my mind a million times. Abandon camp! Burn it down. This is not worth it anymore.
I have one child that goes into full drama-queen when she is exhausted… which I can’t relate to at all. We were finally able to divide and conquer, soothe and sing back to a place of rest long enough for me to take a much needed shower. Then Daniel met me at our end of the camper and tried to speak but I literally lost my heart.
In a sea of tears I crumbled to the camper floor and cried how much I hate Mother’s Day. Every thought that had been bubbling in my head for the past few days came rolling out of my mouth as I confessed how much I have failed. Any person on this earth could do a better job than me. Why in the world did God think this was a good idea? There is a one in three chance that I am going to mess up – every single day. The odds do not ever feel in my favor. This is by far the hardest thing I have ever done and at my deepest, darkest place – I don’t think I can get it right. And little lives are at stake here. why me?
In the middle of my crying, with his arms around me, as I am a puddle on the floor – I look up and whisper/scream – and I’m stuck in a camper! ::: this my friends is what could possibly go wrong ::: mommy meltdown – camping edition.
We both broke into laughter at the irony of it all. Daniel pointed out that the child that stretches me the most with her irrational overdramatic exhaustion is simply because she is so much like me. which I completely deny… until he points out all my irrationally overdramatic display of motherhood whose tears are still wet on the floor. I refuse to own that I am dramatic – as I clearly feel the stab wound move from my abdomen to my back. We cannot be friends if you call me out. No sir. Your job is to hold me and tell me I’m right.
He tucks me into bed and I fall into sleep. I got a solid two hours before that baby girl’s whimpers lifted me out. I end up sitting in a chair holding her in such a way that her burning skin is not waking her sleepy self. I think of all those mothers who hold their children as they fight for their life, or the daddy who breathes for his son when he can’t breathe for himself, the parents who lost their baby without any known reason and would give anything to hold them one more night.
In the midst of all my doubts and fears of failure, I begin to see that this moment is what I am here for. I may not get everything right, but I will sure die trying. When it all falls apart and my brokenness is poked by her brokenness and we each do things we wish we had done differently… we can stop and try again. Because grace runs deep and he is deeper still. I couldn’t have imagined this life of mine and honestly, I wouldn’t have ever asked for it. But it’s at the point of my breaking that I am able to see how he carries me.
Sweet friends, I know that mother’s day is not all roses for all of you. I bring my story to you as my way of saying, I see you. I feel you. In some ways, I am with you. This day is so hard for me… and it got even harder. After all were fed, bathed and tucked in bed I crawl into my own and thank God tomorrow is a new day.
I want to say to you, you made it. We did it. And tomorrow, we get to show up again – like a mother does.