It’s Saturday morning and I am in bed with coffee and both the time and motivation to write.

I can’t remember the last time that happened.

I am enjoying the fullness of life with perhaps the most open heart I have ever allowed myself to have. There are no pits in my stomach. No trepidation (and no pending treachery, which usually leads me to feel trepidation, and aren’t “tr” alliterations great?) There is no event coming up that I am dreading, no one I am avoiding, and nothing that I am hiding from.

Thank You, Jesus!

~

Rod is traveling a lot for his new job, back in the telecommunications industry. For a moment, we let ourselves dread that, but now we’re just dealing. It’s hard to be apart, but not as hard these days with Jetson-like applications that allow us all to see each other while we’re talking. Also, gainful employment softens the blow.

Our household is, therefore, taking new shape. Paige is home from college (and she empties the dishwasher without being asked!) and Josh & Kirsten will arrive in 2 weeks and likely stay with us for a few. Mom and Larry are visiting for a few weeks from Ohio. All of this is good, because Mama is crazy-busy with her new job, and I mean that in the best possible way. I am doing something I love, with crazy-wonderful people.

~

Mama. Does it seem silly to refer to myself as such? I don’t care, really. It is the most beautiful of all my nicknames. Tomorrow is all about the mamas, and I cherish it with every part of me. I cherish those two little crazy-miraculous people who bestow the title on me 1786 times a day. I cherish watching them learn new things, from how to spell their last names to how to make an even-sillier face. I cherish watching them reach over and hold each other’s hands or hearing them sing along together. I cherish how much Miranda looks like Rod when she is sleeping and how much Kaity still looks like a baby when she is sleeping. I cherish that there are two people who, more than anyone in the world, are a gateway for my heart. I love them without ever thinking for a second whether they will accept it. We just are. Mama and baby. Mother and child. Soul to soul.

our traveling selves

As a bonus, I have two people who let me “mama” them, regardless of whether I have the title or not. That is crazy-generous of them, and a miracle in its own right.

Harrier Josh & Skinnier Me
Candied in 2005

So Mother’s Day is basically like Christmas for me, and I don’t mean presents, though those are nice (I think the cookbook holder on my wishlist will have to wait, since I got a new lovely MacBook Air this week. Oh, it is pretty. And it was necessary, because my sweet little Thinkpad finally threw in the towel after a hard, long run). It is a day that I embrace with my whole self, on which I bask – mean BASK, y’all – in the gift of motherhood. And not just my own motherhood, though that is at the tippy-top of my list. I also mean –

– my mom. I am her only daughter. I talk to her at least once a day most days. And though this is our first Mother’s Day apart from each other, I’m so grateful that she is young, healthy, alive, and wide open to a future sharing in her kids’ and grandkids’ lives.

KK, Gramma, & Randa

– my sisters. Those sisters, that we make by choice. Those are the only ones I have. And many of them are mommies who share this crazy-beautiful journey of raising children with me. I am blessed to have sisters who match the different phases of it I am in at the same time: raising pre-schoolers, raising teenagers, trying-not-to-raise young adults. We pray for each other’s kids. We love each other’s kids. We share it.

Aunt Jen & KK

 

Maggie Moo & me
Martha and her beautiful daughter/fellow-chocolate-lover Mia
My glowy sis-in-law and her two babies!

– my Gramma. She is 94 and still gives amazing hugs and loud laughs. How blessed am I to still have a gramma at this point in my life, one who loves me and my husband and my kids? And I was also blessed as a child, to have another Gramma who doted and spoiled and welcomed me, always. I miss her…and I often see her when I look in the mirror.

– my bonuses. There are many women in my life who have stepped in to be momish when I needed it. And obviously, since we moved here, and since we navigated some really tough times since we moved here, I’ve needed it. So I’m thankful for those big hugs and Kleenexes and stern lectures and encouraging words that are given freely, thankful for the ladies who love on (one of my favorite southern terms: love on) us as though they’ve known us forever.

– my kids’ teachers. I’m so grateful for them this year. They each have a story of their own, stories that have touched my life this year. And they each have loved my daughters and taught them so much.

– every single-mother in the world. Seriously. Women who are accomplishing this job of supporting, raising, housekeeping, managing without the aid of a partner and without winding up in a padded cell impress the crap out of me. In fact, I encourage you, if you are able, to bless a single mom this Mother’s Day – make her family a dinner, give her a gift card for a free coffee, offer to fold her laundry.

~

Even as I bask, though, I know…I know Mother’s Day is devastating for some. There are those, small and grown, who have no mom to celebrate with. For some, the loss is recent. For some (I’m thinking of a little girl I saw in tears yesterday during the school festivities), it is incomprehensible. For all, it is untouchable. Children are supposed to have their moms, and being without them seems against the laws of nature. May they feel the Father’s love strongly as they think of and miss and dream of their mamas.

And there are the mamas without children. Oh boy, that is a heart check that still takes my breath away. I was one of them once, shrinking into my seat during the “all the mothers stand up” part of the church service. It’s confusing to have a mama heart and no child in your arms. May their hearts overflow with love and their arms be full.

And the last group I think of, well…a mama who has lost her child is somewhat of a tragic folk hero to me. I am devastated myself when I meet someone who has experienced this or read stories about it. I can’t imagine having the strength, even with faith in God, to get through it. I think of Rod’s grandma, who buried 3 of her children, or a special friend of mine at a church we attended, who lost 5 children at birth. I feel like they should wear war paint and carry a bow and arrow; they are the strongest of the strong for bearing that and making it through.  May the God of comfort bring joy unspeakable to them.

~

I am going to celebrate Mother’s Day by going to my amazing church in its brand new building, along with my husband, three daughters, in-laws, and a group of great friends. After that, there will likely be lunch somewhere, and after that, we are going to one of my favorite places in the world:

The Beach (view from River City Cafe, Surfside Beach)

And as always, I’m going to think about my story: how an infertile stepmom had 2 babies in 15 months and grew into her mama-heart:

2008: My first Mother's Day as a mom-of-4!

I encourage you to love someone tomorrow. It doesn’t matter if it’s momish love. It only matters that you do it with your whole heart.

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