Friday, May 06, 2011

The Non-Mother Mother's Day

This year, the way the calendar falls, we have a string of holidays - Cinco de Mayo, Kentucky Oaks Day, Derby Day and Mother's Day. Now, two of those days apply mainly to Louisville residents, but nonetheless, the week has been replete with reasons to celebrate. I feel like I need to make up a holiday for Monday just to keep the excitement going.

As I was praying and thinking this morning, I was dwelling on all those women who aren't Mothers, like I am. Mothers' Day has never been quite the challenge to me, even though I haven't been a mother, until the first year I lost my Mom and endured that holiday. It was tough. You see, my Mom was an amazing woman. Anyone who knew her could be assured that their life would never be the same after meeting her. She touched so many people in so many ways - emotionally and physically. And, she herself struggled with being a Mom. My parents waited 18 years to have their one and only child - me. Mother's Day holds a special place in my life because it was on that day in 1974 that I decided to make my decision to follow Christ publicly and take that next step of obedience towards baptism. As a thinker (even as an 8 year old), I was slow in making that commitment after many questions and inward thinking, and listening to pastors and teachers. It was the greatest decision of my life and making that public on Mother's Day seemed fitting since my Mom was so pivotal in my coming to Christ.

So, back to the discussion at hand - women who have never been Mothers. I'm sure there are many out there who never desired to be Mothers, so the day isn't a bit challenging. But, I know there are plenty out there who long to be Mothers and just never have had the opportunity or maybe never will. They overflow with feelings of nurturing that go unfulfilled. For them, I hold a special place in my heart. As I grew up, I just figured one day I'd marry, we'd have children, etc. But when I got older and the marriage thing hadn't happened, and the biological clock was ticking louder, I accepted the fact that I'd never bear a child. I know all you biblical scholars out there will remind me of Abraham and Sarah, but whew, a baby at 90 isn't my preferred way to motherhood. Unlike marriage, which I still long and hope to experience one day, motherhood isn't a burning desire for me. I thank God for aligning my heart to His Will in that way, knowing it is His Protection from me grieving what I do not have.

Lest we get mired in the downer of those of us that are non-Mothers, let me speak a word of encouragement. If you fit that mold, take heart. There are so many "children" out there for you to spread your love. I am more than blessed with "children" that are not my own that I have loved on and nurtured throughout the years. There is something safe for a young person who loves their own Mom, but just wants to talk openly with someone like their Mom without the bias of their own Mom's perspective. Being in that role of a non-Mom, helps me retain the 'cool' factor, but speak the truth as their older, wiser (hopefully!) friend. I didn't change their diapers or know every fault they have, or every quirk...or even how messy their room can get. But I see in them someone with potential and growth that their own Mom may see, but due to the daily routine of care and feeding, it gets clouded. A Mom who can achieve a balance there is a Mom worth shadowing. It's that balance that is a challenge for Moms and I admire those that do it, and do it well.

On this Mothers' Day, if you find yourself motherless - either you have no Mom, or you aren't one yourself - love on some young one around you who needs that nurturing. I hope to do that myself but before I do, I'll reach for that book of Family Circus cartoons that my Mom gave me not long before her passing. I'll read through it and read every note she left on all the pages making reference to our personal experiences as a family and how funny they were. My Mom was the greatest and if I can be just a slice of who she was, I'm grateful.

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