...so begins one person's attempt to capture the essence of motherhood in a poem. It is a courageous attempt, but inadequate. All of them are inadequate. How do you reduce such a profound mystery to words...any words, however poetic? But, this past year, I have watched the poetry of women living out the most radiant pictures, the most beautiful music, the most lyrical poetry of motherhood. With my feeble words, I will attempt to acquaint you with a few of my heroes. (The names have been abbreviated to protect the humble. :)
I have experienced the joy of new motherhood with my friend J. We shared the longing phase even before there was a little one on the way. I saw in her the yearning to share the abundance of love God had placed in her with a child of her own. God most graciously gave her the desire of her heart, and her baby boy is growing healthy and strong inside her. I love watching her as she talks about her son. Her whole face lights up, and it is obvious that this little one whose face she has never seen has already knitted himself deep within her heart. Poetry.
With my friends K and J, I have seen mothers who are willing to do the hard work of mothering well. I have seen both of them wrestle with balancing work that is meaningful and fulfilling with giving themselves to their precious little ones. There is no easy answer to that question. And, there is no answer for all seasons. It is a constant seeking. I have also admired their determination to understand themselves so that false ways of thinking that might have been inadvertently (or purposefully) taught to them will not be passed on to their children. I so esteem them for doing this hard work, and wish I had begun it when I was as young as them. Courage.
I have watched both W and L as they have opened their hearts and their homes to children who were born in another country and who have no home. Adoption is an arduous process. The weak-willed need not apply. I have seen them push and encourage and beg and plead in the effort to bring their children home...and they are not yet here...not YET... Tenacity.
My friend H has room in her heart for about a hundred children. And conveniently she has about that many (or more). But, thus far, none of them have been born of her body or live at her house. However, the impact she has had on the lives of countless kids, including my daughter, is incalculable. Just over a year ago, she and her husband became a visiting family for a young man at the Tennessee Baptist Children's Home. They came into his life at just the right time. This past year has been so difficult. But she has been there every step of the way building trust in a sweet guy who has been betrayed or disappointed by everyone in his life that mattered. She has shown him that it is safe to love and that there are people who will be there for you ALL the time, no matter what. Grace.
You have met my sister in law C in these pages over the past few weeks. I am not sure I can tell you all I have learned from her this year. I have seen her be an advocate for Tucker. She has researched his condition and is often better informed than his doctors. She has been fierce when she needed to be to get action when doctors didn't recognize the urgency of the situation. She has been gracious, and patient, and strong, and kind. She is a woman of faith, the likes of which I may never know. You can see what her husband, my brother, had to say about her last week by clicking HERE. Love.
Last but not least, I have watched my own mother this year as she has walked a new road with a familiar grace. For the past couple of months, she has alternated between spending the night at the hospital with my grandmother and caring for Monty and Candy's older two while they have been at the hospital with Tucker. She gives and gives and gives...not for glory, not for praise, but because it is who she is. I hope I will live up to her example. Generosity.
Being a mom is the most rewarding, intimidating, exhausting, sweet, precious, exhilarating, daunting, confusing, educational, significant, important, eternal thing I have ever done. I am grateful for the opportunity. I am also grateful for the example of fine women like you have just met. To all of you who mother, be blessed today and all days. You are highly esteemed.
*Addendum: Candy will be spending Mother's Day at the hospital. Tucker has another infection. Please pray for her, for Tucker, for Monty, and for Anna and Ethan. This will be a hard day for them as they had longed to spend it together.