With Mother’s Day approaching, I find myself struck (yet again) with the same feelings I’ve been experiencing for several years in a row now. These feelings invoke deep gratitude within me, mixed with a touch of sorrow.
I can’t help but appreciate the beautiful women I consider the true heroes of Mother’s Day— also known as the mothers who have been forced to find the strength to continue living, even though their child’s life has ended.
Be it from miscarriage or born silently, to sickness such as cancer, war, an unforeseen accident, etc.— whatever the circumstance, there are precious women all over the world that have had to endure this heartache.
Each year, we have a Mother’s Day service in our church and honor all the mothers. And each year, I take notice of the many moms in our congregation who have faced the severe grief and pain of losing a child. These women hold their head high with a smile on their face. These women continue on in their everyday lives, operating in the strength only God can provide.
You may be one such woman. If that’s so, please know that I admire you. I admire your ability to carry on. I admire the strength you display. I cannot imagine what you have been through, and in complete honesty, for that I am grateful. All I know is that it cannot be easy. You inspire me to be the best mother I can be, to appreciate the time I have with my sweet daughters and know that every day and every moment is a blessing that is not to be taken lightly. And please know that you are in my heart and prayers.
For all you moms out there— I pray that you would take the time this Mother’s Day (and everyday) to celebrate the job God has entrusted you with and enjoy the day with your children. Embrace the gift you have been given and never, ever take it for granted.
As I am writing this, it is nearly 2 am. Up until about 30 minutes ago I was in bed reading when I heard one of my kids wake up and shuffle around his room. Upon checking to see what was going on, I found that Tommy, my middle son, had a nightmare and was trying to settle himself back down. Seeing that he needed some comforting, I invited him to come into the living room. He seemed to already know what he needed to soothe him: for me to pray for him, his favorite Pandora station that we have customized over the years to play Rockabye Baby and instrumental hymns, and to lay in my specific spot on the couch.
Just as Tommy was all settled in and I had turned off all the lights he pointed over to my laptop. “Mom, why is your laptop over there? Aren’t you going to write a blog while we are up?” I assumed he was procrastinating falling asleep, so I asked him, “No, what would I write about?” When he replied it was deep. Okay, well, it was deep for a 6-year-old. “I want you to write a blog with a picture of me with you, Jeffrey, Becca, Johnny Ben, and Molly and a picture of you and dad. Then you can write about how much you and dad love us and how much you love dad, because someday I’ll read a lot and want to read it when I am a grown up.”
I was so caught off guard. I expected him to tell me about his efforts to tell The Joker about Jesus so he won’t be an arch-villain any more. (Yes, that is really a frequent topic of his.) I did not expect him to mention something so emotional and actually relevant. (Dear Mr. Future Tommy, I’m sorry for assuming you wouldn’t be relevant. But you were 6. Someday you’ll have a 6-year-old and know what I mean. Forgive me. Love always, Mrs. Mom From The Past) I promised him I would do so, but a few moments later after he fell asleep I decided to go ahead and do it now.
Why now? In the last few years I have made a lot of to do lists. Most of the items listed on those lists have never been crossed off. I do have good reason for some of that, but I really don’t care why I can’t do this that and the other any more. I’ve been in the process of reorganizing my life and re-prioritizing. (I’ll write more about that another day…) When it comes to my kids, I no longer want to put anything on the back burner if it can be done now.
So Tommy, and my other 4 children, this one is for you…
Just my kiddos and me – Summer 2013
I could never explain how much I love each of you. You guys are probably so sick of me telling you all the time, but it is true. (Okay, apparently Tommy isn’t tired of it…) These aren’t just words that I have to say nor am I making small talk. You may get tired of me stopping you to give you a hug, sending you a goofy text that ends with an “I love you” in all caps and tons of exclamation points, or saying it out of the clear blue. But I mean every word and I want to be clear to you that I do, with all of my heart, love you.
All 5 of you know how far from perfect I am and how I wish that some things had happened differently. I regret every mistake I have made that has caused you any pain. I’m sorry that because of my past mistakes we are all split in half across the country from each other. I wish that Tommy, Johnny Ben, and Molly could have grown up with Jeffrey and Becca and that you all would see each other every day. I hate that I don’t see all 5 of you on a daily basis. That does NOT mean that I love any of you more than another though. My feelings for each of you are equal. Just remember, we have had some amazing summers as a family. We have inside jokes, hobbies, and many memories that have come out of those times together. Others may think we are weird, but that’s okay. Embrace it. This is how God made us to be, a big silly family full of inside jokes, and we are happy.
