Six Children and No Theories

Covering parenting and child development issues

The Bittersweetness of Mother's Day

Written by Lisa Lawmaster Hess, Community Blogger | May 10, 2015 11:08 PM
"This day all His mercies are new.
This day every promise is true
Father, help me to believe
Give me faith I need to know You
And trust You this day." (Steven Curtis Chapman, "This Day")

As I write this, we are barreling down the road on the way to my parents' house in New Jersey. My seventeen-year-old daughter is driving, my husband is in the front seat offering guidance and suggestions, and I am in a mood in the back seat.

Don't get me wrong. I fully understand how blessed I am to be a bookend mom on this bittersweet weekend, preparing to celebrate this day with both my mother and my daughter. Many women are not so lucky, and spend this day searching for a glimmer of happiness amid the cards, commercials and happy families who seem to have materialized from nowhere for this day, only to fade back into the shadows of central casting after this emotion-laden day has passed.

Having grieved a pregnancy loss of my own, I understand the bittersweetness of this day and I am trying not to let the clouds of the past and the future invade a day that is already cloudy for real outside the car window. I am trying to focus on this year, this time, and what it brings. My supermom mother, who bounced back from a shoulder replacement in a way that women twenty years younger would envy. My healthy, outspoken teenager, who this time next year will be preparing for high school graduation and a college experience that may mean she's not home for these celebrations in a few years. The joy of two pregnancies, though only one resulted in a healthy child.

Oops. It seems that the past and the future have snuck back in, making me grateful for my spot in the back seat, the voices and chuckles of my little family slipping in between the notes of the saxophone riff of the Billy Joel song emanating from my earbuds. A spot where I can reach for my tissues unnoticed, where I can acknowledge the loss and projection that accompany this day without a litany of concerned questions.

Because although it's impossible not to acknowledge losses today, this day is about the blessings we have at this time, on this day, this year. This day, like so many others, is about calling the glass half-full, while acknowledging that means it's half-empty as well. This day is not about the cards and the flowers and the dinners, but about all of the things we have that mean so much more than any material gift. Today, I can choose to focus on my son and cry or I can choose to focus on my daughter and all the joy she brings me every day. I can choose to nurse a painful loss, or I can choose to celebrate all that I have.

I choose to celebrate. But if you need a tissue, I'm happy to share.

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