Making it through

The Monday after Mother's Day. 

A sigh of relief.  The letting go of held in breath. 
Of pinching yourself so you wouldn't cry.  Of brave faces. 
Of broken hearts.

Mother's Day is not the same for any of us from days past.

How I treasure those early years of chubby fingers bringing me dandelions from the yard.  Of hand-print poems framed for the occasion.  Of clip on ties and crisp white shirts little boys wriggled in.  Of bear hugs and wet kisses.

Life is different now in our home.

I inhale the sweet embrace of my towering teenage boy and say prayers of thankfulness for the son who remains.  Smiles come from seeing him help his dad cook dinner for me and sweep the floor.  Touched by the thoughtfulness of Tim pre-ordering me a made from scratch red velvet cake, my favorite.  Surprised by the rose and card from my loving momma, even though I arrived at her church to give the surprise.  Thankful for a meal provided by my sister's in-laws, who opened their home and shared the day with us.  Combined families, new faces, changes in tradition.  Heart tugs from the quiet but loving "Happy Mother's Day" from my niece with my good-night hug.
 
I'm grateful for the simpleness of the holiday, because life isn't a Hallmark commercial, and honestly, simple is easier on everyone.

Because here...

Mothers long for their babies, whether they've left this earth too soon, were never given the joy of being born into this world, or are grown but paying for mistakes and not around. 

Here...

Children long for their mothers, whether they've earned their wings from wrinkled age, or made bad choices that separated them. 

Here...

Mother's Day includes visits to a graveside to say I love you.  To a graveside that also includes a son and a momma's heart is broken over watching her husband waiver in grief and longing for what can't be.

Here....

There is silent pain in a little girl's eye.  Of what was and wasn't all at the same time and of what will never be.  A girl who always holds her breath in life, waiting for the next shoe to fall.  Who is afraid to let go and hit a pinata at a birthday party because every joyful moment she has was followed by chaos and pain.  Who's afraid if she breathes and lets go, this new life she's grasping onto will change again for the worse.  And an aunt who hasn't quite figured out how to fill that gap and patch up the hurting holes, so she treads lightly, but desperately wants to heal her pain.

Here...

We pray without ceasing through the day.  We're grateful for the blessings. And we soak up every joyful tidbit.  We laugh harder, when it comes, and tuck it away with gratitude. 

But here... we're glad when Monday comes.

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