Signs of Life Day Nine

Today was a good day. My classes went smoothly, I had coffee with a sweet friend, and Chuck and I stole time away for a lunch date. I didn’t even mind that yesterday it was 70 degrees and today it was 39. (Huh?) It was a good day with plenty of good things in it.

Then, on our way home from co-op, I got some troubling news. Nothing earth-shattering, nothing grandiose. Just troubling. As the boys chattered in the car about their day, I half-listened and half-wondered what this news might mean for me.

The sun was still shining after dinner was done and I contemplated going for a walk. It would give me time to think and settle my mind. It would make me feel less guilty about the Chick-Fil-A I’d just eaten.

Then I realized I had not visited the horses in more than a week, and suddenly that seemed like the best use of my time. 

I’ve already introduced these lovelies to you and explained the impact they’ve had on me, so I won’t go on about them again. Instead, I’ll just say that they bring me joy, even though they aren’t mine and I have no clue how to care for them. Looking across the street and seeing them there in the pasture is enough.

Someone likes the attention.

And I don’t mind giving it to him. 

No problems have been solved. Nothing has been erased. All the stuff that existed before the horses exists after the horses.

Yet, I feel a little lighter, a little happier. For that, I am grateful.

Signs of Life is a blog series I’m writing for February 2017. It was born out of desire to replace the negativity and despair that’s been bogging down our friendships, families, and communities after a tumultuous election season. This series won’t solve the world’s problems, but I hope it will create a speck of light and positivity when and where it is needed. 

A Mother’s Day Confession

It wasn’t that long ago when Mother’s Day was the worst day of the year for me – that miserable Sunday when the pastor stood proudly in the pulpit, beaming at the congregation, asking all the mothers and grandmothers to stand and be recognized.

I hate you all, I said under my breath. Every last one of you can suck it. 

That’s what Mother’s Day feels like when you’re infertile, when the doctor quietly, gently tells you that you won’t be getting pregnant like everyone else in the free world, that having a family is going to require that you submit applications and convince the public that you’re capable and worthy of being called a mother.

It was horrible and I make no apologies for my contained bitterness of 2002 and early 2003. It was a season I was meant to weather, and though I didn’t grasp it at the time, I can look back now and see where my spirit was stretched and twisted and bruised.

Thankfully, those wounds have healed.

family of four

But that isn’t the case for many women who loathe Mother’s Day, and not only due to infertility. There are miscarriages and family fractures, those who’ve recently lost their mothers and those who are still mourning years after. Mother’s Day isn’t all flowers and breakfast in bed, photos on the front porch or construction paper cards made with Daddy’s help. There are single mothers and overwhelmed mothers, and moms who are faking their way through a celebratory day when really they’d love a good, long vacation away from everyone.

Even though I don’t hate Mother’s Day the way I used to, I’m conscious of those who harbor the burden of bitterness I once carried. Yes, we should celebrate our moms and enjoy the sweet – albeit short-lived – gratitude shown by our own children, but we should also take a moment to consider those who aren’t smiling today. There’s a lot of hurt that gets amplified on Mother’s Day, and while we are all dealt a different set of cards in life, it does us good to remember that we’re still sitting at the same table.