of mother’s day

It was Mother’s Day today. Strangely, considering the undoubted fact that I am a mother (and doubly so), it still feels like a day that is more about my own mother than myself. About how surpassingly precious she is and always will be to me. About what she has given me over the course of thirty years. My mother is my best friend, my main mentor, my safest place. She led me to the Lord. She leads me to him all the time. She embodies everything that is tender, sacrificial, and unconditional in a mother’s love. Sometimes it feels like a lot to live up to.  

I went to bed last night feeling like a failure as a mother. And as everything else. In the last week I twice raised my voice at The Most Precious Two-Year-Old in the World (it’s unanimous, her father and I both voted for her). In the last few days I’ve been extremely low on sleep, patience, and good cheer. My children are my dearest treasures and I can’t cope with all of their needs. I deeply love my husband but I’ve been nitpicking him to death. I have handmade gifts for both my mothers but I haven’t mailed them yet. (Sorry, Mom and Mom.) I haven’t written a word since Wednesday, which is a longer gap on this blog than I had over the birth of my daughter. Lately everything I clean looks worse than it did before I started, everything I cook is over-seasoned (“What’s for dinner?” “Cayenne pepper with a dab of chili on top.”), and I need a haircut. Also everything I wear on my north half turns out to be dirty and everything I wear on my south half keeps trying to secede from the Union.

The first thing I remember this morning is exuberant toddler kisses all over my face and my sweet man standing there with hot coffee steaming in my favorite mug. The second thing I remember is hearing him say, “Um, I hate to mention it but Harriet has had A. Serious. Blowout. and I can’t put her down anywhere except the bathtub…” (The baby has an event I have dubbed the Biweekly, the aftermath of which usually requires lots of baby wipes and hot soapy water and stain remover. Poor little darling.) Then omelets for three, packing for today’s church picnic and gathering our forces for Sunday morning. (It’s not Mother’s Day in the UK, they celebrate “Mothering Day” a month previously.) I left the flat still feeling discouraged.

And then, both girls deposited among the children, I stood numbly beside Alex in church trying to focus through my pathetic self-destructive thoughts. And then came the words, O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free! Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me! Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love… and shockingly, undeservedly I felt the sweet love of Jesus surround and permeate me and I remembered with a flash of light that I am deeply loved, as I am, in all my failings. There is nothing to measure up to. I already have it.

It is not an English Thing to weep in church. But I’m an American and it’s Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day.

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10 Responses to of mother’s day

  1. Oh you sweet sweet woman, mother, lover of Jesus and All things Alex!
    I cried with you as I read the words of the hymn……
    Thanks for your writing – you have a gift.
    I’m laughing aloud one moment – and crying a moment later.

    Still it is your day! Happy Mothers Day!

  2. Janet says:

    Thank you so much!!

  3. therigneys says:

    Oh bets, I love your honesty. It’s refreshing. I echo Debara’s comment, you had me laughing and crying in the same breath. I even had Joe read your post, we got a nice cackle out of the Union bit. Love you.

  4. Susan says:

    I love the way you write. The words of the Hymn had me in tears like your other readers.

    He made us, He knows us, and He loves us. These are truths we all need to remember daily. Thanks for this sweet post.

  5. Amberly says:

    Sweet Betsy! I know you have had a hard few days/weeks. I know you are a wonderful wife and mother and from personal experience a dear friend. You are from a failure although I completely understand those feelings. You inspire me to be better in so many ways, the least of which is to clean behind my oven. 🙂

    This is absolutely true – “I am deeply loved, as I am, in all my failings. There is nothing to measure up to. I already have it.” I needed to hear that this morning. I appreciate your honesty and transparency. Remember that I am always a flight of stairs away if you need a good cry. And we can do something about the trouser issue – shopping trip sometime next week, maybe? Love you!

  6. Kristin says:

    I loved this post. It’s both hilarious and precious at the same time. You are a wonderful and loving mother and a gifted writer. I miss you!

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