Tomorrow I face yet another first – Mother’s Day as a single mom. In ways I wish it didn’t, it puts a whole new twist on the idea of the day. It really shouldn’t though, because I’m still a mom. I am still the same mom I was before my marriage fell apart. No, actually, in many ways, I think I am a better mom today than I was a mere three months ago, BECAUSE my marriage fell apart. And saying that feels awful. But really, I have had to learn to tune in and focus on my children in ways I honestly just didn’t before. I have watched their every move, monitored their moods, wondered and prayed in worry over whether they are okay.
The thing is, when I gave birth to those amazing boys, I made promises to them. I promised them a family, a mom and a dad. I promised them a solid marriage, one in which they would feel safe and secure. I promised them a mom and dad who loved the Lord and who would raise them to love HIM also. I made promises at the time I felt incredibly secure in making. I never believed, EVER, that those promises would be broken. I never believed that they would become part of the epidemic of divorce. Divorce was never in my vocabulary. I never believed I would be going this alone, without the man who my children are half of, without the man who prayed for these children and helped bring them into being. It is stunningly awful. But sometimes, even with the best of intentions, even when we bloody our hands and knees in battle, we simply cannot keep certain promises. We can’t, even when we want to.
And tonight, as I think about what it means to be a mom, what my husband gave me in those two boys, I realize a few things. First, I got the absolute best there was of him. I got it, no matter what his choices are. The best of him is wrapped up in those two boys who I got the privilege of tucking safely into bed tonight. The best of him is in those boys who practiced their rollerskating skills this week. The best of him is in his son, who learned to ride a bike without training wheels this week, and it’s in his youngest son, who crawls into bed with me every morning for cuddle time. So while I wish I could take this heartache away, I can’t. And I wouldn’t wish it any differently if it meant those boys were not a part of my every single breath.
Second, I want to be a better mom. I want to be a mom that my boys look back on and see Christ in. I want to be a mom in who my children see grace, love, patience, and strength. I want to be a mom who isn’t broken by the events in my life, but who rises above the brokenness, who demonstrates to them how to handle pain, grief, adversity with mercy and compassion. I am not that mom, I am not anywhere even close to that, but I want to be and I want to work towards that. That is my promise to my boys. I can’t make promises based on someone else’s choices, but I can make promises that will bring my children closer to the heart of God.
Third, I want to thank my mom. I haven’t told many people about the events surrounding the end of my marriage, and I won’t, but I will say, without my mother’s strength, I would not be sitting here today. I would not be safe and secure, and even more importantly than that, my children wouldn’t be. My mom spent three weeks with us shortly before my life fell apart. Well, it was in the midst of it falling apart, and my desperately trying to keep it together. If it had not been for the strength and love I saw in her during that time, I would have been too afraid to cry out for help in the horrible moments that my entire life was falling apart. I was ashamed, I was hiding, I was scared, and I was tired of fighting. She caught me as I fell. I remember on the long day’s journey home, over the course of three flights, and caring for my confused children, imagining her face, her voice, her smell. I remember needing it, the safety of her. And, that’s the kind of mom I want to be. The one that catches my kids when they fall.
So, on this first Mother’s Day for me that I am single, I want to take the time to ponder what it means to be a mom. I don’t want to be celebrated, I want to celebrate, that in spite of the fact that my life is a mess right now, I am still Mom, and I still have an incredible mom, one who still crawls into bed with me, makes me laugh, makes me want to scream in frustration, whom I love, who caught me, who daily catches me, who encourages me to think, who loves her grandson’s more than I can even understand sometimes, who is there.
Thank you Mom! It is small and humble, it doesn’t begin to express what is in my heart, but it will have to do.
I love you!