It is a beautiful Sunday morning. I got more than a full nights rest, the boys let me sleep in, I was delivered a beautiful handmade card and some delicious baked goods. It is currently 11am and I'm still not dressed and although this is the definition of a great weekend day, it's not necessarily a "Happy Mother's Day".
Mothers Day is everywhere today, and what a beautiful thing it must be, to share the love of your mother with the world, she deserves all of that. I am envious of you, in that curious way. I am happy for you and wonder what that must feel like, to have a life where your mother loves you unconditionally and has raised you with a life filled with love. I don't have that, nor a beautiful picture of me with my mom to share, those pictures don't exist anymore, they once did but those are from 20 years ago and the emotions attached to it are now so conflicted.
I also see the pictures, where all your children are held in your arms, I daydream and imagine how that feels. I will never have a picture of all my children; the result of my three pregnancies or the two children that I birthed pictured together as they should be, and it will always be that way for me. When I look at my family picture, there are always four of us-even if you only see three.
I also know that just because you have these things, a loving mother and your beautiful children to hold, doesn't mean your life is perfect but today, as many of you qualify this a "happy" Mother's Day, it highlights those of us who do not. Please do not take this as offensive, in fact quite the opposite, your mothers are my role models and your mothering is my inspiration, just because I don't have these things, I would never wish for you to not have them too.
I have a good life and I am grateful for it, but it has not always been easy and today is just one of those days. Realistically, today is no different than any other day in which I realize that I am a (biologically)mother-less mom living without her daughter, it's just that this Hallmark holiday magnifies how many others have what I do not. It doesn't mean that I hate Mother's Day or that I will avoid it (although I will not be going to Sunday brunch) but this day is definitely not easy.
What I do have is an amazing daughter, the one who has shown me my passion to live. I have my gorgeous, witty and energetic boy, who I have learned to love life as he does-through his eyes. I have a step-mom who mothers me, as much as I let her in and even when I don't. I may not hold all the traditional things that qualify this day but, I know that I'm not the only one to whom this day difficult.
My happiest Mother's Day is the normal day; the mornings that I wake up with my sweet boy loving me and the memory of my daughter warming my heart and all the women who have shown me that to be a mother is a privilege, and really that just makes every day my Mother's Day.
My heart is with you today, those who also find Mother's Day to be difficult. Feel your feelings and know that you are amazing every day. And to those who have reached out to the mother-less or mothers without children, my heart is with you too for your are our lifeline. You are our strength.
Mothers Day, here yet again. It is amazing to think that an entire year has passed, the hope and love and joy that I felt for Ruthie Lou, I now also hold in my heart for a baby boy, although I hold him under my heart and next to his sister, without her in my arms.
Devastating, unbelievable, unfathomable, so heartbreaking to do this without her. Love, hope, courage and strength as we continue with faith that life will keep going, that we will find joy. So with Mothers Day tomorrow and such a heart wrenching last week, Ruthies nine month birthday and eight month anniversary, I am faced with the choice of how to proceed, how to view the day. How do I wake up on a day saved for Mothers, with a beautiful baby in my belly but without my sweet girl in my arms? A mother without her children....
Last year was the best Mothers Day I have ever had, Ruthie Lou was in my belly, an active little girl. I loved carrying her under my heart, feeling her move inside me, the bond ONLY a mom shares with her children. Mothers Day is typically one of my least favorite days of the year yet I was determined to have a good day and so we did. Our families came over, our moms Cindi and Lorrie, gramma Pat, siblings and nieces and nephews. Tilly was brand new, Lexi just a year and Kaidin, growing like a weed. Our family was growing, I couldn't wait for the holidays to have Ruthie Lou in my arms with the other little girls of our family. It was a beautiful day with family, it was a beautiful day with our moms and the new moms of our family. This year we would all have our babies....
