Warning: Many, many tears were shed writing this. Please understand this is coming from a broken heart, so it may not be as elegantly written as others!
Mother’s Day is right around the corner. For me this is a bittersweet holiday that I am learning to celebrate in a different way. I have always been one of those moms who cherish each first in a child’s life. My kids’ baby books are filled with “first smile”, “first steps”, “first tooth”…all the way up to “first day of work”. And yes, I cried at all of these momentous occasions!
A few years ago, however, I read a children’s book by my favorite Christian author Karen Kingsbury. In this book she celebrated not a child’s “firsts”, but their “lasts”: “last” first day of Preschool, “last” time at bat for Little League, “last” first day of senior year. I read this book to Alana and Caleb and cried so hard that they could barely understand the words! It was so sad for me to think of all the “lasts” I had already missed and I made a mental note that I would start paying more attention so I could remember those last bouquets of flowers picked by chubby little hands and the last time my little boy was not ashamed to kiss me in front of his friends. I thought I was doing pretty good. That is until Caleb became the Caleb he is now. I feel so cheated out of getting to celebrate his “firsts” and his “lasts”. We are missing Little League. There are no flowers picked from the garden just to say “I love you Mommy.” I missed cherishing that last time he crawled in bed with me just to cuddle, or how he would wiggle his way between me and a book I was reading, because he wanted to be “closest to my heart.” I missed writing down the “last” time he fought with Alana over something silly. Oh what I wouldn’t give to hear those two arguing again!
Now we are back to celebrating a new series of “firsts”. The first time Caleb cried out in the hospital was music to my ears after hearing nothing but silence for weeks. The first time he turned his head on his own and opened his eyes. His first smile, the first laugh, the first real tears he cried…all miracles in their own rights. Don’t get me wrong. I love all these little things that the Lord is giving me to keep me going. I feel so blessed that my little boy is here at home with me and not in a grave somewhere. I don’t ever want to sound unappreciative of the gifts He has granted me. But I want more! This Mother’s Day (and every day after) I want all three of my children to wrap their arms around me and say “I love you Mommy”. I want to hear them argue about who got the biggest piece of pizza. I want to fight with them to get them up and ready for school. I want to read bedtime stories over and over again. I want a chance to relive the “lasts” in their lives as they grow to become the adults God has intended for them to be.
Being a mom is not an easy job. And there are days when you just want to pull your hair out. That is the same for ALL moms, whether you have “normal” or “special” children. A word of advice though. No matter how stressful things may be, cherish every moment with your children. We are not promised any “firsts” or “lasts”, so we have to make the most of the moments we are given.
She is clothed in with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; and her husband also, and he praises her: Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. – Proverbs 31:25-31
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