Bittersweet Mother’s Day

If everything had gone the way we thought it would, we would have celebrated a birthday here last week.

We would have had another little munchkin running around here, turning five years old.

I don’t think about that very often. Except around Mother’s Day. When that old due date rolls around, there are some dreams I once dreamed that are buried way down deep, but keep coming up to the surface each May.

And you know what? I’m glad they do. It makes Mother’s Day a little bittersweet, but I’ve gotten used to it. And this year, I realized I’ve even become thankful for it.

Although I don’t think about that baby much anymore, those bittersweet thoughts remind me of how much I really do have. If we had never gone through any miscarriages, I’m sure I would still love our girls like crazy, I’d still be so thankful for them.

But I think that as a mom, having loved and lost, even when it was only for a few weeks, puts things into perspective.

I like perspective.

I like it that all this happiness is here, even after a good amount of pain. I like how things worked out in the end. I really always wanted three or four kids, but I like finding out how nice two can be.

I like thinking there are babies in heaven waiting for me. I don’t think about that a lot either – I feel a bit of a jolt anytime I have to fill out a medical form that asks how many pregnancies I’ve had, and I realize I need to write down a number “four”.

I am the mother of four children. That sounds kind of plentiful, doesn’t it? An odd feeling for a mom who never felt like she had enough, for so many years.

Those years seemed to go on forever, and now suddenly, they are done. Suddenly I am happy, and suddenly that time seems so much shorter than it did while it was happening.

I wish so much that I could dump hope on all the people who are waiting for something.

I wish I could pass on the peace that’s found in just knowing that God knows, and in the end, even the pain is worth it and part of you, and you wouldn’t go back and change it. I wish I could gift someone with the perspective that comes in the end.

Oh, I wasn’t going to do this, but I really do need to quote Donald Miller one more time, even though there’s been a lot of him around here in the last few weeks:

…We were designed to live through something rather than to attain something, and the thing we were meant to live through was designed to change us. (p.70, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years)

I’ve lived through something, and it has changed me. Some days I still feel like I mess up an awful lot as a mom, but I do think I’m a better mom because of all we’ve gone through.

For me, Mother’s Day is not just a celebration of this relationship, but it’s also a celebration of what it took to get here. We made it through, and it has been very, very good. These girls of mine are precious, special gifts, and having loved and lost along the way has taught me a little bit about the value of life.

The bitter has made me realize how sweet this life of mine really is!

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