This day is that wonderful time of the year for many mothers. Kids sent out into the world to forge families of their own take time to call back and wish Mom the best. Some take the greater toll and travel miles to reunite with the one that fed their crying mouths and loved them unconditionally. For those with kids in the home, there are flowers and paper necklaces and breakfast in bed. And from understanding and loving husbands, there are extra hours to sleep in, no schedules cracking whips, and someone else doing the dirty chores of day-to-day life. In short, Mothers around the world get a tiny portion of the respect and love they deserve the whole year round.
However, foster parenting shows some of the less than wonderful sides of this state-run holiday established in the early 20th century. Birth mothers suffer with glaring emptiness in their homes. Or if the kids are on a visit, the foster mother smiles through tears as the kids get to spend ‘time’ with their ‘real’ mother. Single mothers without the father figure in the picture sometimes have kids too young and a will too tired to bother with the day. And what about the infertile wife or the woman who never found a husband sitting down in a pew as the pastor gleamingly asks all mothers to stand up. What about the mom who lost her kids in a car accident this past year? The fact is that the founder of Mother’s Day soon resented the commercialization of the day soon after it became commonplace.
Now I am not arguing that Mother’s Day is something we should not celebrate (Happy Mother’s Day momma;) !). It is an excuse to get the whole family together for some. And others can and have worked through these issues to make it life affirming for all. For there are many different mother figures in our lives – moms, friends’ moms, grandmothers, spiritual mothers – all of those wonderful women who have left a mark on our lives. What I want to say is that mothers should be praised all the year long for the amazing work they accomplish in the ceaseless care they give for the shaping of our lives (even when they spank you or take away your candy or yell at you for hiding whip cream in your drawer or worry about you climbing trees or hitchhiking…love you momma)
2 Timothy 1:5 shows Paul praising the ladies in Timothy’s life, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” Timothy would not and could not have been who he became to be if it were not for a grandmother that lived out her faith in love to a daughter who also passed this along to a son. Mothers are amazing and wonderful. I was lucky to have a good one raise me and two good ones raise my parents. It is just that I am understanding this all the more now as I have the privilege to watch the wonderful mother I call my wife.
For all of you who have been following this blog, you have journeyed with some of the stories that can give you a glimpse at what a wonderful mother Jennifer has been (if not, check out this and this and this and other stories on the side bar). She adores the kids that have passed through our home and the two beautiful souls that still sleep across the hall. She gives her time (last year she took more sick days for the kids than for herself) to impart her faith and love and wonderful quirky nature (dance parties are not uncommon in our house). She stays up all night with sick kids. She cooks meals sprinkled with love while dodging a child endlessly shouting, “momma, momma, momma, momma…” We will discuss and diligently spend our budget on ourselves, but she persuades us to leave charitable room for the kids’ wagons, trips, clothes, and whatever will brighten their lives. She is ingenious in her inventions…just look at this idea she whipped up while we were getting fast food on our recent trip…
Most of all she kisses their ouchies, rocks them through tantrums, lovingly disciplines when they act out, and is just present to a child whose world has been so severely broken. She loses her temper and cries as the deep wounds of court and DCS reports fall upon our ears, yet she prays it out and shows God’s grace regardless of what the world demands. Perhaps these kids will look back on this dark period of their lives and gleefully remember a strange Jen-Jen who spoke to them through puppets or snuggled with them on sick days or gave them a ‘nack and a hug when their tummies rumbled. I know that I will cherish these memories and give thanks. For it was my wife who answered God’s call and presented the idea that is now the reality of our fostering lives. We are on His path, and my co-traveler is a wonderful companion. I am in love with her and love her example to others. My wife is my very own 1 Corinthians 13 in flesh and blood….and she is a wonderful mother.
Happy Mother’s Day Jennifer!