Do you know how hard it is to be a mom? I cannot speak for fatherhood because I have not been there.
Moms are the glue in most families. My mom passed away in August of 1995. Although my mom had been sick and had not hosted the past few Christmases, she was the center of our our celebrations although at each other’s homes. The Christmas of 1995 was different. We didn’t know what to do. If I recall, we three sisters took food to my dad’s home and we celebrated like always, but it didn’t feel like always. The following year we decided to have a progressive Christmas. It was a pretty simple concept. Each adult in the family, which included adult grandkids, would host part of Christmas. We didn’t have to drag gifts around because when the party was at the particular host’s home, they gave out their packages. We arrived, the food was served, appetizers at the first home, and on. The host(ess) shared some type of entertainment, from singing a Christmas carol together, to reading a Christmas poem, whatever the host decided. The food was eaten, and the host(ess) gave out the gifts, and then on to the next home for the next course to be served, entertainment, and gift giving. It took all day to get to dessert. It was a lot of fun driving around town for the continuation of the meal. I think the men hated it! It was our first and only progressive Christmas! We just were at a loss how to celebrate the holidays without mom around. She was the glue that held our family together.
I was a single mom for several years. When I divorced, I had four sons ages 4 to 10. It was tough. I didn’t know how to balance my personal life and my work life, and I think many times I was pretty lousy at both. I didn’t have the money to put the kids in sports programs, nor did I have the luxury of time to take them to and from these activities. I was at work making barely enough to cover the bills, and many times not enough to cover the bills.
My four boys and I survived—maybe by the skin of our teeth, but we survived. We had good days and bad days, good things came our way, and bad things came our way. We kind of learned to roll with the punches.
Kids got sick. My dear sweet mother, who nursed me through sicknesses, many times nursed my kids through their illnesses because I had to go to work. One time I actually had to take off work because all four of them came down with chicken pox at the same time. My mom showed up with McDonald’s for lunch. It was not met with a lot of joy because of couple of them were feeling too sick to enjoy the treat. I enjoyed it because my mom, as always, gave me a break.
My mom never met any of my grandchildren. She died one month before my first grandchild was born. What a loss for them to not know this quiet, shy, and great lady.
This past Mother’s Day a lady named Robbin prayed this prayer at our church. I don’t remember ever crying during a prayer, but this prayer brought me to tears because it hit so many parts of my life. I asked her if I could share it with you and if she was the author of the prayer. She said it was authored by Emily P. Freeman, and that she had tweaked it a bit, so I guess Robbin Howey and Emily Freeman are both the authors and I want to give credit where credit is due. The prayer:
I know that in a room this size that Mother’s Day can bring about many emotions, and I know that is not lost on you. I know you see us and care about the innermost parts of our hearts. Help us to create space and celebrate the moms in our midst.
For the moms who were up through the night and are here with tired eyes and possibly a tired soul, may you refresh them today.
For the moms negotiating bedtimes, mealtimes and snack times while eating a handful of goldfish and calling it lunch, may you give them patience.
For the moms who would without hesitation jump in front of a moving car for their children, but can’t find the energy to make one more PB&J, may you give them room to breathe.
For the moms who are buying poster board at the only open store at 11pm because someone forgot to mention a school project, may you give them grace.
For the moms who ask for help and let someone else do the laundry and take the kids to practice because they need a minute, may you give them reassurance that asking for help is good.
For the moms who fight off guilt, comparison, and shame, may you give them an extra measure of your love.
For the moms who are raising them up all by herself, doing the job of two parents with only the energy of one, may you give them strength.
For the moms cringing in the passenger seat, staying up til curfew, and engaging in late night conversations, may you give them compassion.
For the moms straightening bow ties, buying fancy dresses, making reservations, holding up cameras and waiving from the driveway, may you give them fresh eyes to enjoy their season.
For the moms praying in the darkness, longing for connection, dreaming of the future, and always wanting what is best, may you give them hope.
For the moms who no longer have children in the house, but hold them in her heart, who leaves the door open and her arms open wider, may you give her joy.
For the moms who long for children they don’t yet have, or the children they now only hold in their hearts, may you give them peace.
For the ones who aren’t with their moms today, for whatever reason, give them comfort.
May we be a church family that sees those around us the way that you see them.
As Robbin prayed this prayer that Sunday, I felt every feeling I had when those scenarios matched my life (which was most of them). The tears flowed, my sweet husband put his arm around me.
I thank God there is a congregation that prayed for all those who today are having situations similar to mine. I felt so alone so much of the time. May we all be open to be of encouragement to all the mothers in this world.