mother’s day and grace enough

Monday, May 14, 2012

Five children sat at my dinner table the night before Mother’s Day. Five children, from three different mamas. I’m the only one who got to spend this holiday with them. My mama’s heart threatened to leak out in tears. What about those other mamas? What are they thinking tonight? Who will give them cards and presents tomorrow? A celebration tinged with brokenness and grief. I snuggled close and prayed that the baby feels loved. He has a mama; he knows and I know that I am not her. I kissed heads and hugged tight, and thanked God that I am Mama forever to the rest of my four.

A mama forever, but not the only one they have.

Later that same night, with trembling fingers, I messaged back and forth with my children’s first mama. Write, delete, write, delete….how do I talk with her? What words can even express all the things I want to say? I wanted to talk about my children. Her children. Where do I even begin?

Do I tell her how our girl potty-trained in something like 3 days? How when she smiles, it lights up the room? Do I tell her how good our son is at sports? That he is the sweetest, most sensitive child I’ve met? What do I say when she asks how they’re doing? I can say they’re doing so well. They’re happy. They’re healthy. They are healing. The thing is, that’s just the half of it.

She knows it too. She talked about regret. She acknowledged mistakes. I still don’t feel like I can tell the whole story. I can’t say anything about the hours that we’ve spent teaching our sweet boy that this set of parents is never going to leave him. I can’t explain that those four months where Niah just sat in a car seat has literally caused her brain to form differently than ‘normal’ children’s. I can’t explain to her the fear that permeates Brenden’s thoughts about his past. I can’t tell her that our daughter needs therapy to combat some of the damage she experienced as a newborn.

Even with all of that, I still fought nerves – will she like me? Will she wish her kids had been adopted by different people? Will she be thankful they’re safe even if they’re not with her? Will she think it’s weird if I tell her I love her? That I’ve been praying for her? That I want her to make it?

I was scared. I am scared. This isn’t just my story. This isn’t just my children’s story. This is her story too. Was this the right move? Will we regret that we picked this moment for contact? Maybe it’s ugly, but sometimes I wish that I was my children’s only mama. It would be so much easier. Complicated isn’t my favorite word. I hate hard.

A pause. I breathed. I remembered that hard is good. Hard is what brought our children to us. Hard is what has changed me forever – for the better. Hard is what is teaching our children to be strong. Hard is what is making us all more like Jesus every single day.

What I ended up typing came out quickly; I pressed send before I could change my mind. Mistakes? We won’t pretend like this isn’t part of this story. Pain? It’s silly to not acknowledge that part. Here’s what I can say: The God I serve has a love that is big enough for you. No matter your past choices. What I know for sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that no matter your past, God never runs out of second chances. Everything, EVERYTHING, can be redeemed. Even for this story, brokenness and regret and joy and pain and love all included, there is grace enough…

And this week: One Thousand!

996. quiet news days
997. hope that nothing will come of it…
998. baby kisses
999. streaming sunshine through my blinds
1000. grace. all of it, everything, 1000 gifts – all grace
1001. long phone conversations with friends
1002. cancelled meetings
1003. unnecessary car rides without children
1004. cold and rainy baseball games
1005. birthday presents
1006. a husband who gets me
1007. Wot-A-Dog birthday dinners
1008. bad news phone calls – a catalyst to find the grace, even in this
1009. my in-laws
1010. dinner with my sisters and friends at my very favorite restaurant
1011. This American Life live show – everything I wanted it to be
1012. quick reflexes to catch a tumbling baby an inch before head met blacktop
1013. the parental walk of shame – baby with a blown-out diaper
1014. ending the baseball game on a high note – exactly the confidence my son needs
1015. raspberry cake
1016. Mother’s Day dinner with four generations, thankful for the legacy of faith

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