At the same time, because I care so deeply for you, I will not let you just do everything you want. We have rules, consequences, and lots of talks (that you all roll your eyes at… Don’t think I don’t notice…) because I want you to have successful lives and relationships, now and when you are grown. I want you to know right from wrong, good manners, and most of all how much Jesus loves you and wants to be a part of your lives. There are times that you will be angry with me, but I will not apologize for doing my job as your mom.
Not only am I thankful to have you as my children, but I’m thankful that you all have each other as siblings. Even with the age and distance gaps, you all get along more than many other brothers and sisters I know. You all amaze me and bless me so much in many ways, but this is one area that I am extremely blessed. You may bicker and argue occasionally, but when it comes down to what matters, you all look out for and help each other. That’s awesome, thank you!
You may not see how it is possible now, but each of you have taught me so much. Whether it be how to have patience in a hospital with an unforeseen circumstance only to see God work a miracle in His time, how to pour tea like a princess, the name of a little known character in Star Wars, understanding more about the neural system, or something academic. You inspire me to better myself. Each of you blow me away with your wisdom. Yes, even Molly, who at the time of my writing this is 2. You’re all going to do great things. I know it.
It is no secret how much I love your Dad, Bobby. While we all know that Jeffrey and Becca have a different biological father that loves them as well, we were blessed when Bobby came along. He loved you both as if you had always been his and still does. You should know that he has not once referred to you as “step-children” and always as “my son and daughter”. I’m pretty crazy about that man, and he loves all of us very much as well. Even more than Cadillacs, Twinkies, and Coca Cola.
As I bring this to an end, I want to remind you that nothing in this world will ever compare to the love of Jesus. Never give up on Him, because He will never give up on you. Each of you know of times in your lives that He stepped in and touched you with healing or resolve. Never forget what He has done, and thank Him every day. I thank God every day for the privilege of being your Mom. I would go through every one of those pregnancies, labors, sleepless nights, and rough days again in a heartbeat if given the chance. Bobby and all of you are the best thing that ever happened to me outside of salvation. One more time:
I love you, Kids!!!
P.S. Tommy, thank you for asking me to write this. It’s not just for you, I needed it as well.
P.P.S. Are there flying cars? Did you guys ever talk me into going back to blonde? Write back your “past mom” and let me know about the future, ‘kay?
Just Bobby and Me – Summer 2010
If you read through all that and have made it down to the bottom of this post, I urge you to write a letter to your children to read some day. Not only will they be grateful that you did, but you will as well.
In 2002, 2 days before Mother’s Day, I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, Becca. Talk about the best Mother’s Day gift a mother could receive! I was in shock, excited, and calm. It was right. I just knew it. I had a 14 month old son, and had suffered a few miscarriages. I knew this time was going to work out just right.
On Sep. 10th, 2002, we found out she was “likely a girl”. Gotta love small towns. 😉 Her Dad and I ran out to “The Bookie” and bought her a Washington State University Cougar’s Cheerleading Uniform in an infant size. We were thrilled. A boy, Jeffrey, and now a girl! How could things be more perfect?!
A few months before I had bought Amy Grant’s “The Collection” CD. (From Columbia House! Anyone remember THAT?! And, yes, CD. MP3s were only on PCs at that time, and in my bedroom while reading, that was not available. You had to be rich to have more than one laptop that lasted more than 2 hours on battery… and wireless network? Hahaha… You’re funny…) From the time I found out I was pregnant with her I was DRAWN to this cd. I can’t even begin to explain it. The same way that while in labor with my oldest son I listened to Keith Green when I could stand noise, with her it was Amy Grant’s “The Collection”.
Becca, Jeffrey, and myself in 2006… right before Bobby came into our lives
I remember the exact moment like it was 10 seconds ago. I was in chapter 5 of “Bringing Up Boys” by Dr. James Dobson. I was listening to “The Collection” by Amy Grant when I heard a “Pop” and I felt it. The song playing was “El Shaddai”. At that moment I was lying on my left side, looking at the book, when I felt a trickle of fluid run down my left leg and a tear drop down my left cheek. I was crying and devastated. “Dear Lord, this can’t be happening. Please, let this be nothing…” I was just barely past 24 weeks and being just barely past the “Age of viability”, I knew the hospital would do little to help. I jumped up and told my then husband, who was writing a school paper, and called the Doctor. It was just after 2 am.
