A Mindful Mothers' Day

I wrote this for last year's Mothers' Day. 
And then was shy to post it. 
I'm feeling emboldened this year.

Seeing me with my family today, you have every reason to think, “She has plenty of reason to celebrate this Mothers’ Day. Look at those five children, beautiful in heart and countenance!” (Full disclosure: I’m biased.)

Yes, I am celebrating. I am so very thankful for our five blessings. But did you know I count six? Before any of these who can be seen, there was another. Seen only by his or her Creator before passing on.

Today I am rejoicing and weeping.

But my tears are not only for my sorrow. I weep with others who have grief hidden and stories silenced by societal expectations, fear of judgment, or weariness of reliving the events. Often on this day, they are wounded perennially by overheard sentiments showered upon others, or perhaps made directly to them.

Today I am mindful of an acquaintance who has never been able to conceive.
I am mindful of a friend who is able to conceive but not carry babies to term.
I am mindful of a woman who attempted IVF over and over yet experienced loss after loss.
I am mindful of a sister who laid to rest the body of her young son, and not three years later, one of his brothers.
I am mindful of a widow who received a phone call letting her know her adult son—the father of her grown grandchildren—had been killed in a car accident.
I am mindful of a friend who chose to give her baby to another mommy.
I am mindful of a stranger who happened upon the accident in which her son and daughter-in-law perished but her toddler grandson survived.
I am mindful of a sister who prepared home and heart to receive another woman’s baby as her own, and then her arms were left empty.
I am mindful of the woman who said hello and goodbye to her baby across the hall from my labor and delivery suite.
And I am mindful of my own mother, whose loss provided an Auntie or Uncle to sing praises in Heaven with our little one and his or her cousins.

Yes. Today I am joyful. But there is also pain in my heart. Painful Joy.

Fellow Mothers, please enjoy your day. But please be mindful of others around you. Be kind with your comments. Be willing to listen to the stories of others. Especially the sad stories. Remember them from year to year. Be brave: reach out and let these mommies know you are mindful of them even in your joy.

Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15

Better to go to the house of mourning
Than to go to the house of feasting,
For that is the end of all men;
And the living will take it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
For by a sad countenance the heart is made better.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning
Ecclesiastes 7:2ff


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