Seemingly without choice, so much has changed. We can never predict the road of our life, the direction that things will take. It's amazing to think of the last 8-9 months, the changes, the grief, the hope, the love, the beauty that has arrived in the most unexpected places and the sadness that also steps in when you least expect it. It is true that, “Death ends a life, not a relationship.” (Benchley) and for that I am so grateful. In the midst of the time that has passed, my relationship with Ruthie Lou has maintained present in my life, through my writing, my daily (or sometimes weekly) journal, the walks I take, the moments of beauty sitting in my yard, the dreams that she visits and I even feel her when my perfectionism kicks in and I am quickly reminded that "imperfections make us perfect". It is so different than I ever imagined her life with us being, so lonely much of the time, yet so beautiful that time and place cannot separate the love of our hearts.
This year on Mothers Day I will sit, once again 6 months pregnant, this journey mirroring Ruthie Lou's, their due dates two weeks apart. We are so blessed to have Ruthie Lou's brother growing in my belly. I told our sweet girl before she died that her dad and I would continue to have brothers or sisters for her when she was no longer with us, not because we were trying to replace her, no child could do that, she is irreplaceable, but because we loved her so much and now understood the undying, unquestionable, unfathomable love a parent holds for their child. We loved (love) her so much that we were willing to look fear in the face and allow our hearts to have faith that our family will grow. We talked about getting pregnant after Ruthie Lou passed and there is no right answer as to when a family is ready or will ever be ready to "try again" as many so kindly say, as if we "tried" with Ruthie Lou and failed. Instead, we waited some time for my body to heal and our hearts to soften and decided that when a baby was ready to join our family, they would. And he did. He didn't waste any time and I am sure he knows the family he is entering, I am sure he is well aware that we are a "special family". He will forever know of his sister, we tell him of her everyday, we hope he is with her now, in this strange time between the other side and life on Earth, where we wait patiently for him to arrive.
It is so interesting to walk the path of grief, a journey so unpredictable, alongside, hand in hand with the path of hope for another baby. The last 6 months of knowing that we were expecting a baby have been scary, hopeful, joyful, sad and all the while grateful and loving for this baby and for Ruthie Lou. This little boy gives us hope and warms our heart, bringing joy once again into our home all the while reliving the time we innocently loved Ruthie Lou's pregnancy, imagining her life with us. We now imagine his life with us, too.
Our hearts can be so resilient, if we choose. This year for Mothers Day we get a choice of how to spend the day. I sit here writing, still not sure of what the day will hold for us. We have had a lot of practice with the "regular" days of our life since Ruthie Lou passed, that I want today to be just that, a regular day. We should honor the mothers of our world everyday, as moms (and dads) do amazing things for their children, the jobs of each parent are so different. I think that when a family is imagined, one thinks of healthy children, making good choices, growing old and creating families of their own. We never want to imagine the hardships that some families endure, illnesses, deaths, addictions, struggles. We all hope that our family will be different, immune, but we seldom get a choice in that. Instead, we take the job of parent in whatever capacity that might be, do our best and have faith that we can survive...anything. Without knowing, my job as Ruthie Lou's mama was to love my little girl so much, more than myself, enough to be able to let her go even when I would have given my own life to let her stay.
My job as this little boy's mama is to be present for him, to separate the fear a parent has after losing their child from the joy that children bring, the joy that he brings. My job for him will be to love him every day of my life, my long life that he will outlive. My job for him will be to be the mama that I would have been to Ruthie Lou, but more, because I understand that the beauty of this life is not determined by its length and we need to live every day present and grateful amidst any obstacle in our path. And then, my biggest job will be to accept the challenges that this life creates knowing that even though we have endured the worst, we are not immune, we must live this life day by day, sometimes hour by hour.
So this Mothers Day will be different than imagined but we will survive yet another day. My hope is to spend most the day in nature celebrating Ruthie Lou, celebrating this little boy, celebrating their dad and the life that awaits us still. Life is so much bigger than we could ever understand, just because our country tells us today is a day to honor our mothers, I hope we remember that all parents, all people, should be honored everyday. We all survive so much, we do not choose the direction most of our lives take yet we all keep getting up, having faith that life will continue to get better....
I am mama of three beautiful babes; two sons whom I have the privilege of raising and my daughter who lived for 33 sacred days.