I was sent immediately to the hospital. I was met there by an amazing Emergency staff waiting for me with a wheel chair. They even let me park my car in the place reserved for ambulances. I was taken by wheelchair to the Maternity Ward, holding back my tears. I had been through a late miscarriage before, but nothing like this. I didn’t know what to expect. All the while I sang in my heart and head “El Shaddai”.
Becca with her step daddy, Jeffrey, and first baby brother, Tommy.
Soon after, an awesome midwife was sent in to see me. (I wish for the love of all things holy that I could remember her name. She was amazing and awesome through my entire pregnancy. Hormones, sheesh. 😉 I do know she had a love for all things electronic and was jealous for my then husband’s giant box of a laptop. (It didn’t seem like a box way back then.) If you by chance know her name or a way for me to send her an email or card, PLEASE let me know.) She sat with me for most of the many long hours that I sat there until my fear was confirmed. My amazing family Doctor, Dr Emtman, walked in with sad news. My water, had indeed, broken. I felt so guilty, somehow I was at fault for this. As much as he assured me it wasn’t my fault, I just knew I did this. I still blame myself a little for it… but it happened and nothing will change that.
2 short hours later I was on a helicopter to Spokane, WA. I couldn’t grasp what was happening. I was short on sleep, well, actually without. I was without my husband or baby, and on a HELICOPTER! The way it was set up, the helicopter had me looking towards the ground as I laid in the gurney. Freaky? LIGHTWEIGHT!
In what seemed like hours but was only minutes, I was at Deaconess Hospital. Honestly, it was all a whirlwind. I was asked so many questions. Poked, prodded, questioned, and consoled. Within minutes they caught I was contracting by my saying I had a “Horrible burning and tightening” and stopped it with MANY medications, hormones, steroids, and supplements. (To God be the Glory! The mere thought of not having my Beccarie now kills me. We almost lost her!)
Dr. Johnson (whom I cannot track down via the internet, but has been an inspiration to me ever since that Hospital stay…) met me soon after. She wiped my tears. She reminded me that GOD is in control. She saw my Bible and book (the same Bringing Up Boys book) on the vanity stand and let me know she was a Christian. She confirmed that I was in her prayers. She would tell me confidently “God told me everything is going to be okay. Don’t cry any more. Every thing is fine.”
Becca, 3 weeks old
I sat for what felt like days in that hospital room. Laid many nights alone. Ambien was prescribed, but didn’t help much. Visitors came and went, though I still appreciate them all. Gifts were brought. Food was made. My 21st birthday was celebrated… In which I received the greatest gift a mother could ever receive. A sonogram confirming that fluid levels had returned to normal, the sack had miraculously resealed itself, and my baby, my sweet Beccarie, was healthy and thriving! Praise Be to God! El Shaddai! (The lyrics of the song: El Shaddai, El Shaddai, El-Elyon na Adonai, Age to age You’re still the same, By the power of the name. El Shaddai, El Shaddai, Erkamka na Adonai, I will praise and lift You high, El Shaddai.)
After many months (felt like years) of bedrest, on January 16th, 2003 I delivered a healthy 8lb 3oz baby girly 2 weeks past her due date. Figures, right? She scored HIGH on the apgar scale and after a hearing test scare, she scored fine 2 days later and had little jaundice. Perfectly healthy. She’s the most creative, loving, courageous, steadfast little girl you’ve ever met. She’s a bit of Mommy, a bit of Daddy, influenced by her step parents evenly, and everything in between… yet a distinction of her own. I’d love her no other way. She is the daughter God gave me, and I am blessed.
Months after her birth, the only music that calmed her was “Lullaby” being hummed (yes, hummed, not played) to her or Amy Grant’s “The Collection” on CD. Naturally, when El Shaddai came on, I cried. He was telling me all along it would be fine, and I didn’t listen. I should have known. So human, right? LOL
The entire time I laid in bedrest though, this was the song I wanted my little girl to sing. She may or may not choose to do so, that is up to her… But it’s her song from her Mama’s heart regardless:
Look up the entire album on iTunes or Amazon. I highly recommend it. (I’m a bit old school… 😉 )