Some of us are breathing again, on this day after Mother’s Day.
The ones breathing again today lost babies during pregnancy or at birth. The ones breathing today grieve not being able to conceive a child in their womb, only in their heart and mind. The ones breathing today buried a child, lost their own mother to death, or watched her fade away because of memory loss. The ones breathing today have strained relationships with their children, or their own moms. It hurts.
It hurts on Mother’s Day and the days in between, but especially on Mother’s Day.
On the second Sunday in May we show up to a day of celebration with our pain. We show up with joy and love and gratitude, too – to whatever is present. We recognize our story’s uniqueness in its universality. We remember. We celebrate the best way we know how, and we feel all the conflicted emotions for ourselves and for others who hurt. Sometimes, we forget to breathe.
Today we breathe. Mother’s Day and all the baggage we pack into it is behind us.
I woke up today ready to breathe. My conflicted feelings around Mother’s Day 2016 began a few days ago, but they arose from silence. My silence. I’ve publicly celebrated being the mother of two boys. I’ve celebrated my mother, my grandmothers, my aunt, and other women who through the years nurtured me and taught me how to be brave, strong, and wise. But the past few years, apart from sharing my heart with the people closest to me as I’ve been able to process events and move through them, I’ve largely been silent about part of my life.
Something, someone, has been missing from my public celebrations of motherhood, and it’s time for me to be more brave, more strong, more wise.
For 23 years, I observed Mother’s Day with a hole in my heart. I ached but didn’t altogether feel that I deserved to. Yesterday marked the fifth Mother’s Day, though, that this hole has been healing, that this young woman has been in my life.
This is my daughter.
She’s also someone else’s daughter. I gave birth to her, but two other amazing parents raised this spitfire from infancy. For 23 years, I didn’t know who. I didn’t know where. In 2012, after miracle upon miracle lined up, Paige and I found each other. The journey has been nothing short of breathtaking, as God’s creation often is. I’ve met her parents and her brother. She’s formed relationships with me and my family, and with her birth father and his family. Our journey continues, with God directing and guiding it.
But each time I think about keeping this miracle story from someone important to me, I feel the breath sucked out of me, and not in a good way. There’s no easy way to bring it up to someone out of the blue. I’m tired of wondering who in my life knows about Paige, who doesn’t, and what they think.
I’m ready to show up to life more fully, because I know what God does with that when I do.
God’s work is breathtakingly wonderful. And today we all can breathe.
Have you been silent about something for too long, too? I started writing this early this morning, after my thoughts from the past several days began to line up. And then, before I finished writing, on the way to the gym, I listened to this Rob Bell podcast, episode 92, “Learning to Lament – Part 1 – The Culture of Denial.” It continued to validate these nudges I’ve been having that it’s time for me to speak. If you’ve been silent for too long, too, maybe this will help encourage you as well. Click here for the RobCast episode.
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