The Other Mothers

 

Mother’s Day.

It gets more emotional for me each and every year.

There’s the obvious reasons:

~I miss going on a picnic with my mom on Mother’s Day. I live too far away to travel to her favorite spot.
~I will never carry a baby in my womb or marvel at my husband’s features in a tiny face. That loss quietly lives in my heart each day.
~I have an increasing number of children in my home who call me “mom.” My heart nearly breaks with it’s fullness.
~I have children out there in the world that I have loved and hugged and kissed. I miss them. And I wonder how they are. Where they are. If they are safe.
~I get special notes, letters, and school projects all week. I love those precious gifts of love from my children. I cry every single time.

But there’s one emotion that I really struggle to define. It’s hard for me to explain. I can’t find the right words and yet it grows deeper and heavier each year.

There are other mothers out there who love one or more of my children. Who don’t know how they are. Or where they are. Or if they are safe. Other mothers who are missing what I have. Other mothers who don’t receive the notes, letters, and school projects. No hugs or kisses. No “Happy Mother’s Day!!!” joyfully shouted from little lips.

How do I explain to you the contrasting emotions that are intertwined in ways I cannot separate? How can I tell you that they swirl together in a depth that I don’t even really understand? And yet, every time I look into those beautiful brown eyes, or see the joyful smiles, or hear the reckless abandon of their laughter, I feel both joy and grief swelling up inside of me until I am nearly overwhelmed.

There is so much that I have with each of my children. And yet, I have lost so much. She has those moments. I will never get them. But there is also so much that she has lost that I now get to claim.

My blessed and full state has come at the price of her loss and emptiness.

Her gift of life is mine to cherish and nurture. Mine to feed and tend.

The moments I have lost in each childhood are hers but I trade them for all the milestones that I get to see and cheer on.

I know she couldn’t keep them. I know she made mistakes. I know that she caused them pain. But I also know how much she loved them.

I know because I have seen her tears. I have listened to the stories that her child tells. I have watched the pain sweep across her face when she looks at their picture or hands them back to me at the end of a visit. I have watched her choose to give them up. And I have watched her fight to keep them.

I know she loved them. I know she thinks of them. I know she misses them. And my heart breaks for her.

While I rejoice and revel in the abundance that I have been entrusted with, I also weep with the pain of her loss.
While I receive the pictures and cards, I remember her empty hands.
While I snap picture after picture of my adorable little blessings, I think of all the memories she doesn’t have.

When I wish I could sleep in longer…
When I sigh over the stack of dishes in the sink (and on the counter and on the table)…
When I break up another squabble…
When I look like a harried, sweaty madwoman after just buckling everyone into their car seats…
When my arms ache, and my feet hurt…

I remember.

These are the privileges, the signs of motherhood.

And she doesn’t get to experience them any longer.

And so my heart weeps. And my heart rejoices. My eyes light up with joy. And my eyes shadow with pain. My arms are full and I sigh in the fulfillment and the sorrow.

~~~~~     ~~~~~     ~~~~~     ~~~~~     ~~~~~     ~~~~~     ~~~~~     ~~~~~     ~~~~~

I weep for you, my child’s other mother.
My knees buckle at the thought of your pain.
I mourn for you, my child’s other mother.
Your arms are empty and your heart is broken.

I’m thankful for you, my child’s other mother.
So thankful you gave my child life.
I’m indebted to you, my child’s other mother.
The gift I have been given can never be repaid.

I pray for you, my child’s other mother.
Asking that God would draw you to Himself.
I beg for you, my child’s other mother.
Pleading for my Father to reveal His Son that was given for you.

May God bless you and keep you, my child’s other mother.
May He comfort you in His presence.
May God turn His face towards you, my child’s other mother.
May He show favor to you and give you grace.

 

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