On Mother's Day
Its Mother's Day.
As a teenager, I used to tell people I never wanted to have children. It wasn't until a decade or so later that I was finally able to articulate the reason why I said this. There just wasn't anyway I could conceive of myself as a good mother. I had no example of what a healthy family structure looked like. And I think I knew, on a level I couldn't yet identify, that there was a lot I had to work out before I would be in a place to raise a competent human being. I didn't want to continue the cycles that had run my family for generations. So I would have to change me before even thinking about motherhood.
And then I surprised even myself, and did just that. With me, those cycles started to deteriorate.
* * *
At the center of my vision board for 2016 is a photograph of a woman kissing a small girl who is sitting in the bathtub. My wish to be a mother. Right there, in the middle of my dreams for this year. Also pictured are a healthy and strong partnership, growth in my career, and deepening of my faith.
I guess the materialization of one out of four isn't bad.
The vision board sits at my altar, where I used to pray twice a day. Now I find my way there when I'm not too light-headed or filled with pain to fall on my knees. And when I feel able to look those lost dreams - that little girl - straight on and consider how I could have gotten this year so wrong just four months ago. Its not often. I talk to God everywhere else lately, but not there.
* * *
I've never been Mother's Day biggest fan. I don't have a close relationship with my own mother, so this day has always been one I'd rather ignore. Then, in recent years, it became a painful reminder year of another year passed without a family.
* * *
A girlfriend sent me a text this afternoon recognizing the difficulty of today. It might be one of the sweetest things anyone has done for me. To be honest, going into this morning, I didn't really think today would be much different than it has been on any other year. After all, I've wanted to be a mother but have lacked children for a number of years now. But - as this friend properly predicted - the loss of my ovaries combined with no partner anywhere on the horizon has made today extra heavy. It makes be wonder why God places longings in our heart that can never been realized. What is the purpose of that?
But at the same time, He is showing me that motherhood may still very much exist for me. Just days before the diagnosis that led to this, I had the chance to spend some sweet time with a dear new friend learning more about her adoption story. I shared with her that day that adoption had long been on my heart. "If God wants you to adopt, He will make it very clear to you," she told me. "And I will help you along the way."
And then earlier this week I spent time with a dear friend who I hadn't seen since before my surgery. She shared with me that when she learned what had happened, her first thought was that she would carry a child for me if I ever wanted her to. This gesture - so unexpected and so selfless - reminded me again that while the door might have changed location a bit, it hasn't been shut.
* * *
In the midst of all this motherhood pondering, a sweet little puppy fell into my lap this week. Fourteen week old Hope is not anything I would have thought to take on in the middle of chemotherapy, but she has been an immense blessing already. She is smart and affectionate and is already a professional couch movie watcher. Her first night with me, each and every sound of the city scared her and she could nuzzle closer to me for comfort. I realized then that, although not a human, I get to be Hope's mom. While at the same time I know she will bring more comfort to me in the next two months than I am sure she can imagine.
God always seems to deliver exactly what we need.