Sunday, May 8, 2016

Thoughts On Mother's Day, And Most Holidays For That Matter...

Last night I went downstairs after the kids were in bed to get my daughter's nightly medicines. There was a big sign taped, with my fancy washi tape the kids know not to waste play with, on the cabinets above the coffee pot. Why my son chose to hang it there, next to my morning coffee, thinking I'd obviously take note of it is beyond me.

He also made me a hand drawn card, a Lego set of his own creation, and set out my coffee mug for the morning. Oh, and the paper crown that said Happee Muthurs Day. I wore the crown back upstairs and smiled and laughed about all that with my husband, when suddenly we heard,

My son LOVES holidays. He gets so excited at the idea of decorating for family birthdays, setting the plates and dishes and silverware just right for Thanksgiving, and he usually tries to declare what festivities will take place during the Christmas season. He'll even make up pretend birthdays for his stuffed animals and wrap up his toys as gifts and decorate for it.

I love that he loves this. It's his jam. It's his thing. It's who he is. He loves to celebrate things.

Until today, when Mommy lost it. GASP!! Yes, please do not report me to the Council of Best Moms Ever because losing it on Mother's Day is like the ultimate no-no.

My son kept asking why he and his sister couldn't have hot cocoa yet like I promised last night at bedtime. My daughter kept asking why I hadn't started her Brave soundtrack yet on the computer so she could make her new Merida doll dance around. My littlest girl was filling her britches with very inappropriate sounds and smells. I was behind on her meds  by at least 40 minutes. The sky was looking dark and I was home alone while my husband is a mile away leading worship at our church, and I was trying to find the most recent weather report, because we do live in Kansas after all and we have a healthy fear of the yellow brick road.

And worst of all, the coffee hadn't been started yet.

So when I walked into the kitchen and asked my son to please put his light saber away and get it off the table {to which he replied, "No weapons on the table! Right, Mom!?"} and then after reminding him again he started with, "Well, but it's clean, so it's fine," and I lost it. I scolded him for talking back to me instead of simply doing what I asked of him. By the grace of God I was able to stop myself and calm down and explain why I was upset. But then he said, "Well but are you having a great Mother's Day!??"

And that's when I snapped. And I teared up. And I explained to him that no, I wasn't, that I was thankful for his cards and poster and crown, but that I was tired and felt overwhelmed in the moment and needed help and needed him to just listen and obey {and in the back of my mind unspoken is that every Mother's Day I remember the fact that I don't have a baby here on earth, and that there's a possibility that another child might not be here all of my Mother's Days to come}.

And then he teared up. He broked into a sob and said between tears, "I just wanted you to have the best Mommy's Day ever!" He then ran into his room to hide and cry.

Awesomesauce. I really nailed this great parenting moment on this Hallmark holiday about being a parent. But I collected myself, had my son come sit next to me, and said, "Hun, I'm sorry for being upset earlier when you asked if I was having a good Mother's Day. But here's the thing: Mother's Day isn't only today, it's every single day that I get to be your mother. And since I get to be your Mommy forever, that's a really long time and an eternity of Mother's Days all strewn together. Each day that we play Sequence, go to the zoo, cuddle on the couch, and play airplanes is Mother's Day for me. Each time that we go run and jump in the van to chase the sunset in pj's like last night is Mother's Day for me. Each time we make pizza and watch the storms and play rollercoaster is Mother's Day for me. Because being your Mommy is an everyday thing and daily I get to enjoy and love you as my own."

To which he replied, "Well but what about when we don't listen and on the days that we take forever to pick up our playroom because we're not listening?"

"Even those days. Because even when we argue, we get to say we're sorry and ask forgiveness of each other. And even though you might not listen, though I'm disappointed in that action, I'm not mad at you and I still love you."

He smiled and wiped away the tears and loved the idea that EVERY day can be celebrated. Not just the ones marked and set aside on a calendar. He then said, "Well I'm thankful that I get to be God's child every day." {{{I did NOT prompt that! But my heart might have swelled a bit}}}.

"Right, and do we only praise and worship God and celebrate Him on Christmas?"

"No, we celebrate and worship Him each day."


In general I've always struggled with Mother's Day because the first Mother's Day I was supposed to celebrate, I instead was grieving a miscarriage. And on another Mother's Day I was rocking a preemie in the NICU. And I've walked beside friends in my life who battle infertility. And I've grieved with my own mama when she celebrated the first Mother's Day that my grandma wasn't here with us. I've watched from the sidelines as friends who long to be married and have children one day are still wondering if that's part of God's plan. And I've wondered if I've loved them well through their season as I've lived in this season. And also, there are those who ache for the relationships that aren't spectacular with their mothers or with their children. There's a brokenness that is felt stronger on the holidays that are supposed to be surrounded with such joy and gratitude when in real life, the relationships are more crooked than straight.

There's this stigma and weight that goes with Mother's Day, a heavy weight for many.

Let's let go of this holiday stuff once a year on the calendar, and embrace life each day. Let's stop putting pressure on ourselves to make that day {Mother's Day, Father's Day, Grandparent's Day, Valentines Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas even, and all the appreciation days} a once-a-year event. Let's make our husband a steak dinner and celebrate him as our spouse or as a great father on a day that's not the third Sunday of June. Let's picnic with the grandparents just because. Let's send the handmade letters and make the Skype dates a weekly event. Let's have the freedom to grieve a miscarriage any day instead of being bombarded on Mother's Day and dreading that day each year. Let's appreciate the secretaries and nurses and teachers in our life often because they deserve it often. Let's have random acts of kindness days more often, and love on those around us more often and give each other bouquets of flowers just because more often. Let's lessen the expectations of holidays and elevate the family time and love for one another daily. Let's show gratitude and thanksgiving for all we have often and teach it to our kiddos, not wait for them to ask why we celebrate Thanksgiving.

I think the struggle as a follower of Jesus is that on each of these days, we watch as social media explodes with images of the perfect relationships around us. Valentines Day is hard if we're single or in a marriage that is having a rough time. Thanksgiving is hard if we don't have someone to celebrate it with or can't go home to visit family. Christmas can be hard for those who just lost a loved one and will be sad come time for family traditions. Mothers Day and Fathers Day can be hard for so, so many reasons. Siblings Day can be hard, and so on. It makes us covet what's good and right and His will right in front of us, while we watch as the grass is greener in someone else's Instagramed yard.

I want to teach my children how to love one another and serve one another well. To be thankful for any situation and circumstance, even if it's not especially if it's not what society says should be a normal life. Personally, I think that's a daily challenge, not a calendar event.

How about this year we celebrate the people in and around us more often, and put less emphasis on what the calendar says we should be doing. And we go out of our way to give grace and love to all, not just those who get an appreciation day marked on the calendar.

Oh, and somewhere in between the asking for breakfast and the weapon on the table, my son also said, "Hey Mommy, since it's Mother's Day, I think you should get to do what you love best as a Mommy and clean up the house for all of us!"


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