This morning both of my lovely children rolled out of their beds around 5:50 am. They actually lined up patiently next to each other and let me change their diapers assembly line style, which is a gift in the wee morning hours.
As I kissed on my daughter’s tummy I marveled at the fact that her birthday is a week out, she’s going to be three. We plan on making her birthday celebration a week long event and my mind immediately starting singing my Mother’s “Almost a Birthday Girl” song, which she sang to us without fail when our birthdays were coming up.
It’s Mother’s Day this weekend and there are a lot of beautiful posts out there that have spoken to my heart on celebrating Mother’s day differently, IE without a mom. So I’m not going to write that today.
I know that most of the time I share the heartache and grief associated with being the daughter of a mentally ill mama. However that isn’t the whole story, not by a long shot, under the crust of pain there are thousands of lovely memories and lately I’ve been digging for them.
I don’t delve too deep into the theology of heaven and it surprises even me how little I think about it. But somewhere inside of myself I feel like my parents are tuning in, I can’t define it or explain it and I am fully willing to admit that this belief may be all about meeting my needs, but either way I don’t see the harm.
I fully that my mom is whole and restored in heaven with God and that she doesn’t feel pain or sadness. Which means that my worry that she feels misrepresented by me on earth is ill founded. She’s at peace, yet still I feel compelled to honor her this weekend by sharing all the ways she succeeded and the moments where the beautiful person underneath the depression shone through.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom, this weekend I will shout to the world all the things you did right, the acts that penetrated through your depression and changed the way I do motherhood.
1) You couldn’t wait to be a mom, you even tried to convince Dad to start getting you mother’s day gifts before you were pregnant.
2) You read me whatever book I thrust into your hands and this is likely what inspired my love for reading and words.
3) You grew the most beautiful geraniums in the back yard and often cut them into bouquets to share with friends.
4) You would often gather all three of us to the kitchen rug to share slices of cheese or a carton of yogurt as we sat around you eagerly awaiting our turn like baby birds with open mouths.
5) Every winter you would bring me fresh, warm bran muffins as I sat on the heating register “Sucking up all the heat” as Dad would say.
6) You made our halloween costumes, even if we were hobos in overalls for five years straight.
7) You drove me the 40 miles round trip to Children’s Bible Hour Choir every week without fail or complaint.
8) You took on a waitressing job to keep us in Christian School, because you believed it was the best thing for us and you were willing to deliver coffee and burgers to crabby dutch people to make it happen.
9) You made sure I made it to every orthodontist appointment for the SEVEN. YEARS I had braces on my crazy teeth.
10) When I didn’t want cake for my birthday you put candles in a coconut cream pie.
11) You let me sing to you and took me all the way to Toronto to see the Phantom of the Opera when it was my total obsession in middle school.
12) In High school when the girls were too mean, you picked me up crying from the office and took me on what you called “An Emotional Day Off.”
13) You did my toe nails for prom because I was too worried that I would mess up my manicure.
14) You always spent your work bonuses on your kids and one year bought us all all electric blankets because you worried we were too cold in the basement.
15) You were my biggest fan and my best cheerleader, you told me this often.
16) You made hundreds of meatballs by hand and without complaint for my graduation party.
17) You and Dad moved me into my first apartment when I was too busy working three jobs to do it myself.
18) You weren’t weirded out at all when I met an Oklahoma boy on the internet.
19) You tried really hard to sing Lady Gaga.
20) You loved being a grandmother and I think it kept you going for a while in the end.
21) You would spent whatever extra money you had to fly Noelle and I home for a visit because you said it kept you sane, even though we usually ended up fighting.
22) When Money was tight you sent checks to make sure I could afford co-pays to take myself to the doctor.
23) You taught me to kiss my babies, right on the lips.
24) The way you played “Little Mousey” when you tickled Noelle, she still remembers it somehow.
25) You never stopped telling me how proud you were of me as a Mom, almost daily
26) You had your estate set up so well that it was easy to take care of and you paid for my college in the end.
I love you mom and I miss all that you were and I ache for all that we didn’t get to share.
So Hi reader, I know that this post might make you sad but please know that it’s one of the most healing things I have done in a while, so intently bright and positive for my heart.
It’s so easy to criticize our moms, especially before we find ourselves on the motherhood journey.
I encourage all of us as much as we are able to take our focus off what our Mother’s didn’t do right and make a list like this because no mother gets it perfect.
Let’s all view this mother’s day in the light of grace and do as much as we can to honor the women who gave and sustained our lives.
I’d love to read a few things from your life, and if you knew my Mom and want to add to my list, I’d love that too.