Mother's Day: A Retrospective
Mother's Day 2018
Jetlag is the name of the game today. Mother's Day greetings from four of my five kids, so I guess I did something 80% right. On the other hand, I am sure that I have received far more than I have given to this motherhood thing, and I am 100% grateful for every silly, hard, messy, marvelous moment. Since I don't seem to have enough functioning brain cells to write something profound, I thought I would share a sampling of Mother's Day Past as recorded on my Facebook timeline.
Happy Mother's Day.
Mother's Day 2012
Happy Mother's Day!
I have spent mine being lazy, eating fresh baked coffee cake, reading a friend's first novel and watching the finale of the Amazing Race with my five kids. Yup, about perfect.
Mother's Day 2013
Sending special Mother's Day wishes for those moms waiting to hold their children for the first time. Btdt and I know how empty those arms can feel. On Mother's Day in 1997 I had been waiting 11 months for a referral that should have taken a month. My heart was broken in pieces wondering if there would ever be a phone call telling me I had a daughter. I had precious calls that day from friends who were also waiting and sweet friends who had received their calls and knew how hard that day would be for me. I will never forget their kindness. I will also never forget the Monday after Mother's Day when the phone rang and I heard the words I thought would never come, "You have a daughter".
Fast forward 8 years to Mother's Day 2005, when the Civil Affairs office in Zhengzhou opened on a Sunday to expedite my third daughter's adoption. No more meaningful day to welcome her into my family.
Mother's Day 2014
I had a lovely Mother's Day and am wishing the same for all those moms whose day is just beginning. In addition to peanut butter chocolate chip muffins for breakfast, adorable hand made cards, and being taken out to dinner (and NOT having to pay - a first!) by my daughters, Mother's Day is always a time of reflection. It feels a little odd that *Mother's Day* is supposed to be about me. For me it's about the ones who call me Mom. I have been blessed beyond anything I could have ever dreamed or hoped by each of them, whether they came into my life through birth or adoption, by marriage or even for a season. I am so thankful for each of them and thank them for the privilege of knowing and loving and being loved by them on my good days and those other days, too. I thank God for giving me more arrows in my quiver than I could have ever imagined possible and pray daily for the strength and wisdom to be the mom they need me to be. I think how quickly these 26 years of motherhood have flown by and know that while I will be a mother as long as I live, the days of day-to-day mothering are all too quickly passing, and the end of that phase is nearly in sight. At the same time, this Mother's Day is one of great anticipation, as we celebrate with a new mother-to-be in our family.
Of course, no Mother's Day passes without thoughts of the moms who are silent shadows in our lives: those who gave life but whose names we do not know and the one who left this world too soon.
Mother's Day 2015
Mother's Day. The best of times and the worst of times. Definitely a mixed bag of thoughts and emotions for me. I love my kids and I love being a mom: I think that's clear to anyone who knows me even a little, so it is nice to have a day that celebrates the not-so-little blessings that made me a mom and to share the day with a new generation in our family.
But I also think of the mothers who aren't here but stand silently in the shadows of our hearts. My own mom left this world much too young; she never saw her babies all grown, missed so many special moments and never saw me walk in her mom-steps. Even after all these years, it's sad not having someone to say Happy Mother's Day to.
I also can't help but think of the three nameless women who gave birth to my daughters. I can't help but wonder what the words "Happy Mother's Day" feel like to them: a bittersweet allusion to what could have been or a cruel reminder of impossible choices and eternal regret.
So, "Happy Mother's Day"? Maybe not so much. What I feel is grateful, deeply grateful -- grateful for a mom who taught me well and loved me completely if not long enough, grateful for all the amazing young people who call me mom and grateful for the newest mom in the Laurie line and all the joy that lies ahead for her. May you all have much to be grateful for this Mother's Day.
Mother's Day 2017
The cycle of Mother's Days:
1) Toddler days when you get up at the crack of dawn, change diapers, cook and ooh and aah over crafts done in daycare and Sunday school. You are kind of jealous of the mommies getting breakfast in bed or dinner out, but it's all good.
2) School days when you give them money and drive them to the mall so they can buy *interesting* treasures that you will feign surprise when opening. Breakfast in bed! You are confined to bed long past when you would actually like to be up and wonder what takes an hour to prepare and what the kitchen will look like. Breakfast arrives consisting of poptarts, banana and orange juice because they aren't allowed to use the stove. The handmade cards and hibiscus from the garden are precious. To avoid cooking we go out to dinner. I drive and pay.
3) Ah, big brother can now use the stove! He corrals the little girls, pulls off a coffeecake, hot tea and the obligatory banana. Handmade cards and a flower made by the toddler complete the tray, which arrives about an hour before you'd like to get up, but...all good! Dinner out (I still pay).
4) Breakfast is a group effort, comes at a decent hour, cards are a mix of homemade and store bought. Brother can even drive so there are gifts that I didn't pay for and don't know what they are! I don't mind buying dinner.
5) Brother is off to college. Breakfast is poptarts, banana and orange juice because they aren't allowed to use the stove. The handmade cards and hibiscus from the garden are precious. To avoid cooking we go out to dinner. I drive and pay.
6) Big sister is big, and we live in China so everyone can easily get to the store to buy their own treasures though I may have to provide some cash. Breakfast in bed is coffeecake or muffins, hot tea and that banana. Flowers are strictly homemade as there is no garden. Dinner is at home because...Chinese food.
7) All the bigs have flown the nest, just the baby is left at home. No, she isn't very little anymore, but she is the special child. As I got up this morning she yelled from her bed, "Don't make cookies, I'll make them." Well, I wasn't making cookies anyway, I was making the coffeecake...and the hot tea, will go out later to get bananas. And now it's 4pm and guess what? No cookies. But she did just come in with two lovely red roses. Another perfect Mother's Day.
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About This Blog
Part documentary, part family chronicle and part personal reflection as I try to sort through the ups and downs, the joys, heartaches and surprises of our life and work as we follow the path that God has set for us here in China!
Kristen to continue to adjust to college life and find good friends.
Donna to have wisdom in planning and implementing new programs for the youth and for financial provision to cover our expenses.