Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day: Ramee

Happy Mother's Day!
Today is a day of celebration!
As I read through the amazing posts that my friends so kindly wrote for me to share this week, I was inspired by their words.  These women are impeccable mothers and I feel grateful every day that I get to share in this role with them.
I struggled with how to adequately write my feelings about this special day.  To be honest, there is no way to accurately describe the feelings that are so deeply etched in my heart about motherhood.
Motherhood is my calling.  It is my divine role. 
It is absolutely, without a doubt, my God-given purpose for this life. 
As a little girl, about my oldest daughter's age, I can remember dreaming of what it would be like to be a mother.  Inside of me was always this burning desire to have a child (or many children.)  In fact, I can't remember ever not wanting to be 'just a mom' when I grew up. 
There was no way of knowing then that being 'just a mom' was so challenging and so rewarding.  Simultaneously this role is both exhilarating and maddening.  It's beautiful and chaotic.  It is amazing and exhausting.  This role of being a mother is the single most important thing I will ever do in this life and I know it.  I've always known it. 
And that is why I set out long ago to make sure I do it right. 
My childhood dream included all of the things that I had for so long in my life. 
A husband, healthy pregnancies, a church, a big white house, lots of friends, a family dog and laughing, growing children. 
I'll never forget pulling in the paved driveway of my old, beautiful home one day long ago and thinking to myself that it was all too good to be true.  This couldn't possibly be my life.  What did I do to be so blessed?  How did I get so lucky?  When would the bottom fall out?
Premonition or by God's nudging, my heart was uncertain that life would remain so well put together.  Deep down inside of myself I think I always knew that I would be exactly where I am today.
But even in that, I didn't know that 'where I am today' would be so incredibly beautiful and fulfilling!   Where I am today is cuddled beside the perfectly round head of a sleeping redheaded boy.  Age 6.  Pure and funny.  Unscathed and incredibly innocent.  He snores when he sleeps and screams much of the time that he's awake.  He brings me so much happiness and adds laughter to my life that I didn't know I was missing.  I have never known a heart so good.  This year I have gotten to enjoy the child that God created Him to be, without alterations or distractions.  Undefiled and uninfluenced, this little boy is a rock star human and I am so lucky to be his mommy. 

Who would have known that 'where I am today' would land me right smack in the middle of picking up the pieces of a little girl's broken heart.  My first baby and my dream come true, she still takes my breath away.  Recently her freckles scattered across the bridge of her nose and onto the cheekbones that redden when she speaks shyly to someone new.  I melt when I see her work up the courage to talk about something that is terrifying but essential.  I have never been more proud of something in my entire life than I am of this girl, my Nora. 
She is so full of courage.  She knows what she wants and is stubborn enough to get it, almost always.  She is ruthless in an argument but perfectly tender.  I have witnessed her fall perfectly into the oldest child role this year as she helps feed her sister and encourage her brother.  She is delicate and darling but guarded and strong. 
This Mother's Day is even more special to me because I feel like Nora and I have earned it this year.  We walked through a lot of hard days together and yet tonight she draped herself across me on the couch and curled tightly inside of my arms.  She whispered, "I love you, mommy.  I love you so much."  I replied with the same and ran my fingers through her soft, long, red hair.  I told her how deeply she is loved, how special and important she is, and how very proud of her I am.  I felt her body relax and I held her closer. 
It doesn't happen often.  I breathed her in.
When I was a little girl I never envisioned that having my own little girls would be so fulfilling and also so heartbreaking.  This Mother's Day, like every holiday, is unbelievably emotional for me. 
"Will this be the last mother's day that she is in my arms?"
"How will I feel when I can only hold two of my children?"
"How will I ever fill the gap between Heaven and earth when she is no longer here?"
I see all three of my children together and I could literally weep at the thoughts that invade my mind.  How unfair is it that there are mother's who have had to bury their children?  How unfair is it that there are mothers who are anticipating doing so?  How unfair is it that there are daughters who have to endure this day without being able to hear their mother's voice because they are no longer with them?
It's horrifying and yet, reality.
This year I have celebrated being a mother every single day.  There hasn't been one moment that has passed me by that I haven't felt overwhelmingly humbled to be a mom to these kids. 
Quite literally with every step that I take, with every task that I am busied in, whether it appears so or not, I feel nothing but joyful.  I would hope that I would have felt this way with or without Mabel's disease but to be honest, I'm not quite sure if that is true. 
Mabel and batten disease have given me such a deep gift, and that gift is the knowing that each and every second is precious.  It is important.  It matters.  It is fleeting and will never return. 
My life as a mom is intentional. 

