The second Sunday in May. A holiday created by man to honor mothers. It sounds great, doesn’t it? The stores are stocked with cards, balloons, cakes, and flowers. Signs in pink letters are everywhere you look. You really can’t escape it or forget. This one Sunday of the year should be perfect, right? Wake to breakfast in bed, flowers on the table, a lovely church service, maybe a trip to the lake or a hike or picnic…. Family togetherness, honoring mom…
But what if it doesn’t work like that for you? What if you desperately want to be a mom and you have not conceived yet, or have been told you can’t conceive? That was me 16 years ago. It tore my heart out. I wanted so badly to be mom, but I was not. Mother’s Day hurt. The world continued with its socially accepted commercialism.
A few years later, with the help of medical science, I became a mom, and a couple of years after that, again with the help of modern medicine, I became a mom again. I felt so blessed. I finally “fit in” to the Mother’s Day crowd. But alas, that too was short lived.
My son, my 2nd born, was diagnosed with brain cancer on April 21, 2006. He died on May 18, 2006. Mother’s Day that year is one that is etched into my mind forever. Well, at least the evening part. I honestly cannot remember the day time part. I wish I could. Perhaps it was happy. Perhaps it was fun. Perhaps I smiled early in the day that year. But that night, my son started fading fast. He was lethargic, not eating, not keeping any fluids down and had signs of dehydration. On May 14, 2006, Mother’s Day, we drove my baby boy to the hospital for the last time. I walked in while my husband parked the car. His tiny hands were wrapped around my neck and his head was rested on my shoulder. I can still feel those tiny hands sometimes. The nurses and triage receptionists looked at us as I walked through the door and immediately escorted us to a bed in the ER. That sounds great, doesn’t it? No check in, no waiting room…. but it’s not. When they do that, you know your child is very ill. The next few days brought a flurry of procedures, surgeries, chemo treatments, etc. He faded a bit more each day. On May 18, he left this earth and went home to be with Jesus while my husband and I held him in our arms.
So, Mother’s Day is difficult for me. Not only am I missing my son terribly, but I have the aching reminder of bringing him to the hospital for the last time on Mother’s Day. Every year I think I will be able to smile, celebrate, become part of the socially accepted “mom’s club”, and every year I fall short, in a puddle of tears.
It’s been 10 years now since we lost our son. We have been blessed with another daughter who is 8 years old now and miraculously, I am expecting my 4th baby this coming September. This baby is a blessed surprise. No doctor appointments, procedures, shots, etc. I woke one day and was pregnant! I thought, once again, this year will be different. I am so blessed with my girls and the new life inside my womb that I will smile. I will celebrate and I will be able to let my family celebrate with me. But I was mistaken again.
Feelings of the past, present, and future collided yesterday and I was a wreck. I cried for my baby that I lost. I cried for my baby who is not born yet. I cried for my girls who are with me and I cannot even be happy with them on this day. I cried for my friend Jenny who died in December. I cried for her children and husband who are missing her terribly every time they look at a “Mother’s Day” sign or card. I cried for the ache they are feeling that no one can soothe for them.
I skipped church. I kept busy all day doing chores and projects in the house. I couldn’t sit still or I would cry. At the end of the night, while talking to my husband, I realized that I will never fit into this man-made, commercialized holiday. But a part of me still wants to be able to spend a day with my family and get a little spoiled. (What girl doesn’t?) So, after tears, conversation, prayer, and thought, we decided that I do not have to celebrate Mother’s Day in May. Who said I have to anyway? We will celebrate Mother’s Day in our family in August. A month when such feelings of grief are not raw and attached. Will it work? I have no idea, but we are going to plan a day in August and try it out. My girls can spoil me, we will do something fun as a family, I am sure I will think of my boy, but hopefully, it will be a smile on my heart instead of the gut-wrenching reply of that Mother’s Day night 10 years ago. If Mother’s Day is a man-made made holiday, then this lady is going to change it! And perhaps, without the commercialized hype around me, and the socially accepted posts streaming our computers, we will enjoy a peaceful, lovely day with just us.
For all of those who struggle on Mother’s Day, my prayers are with you. There are so many out there that are silent. That feel paralyzed. That cry behind closed doors. Remember that you are not alone. God is always with you. And you don’t have to have a May Mother’s Day or a Mother’s Day at all. You are allowed to change the rules. To those living without their moms, to those living without their wives, and to those living without a child or children, may God’s peace find you and wrap you up. May He catch each tear and hold it in the palm of His hand. May He enable you to celebrate in your own way and time, not according this this world, but according to what your heart needs.
And for all of you who still have your moms, children, and spouses – you are blessed. Don’t ever forget how blessed you are. Thank God for them every single day, not just on Mother’s Day.