Most of my Mother's Days throughout the years have been, as my daughter's pastor put it yesterday, "complex"--
fraught with pain, guilt, loss, bitterness, anxiety, jealousy, and other things.
I say that to be perfectly honest that, while I thoroughly enjoyed my day yesterday and am pleased with my children and proud to be their mom, I completely understand the woman who feels like a failure--
with toddlers and teens alike,
who has skipped church on Mother's Day because she has lost babies and all she could do was cry through the whole service,
who has made excuses not to be with her own mother because of tension in the relationship,
who has felt too guilty about her mistakes made in anger or out of fear that she doesn't want to be lumped into the category of deserving of praise.
I've been the Christian mom who has felt that way, done those things. I've been the one who wouldn't accept Christ's forgiveness even when He said, "I will remember them no more."
But yesterday was different. Yesterday showed me that I'm not that same woman, not that guilt-ridden, self-loathing mother, bitter daughter who used to dread Mother's Day.
I'm not the woman who stayed home to avoid pregnant moms or little babies because she simultaneously grieved for her own babies in heaven and felt as if God wasn't hearing her prayers for just one more baby of her own.
Yesterday I was the changed woman who understood God's love in a deeper way than she's ever felt as a mother.
I was the mother who was invited to church by her daughter, and who went eagerly, and appreciated the pastor's tenderness in his message. He talked about the woman that Jesus saw in the funeral procession on the way to bury her son.
I said a prayer for my friend, Sandy, whose 26 year old died on May 11, 2006. I'm grateful that she is not bitter toward God. I am beyond thrilled that He gave her twin grandbabies right before Mother's Day this year.
Yesterday I was the daughter who looked forward to seeing her mother and didn't hold anything against her. The daughter who told her mom to watch out for the dip in the driveway and held her chair steady while she sat down. I was the daughter who filled an entire card with sincere thanks to her for all she has done for me, for us. I was the daughter who couldn't wait till Mother's Day to give her mom some flowers, so delivered them in secret to her doorstep.
Yesterday I got to see three generations of our family together.
My parents are the last living grandparents that
my children and their spouses have.
Yesterday I was the older sister who received a gorgeous FTD bouquet sent from her childless-by-choice younger sister who always has high praises for me. Too high.
Yesterday I was the older sister who got to play with her baby sister's baby girl to my heart's content. This was a first Mother's Day for that sister. Aren't they precious together?
Yesterday I got to watch my daughter walk her little cousin around and get the backache I used to get when I walked my daughter around like this.
The girls in this family seem to be loaded with maternal mania.
That's very attractive to their mates and wannabe mate.
Yesterday I was the younger sister who got a call from her older sister wishing her Happy Mother's Day. Wishing we could all be together but it's kind of a 3-day drive or an all-day flight.
Yesterday I was the not the only one who wondered if this was a 4th of July party instead of a Mother's Day party.
There was a lot of red-white-and-blue happening. And, for the record, the man in blue stripes says he was just scratching his nose.
Yesterday I was Momma Z, who got a sweet card from the big man in red in that second corn hole photo. The man who has only been in our lives for a couple of months but fits in oh-so-easily. The man who loves landscaping so much that he has offered to redo ours out front next weekend, and suggested purple and yellow as a theme. How did he know I love that combo?
This mom is very grateful for the help she's had in raising good men and a good woman. What a pleasant thing to know, day in and day out, that our efforts have not been in vain.
And because of yesterday's pleasant, deep-down, thank-you-God moments, my memories of it will forever be a highlight.