Time is such a thief.  I look at the blue eyes that surround me, made up of genetics and given to me perfectly by the hand of our Creator, and I am in awe.  I cannot believe how time is escaping me.  I will always be a mother and I am so incredibly thankful but I won't always be a mom to this Nora, this Braden and this Mabel.  They will grow, change, evolve, thrive, and even reach Heaven before I know it.  These days with these children will be over far too soon.
'Where I am today' is one year and 3 months into single parenting. 
'Where I am today' is not in the big white house where I thought our children would grow and call home for a lifetime.
'Where I am today' is not with three healthy children, but with two.
'Where I am today,' on this Mother's Day, is nothing like where I dreamed I would be. 
I wake up in a home that we just recently moved into and made ours.  It is new, small, quaint, and fits us well. It is perfect.  I start my days fighting with two very tired children about getting out of bed for school.  For an entire hour they cry and resist.  I make breakfast beside sacked lunches, brush teeth, brush hair, pack backpacks, match socks, hug necks and send them on their way.  I come home to this quiet little house and flop Mabel's limp body across mine so she can drink her morning bottle, most of the time choking and jerking for an entire hour before it's gone...
Most days, almost immediately, she begins her cry right away. 
We walk and dance. 
I finish laundry, vacuum the floors, dust the tables, clean the countertops, and make the beds all in complete quiet [aside from Mabel screaming.]  It's music to my ears.
She is alive.  Her brain is shrinking but her shrill scream reminds me that her lungs are strong; healthy.  It's impressive.  Most days I feel so proud of her for that.

Mabel and I spend most days wrapped up in one another.  She chews on her fingers and I run my fingers through her curly brown hair.  I talk in the most absurd voices and she giggles up at me appropriately.  She watches my shadow move across the room and is aware of my voice through the house.  She is as obsessed with me as I am with her and this little love affair has been the greatest my heart will ever know.  God gave me the truest love in Mabel and to say I'm humbled would be a large understatement. 

On this Mother's Day, I am stronger than ever before.  I am more patient, more giving.  I feel the most fulfilled in myself than I have ever felt.  I am in love and moving forward with a life that I believe was waiting for me all along.  I am happy, content and at peace with this life.  Something that I always dreamed of and worked so hard to maintain.  I feel so thankful. 

There is nothing like the job I'm doing. 
There will never be another opportunity so important or so vital.  There will always be inside of me a grand appreciation for mothering, no matter what that means for each of us. 
Of course it looks different on all of us. 
Our lives are unique and we all face different circumstances and have different obligations.  But one thing I know for sure is that this job, in all of us, is equally as gratifying. 

It is hard.  It is long.  It is deep.  It is frustrating.  It is exhausting.  It is heartbreaking.  It brings guilt.  It brings insanity.  It sometimes brings feelings of inadequacy. 

But in return this motherhood brings such contentment, such purpose.
It brings wrinkles of laughter and marks of stretching.  It brings eyelashes that you probably spend hours analyzing and smiles that you work so hard to keep white.  It brings laughter and unfailing love.  It brings forgiveness and grace like I'm sure you haven't experienced prior.  It brings late night snuggles and early morning breath.  It brings anticipation of beautiful futures or heartbreaking truths.  But either way, whatever your story as a mother-
This journey brings truth and breathes life into your bones and your soul that will sustain you.
It is the most self-less, invigorating, fulfilling job you will ever have.

Today, on this my 8th Mother's Day, I am so thankful for this eternal role.  I have the beautiful purpose of raising up children who will love others, love their earth, and love the Lord.  I have the opportunity to shape these children into world changers.  I have a great chance to warrior around these little people and teach them deep morals and essential values for their life. 
 I can already say with deep pride and certainty that these kids have great purpose for their life!  They are incredibly insightful and incredibly resilient.  They love Jesus and they have an unbelievable internal gauge of what is right and what is wrong. 
I am so proud of the people that they are becoming, day after day.  And while they are busy becoming who they will be in their future I am soaking up every single minute of who they are right now.
On this special day, I want to wish my own beautiful mom a Happy Mother's Day!
She loves these children and I unconditionally.  She is strong, funny, and loving. 
Thank you, mom, for all you are doing to help me with these kids in this exact season of my life.  I will always be thankful.  I hope today we can celebrate all the beautiful moments that life has given us together!!!

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