I couldn’t look up from my hands resting in my lap. I could feel the women standing up around me. I could imagine their smiles from ear to ear. I could hear the applause erupt, encompassing the large room. Echoing in my head I heard the words, “Let’s bless these wonderful Mother’s, today, on their very special day. Let us pray for these Mother’s…” the sounds became too much. Silently, a tear fell, wetting the back of my hand that now would act as my tissue. Right then and there I decided, I would never go to church on Mother’s Day.
Backtrack a little…
That may sound harsh, but it was too painful. I, of course, wanted to celebrate my mom, mother-in-law, and all the special women in my life, that were moms. But the gut-wrenching feeling inside my soul, as I waited, heart pounding, I knew it was coming. As if the “standing prayer” wasn’t enough, on the way out of church, they’d give the Moms a gift. Year after year, I’d try and sneak out, just smile while politely saying, (more like mumbling), “Thank you but I’m not a Mom.”
The precious person serving, would graciously smile back and then turn her attention to the next 20-something woman, to ask if she was a Mom.
I’ll never forget this one year, actually the last time pre-baby, that I celebrated Mother’s Day at church. I had gotten through the prayer and secretly wiped the tears this time, before they fell, with my hidden tissue. I rushed to the exit door after service, where I planned on blending in and hurry out. But nope, the sweet lady passing out that years gift, cute cosmetic mirrors, stopped me. She tried to hand me one.
For a split second, I thought
“Just take it, she doesn’t know you’re not a Mom, save yourself the embarrassment,” but it just came out-
“Oh no thank you, I’m not a Mother”
With that simple sentence, I could feel the tears building up, that ugly, far-from-quiet sob fest was about to happen. But just then she said…
“You may not be a Mom YET, but please take this gift, and know you are loved.”
And just like that, I felt loved.
But still, for the next 3 years, I skipped church Mother’s Day weekend.
Fast forward 4 years. My miracle was born a few weeks before Mother’s Day. I remember thinking,
“Finally, I get to stand.”
It wasn’t about the sweet gift, it wasn’t about the prayer (even though that’s beautiful), it was about me and my baby boy. It was about how hard we had to fight to have each other. It was about how many Mothers Days I spent crying in silence. It was about how, in one years time, I went from dreading that 2 minutes, to standing with my tiny precious baby boy, and just staring at him in awe, knowing that he was worth having to stay seated for so long.
This year, I’ll be celebrating my 5th Mothers Day, and I still cringe a few moments before the Pastor invites the Mothers to stand. But now, I stand, and instead of giving the other women standing a smile or a nod, I look around me to the women still seated. I don’t know their story, I don’t know their journey, I don’t know if they even want to stand. But I do know that some are looking down, catching secret tears, waiting for those long 2 minutes, to be over. To those women, I see you, I believe with you, I mourn with you, and while the Pastor is praying a blessing over the standing Mothers, I’m praying a blessing over the still seated Mothers. The Mothers that may have had to say a too soon goodbye to their new baby, maybe never got to meet the baby that grew inside them, maybe made a choice to not have their baby, maybe decided to allow their baby to be adopted, maybe have not been able to have their baby yet. You are seen, you are important, you matter, you are still their Momma.
You may not be a Mother YET, but take this gift, and know you are loved.