I am a mother to 7 children.The love I feel for them is unlike a love I have for anyone else. They are the most beautiful part of me.
But I did not give birth to them.
Thus I am only a mother – I’m not the mother.
And by not being the (original, if you will) mother, there will always be something I cannot give them; a void which I cannot fill no matter how hard I try.
My effort, support, sacrifice, affection, and even love will not be enough. I cannot attempt to explain it any more than that, as I have never been on their side of adoption.
What I can explain is how this feels to the mom doing the hard work day in and day out, all the while knowing those small yet significant tasks may forever go unrecognized.
The most important and humbling thing I’ve learned after 10 years of foster/adopting is this:
Even on Mother’s Day, it’s not about me.
I am not immune to selfish thoughts, however. There are parts of my heart and spirit that really really wishes it was about me. Even for just one Sunday a year.
I’d love to have my children cover me in honest gratitude, to hug me and love on me like it’s the most natural thing they’ve known their whole lives, and for them to believe their Mom is the best mom on the planet.
My heart desires for them to look at me the way biological children look at their mothers: with reverence and never even a hint of question.
I often dream about a time when they will come to me with an understanding and peace in their hearts for the story we share. They will recognize how hard and confusing this job is for me, and they will thank me.
Perhaps, these days and desires will come. Right now, however, it’s just not about me or these selfish thoughts.
I cannot tell a story of Mother’s Day in my head that includes what Hallmark is selling to society. It’s not always breakfast in bed, indulgent presents and pampering, and doting kids who want nothing more than to treat their Mom like a queen for a day.
If I believe this story I will be left disappointed, frustrated, and bitter. I cannot tell this story to myself.
This story is not my reality. My real life Mother’s Day will be my kids awkwardly walking through emotions about “Moms.” It will be them thanking me for “taking care of them” as if it’s a job anyone off the street could do. It will be me driving to the downtown homeless shelter to see my daughter who ran away because my rules were too strict.
My Mother’s Day, like all my days, are not about me. And they never should be.
Instead, on Mother’s Day, I pray for my kid’s hearts. I pray for the void I have no idea how to fill, make right, or even ignore. I pray for the void they have no idea how to talk about or process but that inevitably comes out as frustration and angst towards me.
Because I’m the Mom standing in front of them. I’m the Mom they see, hear, and touch; but I’m not the original.
I am not the only Mother my children have known.
It will never be just about me.
Their frustration, their distance, their questioning, and their desire for something or someone else….It’s not about me, who I am, or what I lack.
This is the true story in my head I chose to retell and live by. It’s the story that reminds me I’m doing kingdom work not comfort-seeking work.
This world will try to convince you, “It’s all about you.”
Sometimes, the bravest thing you can do as a parent, and as a follower of Jesus, is to remember: it’s not about you.