I don't really have vivid memories of Mother's Day celebrations of the past. For the most part, they all just seem to run together and be pretty much the same. We always tried to make the day special for Mom, but I guess that's how it goes when you're the child, not the mother. But I can vividly remember the last two Mother's Days.
Two years ago, I remember sitting in church praying fervently that it would be the last year that I wasn't a mother. I hadn't yet convinced David that it was time for us to start a family, but I was certainly trying!
Last year, I couldn't even bear to go to church, because I was still hurting so badly from the miscarriage we'd had in February. I didn't want to hear about how wonderful it was to be a mother. I didn't want to hear the sermon about what makes a godly woman/mother. I didn't want to watch women be recognized as mothers when my own child had been taken from me. Instead of going to church, I cleaned house and made lunch for my Mom, stepdad, sister, brother-in-law, and husband and tried to put on a happy face. They all knew I was hurting, though. Before she went home that afternoon, my wonderful mother gave me my first Mother's Day gift...a Willow Tree angel (the Angel of Healing) and a poem she'd written about our loss. Then, a couple of hours later, Leslie (one of my very best friends) came by to just be with me for a few minutes. She'd experienced two miscarriages in the year prior, and was so supportive for me during my loss. It meant so much for Leslie and Mom to recognize me as a mother on that day. I believe wholeheartedly that a woman becomes a mother the moment a child is conceived...but not everyone else does. That they thought of me gave me some validation.
This year, several people have wished me a happy "first Mother's Day." I just smiled and said thank you, but in my heart and mind, I said, "Oh, it's not my first Mother's Day, it's my second." But this one has been a good one. I've grown so much during the last year. I can say now that our first baby, while we only knew about him or her for about 5 or 6 weeks, taught me so very much. That child taught me about love, forgiveness, letting go, and brought me closer to my God. I can also see now that God did answer that prayer two years ago...He did make me a mother before the next Mother's Day. It just wasn't the way that I had planned. And that's another thing I've learned to embrace: that my time is completely imperfect, but His is impeccable. I don't understand why things have happened the way they have in the past year, but I accept that I don't have to know. I know this: if I hadn't experienced that loss last Feburary, I would not have been able to offer support, love, and encouragement to a number of women in my life who have recently lost children. Maybe that's part of the reason it happened...and maybe it's not. It doesn't matter. What matters is that I've chosen to trust rather than doubt, and to move on rather than dwell on something I had no control over.
This year, I can say that I fully appreciate the gift that God is giving me in ways that I never could have before. I have done my very best not to take lightly the huge responsibility I've had for the last eight months as this child has grown inside me. I cherish every kick in the ribs, smile every time I feel him or her moving around inside me, and breathe a sigh of relief every time I hear his or her heartbeat. I'm now just about three weeks (!) away from my due date, and I just can't wait to meet this little miracle. I sometimes wonder what I've done to deserve this gift, and I hope that God will be pleased with the way we raise our baby. We're still trying to decide on names for Sprout, but one thing has been decided: if Sprout is a boy, his middle name will be Samuel. After our first loss, when we were finally able to start trying again, I took much comfort in reading the Biblical account of Hannah and her prayers for a child. I love 1 Samuel 1:27: "For this child I have prayed, and the Lord has granted my request." In fact, it was one of the final contenders for the quote painted above Sprout's crib. Instead, I think we will use it on Sprout's birth announcements...whether Sprout is a girl or a boy, because I can't think of any better way to put our feelings into words. We have prayed wholeheartedly for the better part of a year for this child, and the Lord has granted our request. And for that, we are so very thankful.