As Mother's Day has just passed, I must write some reflections about the day that celebrates the phenomenal woman who goes through and sacrifices so much so that her offspring may feel the undeniable love that is within her. I look back on the day that many used to express their gratitude for and to celebrate this great woman and I can't help but be thankful that I did have that mother growing up. I also grew up with grandmothers and aunts who were a part of that village that is needed to raise a child. Now, I also have two great mother-in-laws who have done nothing but take me into their arms as if I was their own daughter. For these people, I tried to make sure that they felt our appreciation for their love and sacrifices throughout the years. For all of the mothers who work so hard to raise their children, I wanted to celebrate them. However, when it came to me celebrating this holiday, I felt so far from deserving of this honor that I was trying to think of every excuse to become "too busy" on that day. In fact, knowing my husband's heart, I told him ahead of time that I did not want to celebrate it for myself and that I wanted to focus on those who really do the work of mothering.
Although I am here for the day to day raising of my Bonus Daughter and now our niece, I still have struggled with the notion of not feeling like a mother. In my mind, I know that I am doing all of the motherly duties and all that I do is because I love and care for them, but I have been struggling with the feeling that I am nothing more than a filler for their biological mothers who can't seem to see the blessing that is before them, a precious child. These feelings have been further magnified by the continuous grieving of the little one that I never got a chance to hold. Although the Lord does things for a reason, I still wonder if he felt that I would not be good at parenting and took our gift for his own care. I have allowed that thought to cause me to feel that somehow, I don't deserve the honor of being called Mom. This among other feelings has made it hard for me to accept the fact that this holiday may include me. Before Sunday arrived, someone helped me to realize that I needed to release the gift that was taken into the arms of the Lord and pray that I can accept that my family did start in a way that I never imagined, but it is still a blessing from the Lord.
After prayer, I felt better about going into Mother's Day, but I still had some reservations about accepting the Mother's Day greetings. Although, I asked my husband not to do anything for me on that day, he and the children came to me after church with the most thoughtful gifts and cards that nearly made me cry. My Bonus Daughter gave me a card that stated "Mom", my niece gave me an "Auntie" card, and my husband gave me a card that let me know how he appreciated my role in their lives. I was so touched and realized at that moment, that mothers are not necessarily the ones who give birth to a baby. They are not necessarily the ones who name the child or change their first diaper. They are not necessarily the ones who see the child once or twice a year, sends them a random gift, and think everything is OK. They are not necessarily the ones who let everyone know that they are a mother, while putting no real actions behind it. However, they are the ones who make daily sacrifices of love, time, attention, protection, instruction, and care. I am now thankful that God has placed me in the lives of two young girls who may not have had the chance to have a consistent mother figure in their lives. And while I am nurturing and helping them, their presence in my life has made me a better person. Motherhood is an honor, whether they come from your womb or not. So I say to all of the mothers, whether you are a mother, grandmother, godmother, auntie, adoptive mother, bonus mother, mother's-to-be, those who have a heart to be a mother, those who take children into their heart and home, and those who make a difference in the lives of the children around them, Happy Mother's Day, everyday!!