The woman in the photo above is a friend of a friend. She is a mother of three little boys and one new baby girl. That is her Facebook post on March 27th, 2016. Easter Sunday.
The next morning she found that baby girl in her crib not breathing anymore.
That beautiful woman there is the mother of one of my former students. She and her husband were unable to have children, so they adopted three beautiful babies. Two boys and a girl. Her oldest, at a ripe 3 years old, was in my class. Her heart is enormous and her faith in God, unmatched. She has been fighting cancer for over a year. A few months ago she came to school dropoff with the incredible news that she was cancer free!
Two weeks later they discovered two new forms of cancer, growing aggressively, where her womb once was. They began treatment immediately, but infection hindered their progress and sent her to ICU. On a Monday we heard she was making progress and going to a regular room soon. On Tuesday she was on life support. And on Wednesday she was gone. I turned and hugged her son when I heard the news.
And that beautiful Momma. Holding her oldest son, the one who made her a Mommy. She goes to our church and is one of the strongest women I know. Her boy is an amazing, deep, passionate kid. He loves football. He adores his mother. He is an awesome big brother and just an all-around good boy. She is raising her three boys, with one more on the way, to love God, to serve others, to live passionately.
Two weeks ago her son was involved in a tragic accident at their home and lost his life. He was 9.
To put it plainly, I am at a loss for what to say on this Mother’s Day.
I squeeze my two children tightly and look deep into their eyes and touch their faces hold them closely to my side, PRAYING that God will never ask of me what he has asked of these families around me. Selfishly praying, I know.
My heart cannot fathom the aching of a Mother’s soul who has never held one of her children in her arms. Or the Mother who held them but a little while only to give them back. I cannot even begin to comprehend the cries of a dying Mother’s heart, entrusting her precious children to a world without her.
The enormity of these heartaches is lost on me.
But I am a Mom. And when you take up that title you take up all the beauty and joy that comes with it. You learn to love in a way inexpressible. You discover what it’s like to have your breath catch in your chest, the swelling of your heart, the “treasuring up” of all things at a moment’s notice. The moments of pure magic that happen over the course of watching a life become. And you have the privileged front-row-seat.
But when you take up that title of Mom, you also take up a new cross. You ache. You long. You plea desperately with God. You sacrifice. You bleed. You worry. And you fear. There’s no stopping it. It all just comes. Consider it a testament to the sacredness of all human life. That when one is entrusted to your care it is absolutely terrifying and humbling. Because it is such a high, high calling and such a precious and fragile gift.
One that will cost you everything.
That’s what love does. And the love of a Mother is something that only God can fully measure. Because it is a costly love. A love that requires laying yourself down over and over again. A love that requires giving yourself completely to another human knowing that one day they will leave you. It is not probable, it is guaranteed. They will leave. And when they leave they will take a piece of you with them. And you have to just stand by and let that happen because…
you’re a Mom. And that’s what you signed up for.
You signed up for the highest highs and the lowest lows. You committed to hurting deeply and loving deeper. You opened your heart to the ecstasy of full arms and the agony of empty ones.
It’s just part of the gig. And it is terrifyingly wonderful.
Whether you have kissed the face of great-grandchildren or wept over a silent sonogram, all who dare to travel this road are a brave lot.
So treasure each smile. Each laugh. Each tear. Treasure the tantrums. Treasure the toes. Treasure every moment and every emotion and every sunrise of every day. For we know that as quickly as He gave, He can just as quickly take away. Mom, God has called you to a depth of faith in Him like no other.
Because at the end of all things whether you are a Mother for a moment or a Mother for a lifetime, you are a prized possession in the hands of the One who entrusts life.