I used to cry in church, every Mother's Day, because I wanted children so badly, and I was barren. And then I would look around me and think everyone knew why I was crying, and I would cry harder. (Why on earth I forced myself to go to church on Mother's Day, I will never know. God wouldn't have minded. I know that now.)
Several years ago, when my own invisible, unknown-even-to-me demons were making my parenting hard on everyone in my household, I found myself approaching Mother's Day with an astonishing measure of self-pity. When I caught myself thinking "well they probably won't get me anything anyway", I was finally appalled enough at myself to snap out of it. Since that year, this is what Mother's Day has meant to me:
Today is the day that I say "Thank you, God, that I get to be a mother, after all." I hope I cry in church today, out of gratitude for these two incredible fascinating funny smart athletic interesting people that live in our house with us. They're tall and lean and brown and fit and they have great hair and both of them have great senses of humour, in very different ways. They are both capable of great kindness, and I love being with them.
Today, especially this year, is also the day that I celebrate the fact that my own mother is still "this side of heaven." I will say this, too, because she would say it as well, that she is mothering me more at this stage in my life, while I am enduring an absolute storm of recall of repressed memories of severe, sustained abuse, than she ever has. As horrible as the stories I have to tell are, and as heartbreaking as they must be to her, because the perpetrators of my worst abuses were not unknown to her, she has never once doubted me, never once faltered in her absolute resolve to be strong for me.
The gift I want today, on top of those? as if a person should need any more than that?
A picture of three of them together, these extravagant graces in my life, a memento to mark this moment in time.