Saturday, May 12, 2012

Musings About Mothering

Mother's Day . . . just thinking about the day stirs up a whirlwind of emotions with a hurricane force that are hard to hold down long enough to even write about.  My first Mother's Day, I don't even remember well.  I had a six month old son; I'm fairly sure it was spent with my parents and siblings and the beginnings of what would become dozens of grandchildren.  I think I took it for granted, yeah, I'm a mom, no big deal, it happens to a lot of people.  Women have babies every day, nothing special about that.

Fast forward to my fourteenth Mother's Day.  I have a photo (that I can't find!) of my son Chris, smiling at his new, long hoped for baby sister Jessica, who is not quite three months old.  I'm looking puffy, exhausted, overweight and kind of shell shocked at the miracle of Jessica's coming into this world.

I'm not sure if we took pictures every Mother's Day, but on my sixteenth day of celebration, I have another baby girl, not quite two months old, and there is no doubt about it, I am one weary mom.
Chris holding Jessica (2 years) and sleeping Kailyn (2 months)

There are many photos over the years of the girls and I, sometimes dressed in matching outfits (I sewed, and, I thought it was cute.  What can I say??)  (of course, I can't find any of them at the moment!)

On my 29th Mother's Day, Chris wrote me a long, three page poem, full of love, appreciation for his life, and gratefulness that he had me as his mom. I sobbed through it the first time I read it, and it will always be the most precious gift he ever gave me.  He wrote other poems too, but that one I especially treasure.

The girls have given me many, many lovely handmade cards, and beautiful gifts for Mother's Day.
2009 Mother's Day Hike at Eagle Creek

Hard to read . . . I can't remember what year this was.  Neither of the girls remember to date their offerings, and I neglect to in the moment!  I do remember this is from Jess!

Another one that is a little hard to read, but so sweet!  Kailyn surprised me with this her freshman year at Central.  David and I had driven over for Jazz weekend.  The larger words are all hand stitched, but it's a little difficult to tell.
One of several poems Jess has written for me.  She truly has a way with words.

I nearly always attend church on Mother's Day, and I nearly always cry at least a little.  The year after Chris died, I seem to remember sobbing so much I had to get up and leave.  I'm crying now, just thinking about no more Chris.

Sometimes, it makes me mad that I am sitting there crying over Chris, surrounded by my husband and usually one or both daughters, and I'm mad at Chris. Damn him for messing up my life and ruining my Mother's Day.

Of course, within seconds, I'm remorseful, and awash with gratefulness, that God made me a mother, and so generously gifted me with three incredible human beings who have called me "mom".  Chris didn't "ruin" my mother's day, anymore than my mom's death "ruined" my life. Sometimes I'm ashamed of myself for even thinking those thoughts.  But, I do think them once in awhile.  I guess that's part of living, that dying is what we all do, and, we have a choice  of how we will respond when life isn't "going our way".  Funny thing, we don't seem to be in charge of those events though, do we?

I know that it is my choice how I view my life, as either "half full" or half empty" and, most of the time, (these days, anyway) I see it as more than half full.  While I can't go so far as to say I'm glad I've experienced the losses I've had, I can say that what I've learned, and what I've gained from these losses are immeasurable. There's no better way to build compassion and empathy that to suffer loss. And, there's no better way to develop a rich appreciation for the minutest moments, than to be painfully aware that "this could be the last time" at all times.

Last night, Kailyn drove home from Ellensburg in time for us to make it to over to the high school to watch "Hello Dolly", something we've been planning for a few weeks.  The musical was fantastic, as usual, and it was thrilling to reconnect with several of my former students who played various roles.  The light technician was one of those special kids I had when I taught both second and fifth grades, and he completed his senior project as a volunteer in my classroom. I discovered about a third of the orchestra were also "my kids".

Teaching is another form of mothering.   I definitely feel a mothers pride when I watch my former second and fifth graders belting out a song, or dancing across the stage, all grown up in high school. I am grateful to have the incredible opportunity to "teach and reach" kids. As I was enveloped within the enthusiastic and loving hugs I received last night, I reveled in the perks that come from my nurturing in the classroom.

Today, Jessica is bringing "the boy" (aka Brandon) home to meet us for the first time.  She tells me the relationship is becoming "serious" and I'm filled with equal parts of anticipation and anxiety.  I have cleaned house like a dervish (directly related to an earlier post on incentive!)  David just hosed off the deck. Jessica's best friend, Elisa, (who is like a third daughter to me) and her husband are also coming for dinner, so we'll have a party tonight.  I'm looking forward to having "my kids" home, and it seems like an added bonus that it's also Mother's Day weekend.

I wish for all my blogging friends a wonderful weekend, whether you are honoring your mother, being  honored as a mother, or celebrating the sunshine with friends.  We are all nurturers, and we all deserve a day that is ours to enjoy, in whatever form that pleasure takes.


  1. This is a truly beautiful post. I am sorry about your son and I ask no questions. Just one mother sending a hug to another mother. I hope tomorrow is a wonderful day for you and your family and I just know the dinner tonight will be perfect!

  2. Dear Sandi, . . . I hope you know what a truly special and unique person you are. As you journey through your life--with your husband and your children and through death and sorrow as well as joy and triumph--you always remain so willing to grow and change and learn. That's what makes you such an outstanding teacher. A teacher the children treasure as they grow older.

    Because you reflect on your own experiences, you are able to understand what your children both at home and in the classroom are experiencing. You are one fine human being.


  3. Your reflection is extremely touching. I appreciate your honesty. My heart is with you as you celebrate tomorrow. Enjoy your time with your girls. XO

  4. My son was named Chris, too. It's hard to reflect on what might have been, but that's not what we were given. I will always miss him, especially on days I know I would have heard from him, but I am still a mother, even without a child still alive. You are so fortunate that you have your daughters, but it doesn't matter how many a mother has, they are all special and unique. Hugs to you, Sandi.

  5. Beautiful post. Your daughters have the same gift with words as their mom. Have a wonderful Mother's Day Sandi.

  6. Have a terrific Mother's Day. You deserve it. Glad you were able to see the show with your daughter and I hope you get spoiled rotten this weekend. It takes someone special to look back with such gratitude. Thank you for the reminder.

  7. Funny Sandi, the other night I was thinking about all of the past Mother's Day's with my kids and my own mom. Some great memories and now some bittersweet with mom gone.
    I'm reading Mitch Albom's "For One More Day". Great book. It brought on a lot of those memories. And even though Chris isn't here on Earth, you are still his mom and I'm sure he is waiting to see you again some day.
    I had the best Mother's Day weekend EVER, so far!! Hope you did too. You deserve it! Love Di ♥

  8. I hope your day was wonderful. It's OK to vent about true feelings. My sister lost her son when he was 18 and I know she has similar feelings during special holiday moments when he normally would have been there. My heart goes out to you and I'm so glad you have 2 lovely daughters to be with you. I hope the new boyfriend is a keeper! Hugs to you.

  9. Happy Mother's Day. Don't beat yourself up you are entitled to feels and ponderings...that is what makes us learn and grow.

  10. I think anger is a normal reaction as no mother wants to outlive her children. Don't be upset. You are wonderful or your girls wouldn't think so highly of you. Obviously Chris loved you dearly. have a great day my friend.


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