Mother’s Day. This day continues to have increased significance. I never imagined that the list of women who make this day worthwhile in my own life would continue to grow so profusely. And yet it has.
I have to start with my own mother, of course, who has proved over and over again how gifted she is in teaching and raising children. Her expression of motherhood is more proof than anyone could need that there is a God in Heaven who sent His Son to die so that we could live. She gave of herself continually, doing for my brothers and I without end. But she did not enable, as she also insisted on raising wise, loving, sensitive, genuine, gentlemen in her sons. And that extended to other kids beyond her own, as she taught preschool for many years, was involved in our church youth group, has mentored countless younger women, and has welcomed more than a few daughters-in-law into our family as if they were her own daughters. As if that weren’t enough, she jumped back into motherhood when Stephanie died and effectively raised my kids in her stead. Clearly, my mom was made to be a mother.
Then, of course, there is the mother of my (first) two children: Stephanie. When I think of Stephanie, I just picture a pitcher of pure joy and love being poured out into the cups that are Brady and Halle. She found a way to fill those two kids up with so much of her, even in the short time she got to have with them. They continue to show how that has affected them in so many positive ways. Stephanie came alive in motherhood. It fit her so well. I feel like the enjoyment she got out of her children could make everyone else wish they had children, or appreciate better the children they do have.
Obviously, I couldn’t be thankful for Stephanie without the woman who gave her life. My mother-in-law has been so supportive of my journey towards re-marriage. I am continually stunned at how someone can both grieve her own daughter’s death, but also grieve for me and desire that I would find someone new. I can’t imagine what those feelings much be like, but she has only ever prayed for me and encouraged me and listened to stories about the women I’ve met over the years. And I can’t mention her without also mentioning my aunt-in-law, who has also shown the same amount of love and support and prayers over the years. I know I wouldn’t be where I am without their love.
A year ago, on Mother’s Day, my kids and I began a journey to where we are today: able to celebrate a “new” mommy. We began reading a book all about praying consistently for 100 days. I knew God would work in our hearts as we prayed for a mommy, and I was believing as much as I could that we might even meet her during those 100 days, but it was hard to believe that entirely. Little did I know that God would pull off the “impossible” (or so it seemed impossible).
Here I am today, able to celebrate, along with my kids, a new mother; the (now) mother to my two children, and bringing along a new child for me, as well. One of my first thoughts about Julie was this: “Thinking about the mother she is to Hannah is possibly the most attractive thing I’ve ever seen in a woman.” I think that makes it pretty clear that she’s an incredible mother. I’m so excited to get to start celebrating her this year on this day and I look forward to so many more years celebrating her. Julie has welcomed Brady and Halle into her life with open arms, and they, too, are so excited to have her to celebrate. She is their favorite gift ever.
And, I’ve said it before, there are countless other women – friends, family, teachers, and otherwise – who have taken on a mother role towards my children over the years. They have loved on my kids as much as they could in ways that only women can and have softened the pain of not having their own mommy still on earth.
So, to the increasingly long list of women who have mothered me and mothered my children – and continue to do so – I say “Happy Mother’s Day.” It’s a great day to recognize so many people for whom I am thankful.