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On My First Mother’s Day As a Mommy

13 May 2013

Yesterday was my first post-partum Mother’s Day, and do you know what great epiphany it inspired?


It was pretty much the same.

I expected something. Not much, but … something. A mushier affection for my little Meatball, an extra dose of maternal instinct, newfound wisdom, silkier hair, a little bird singing on my windowsill … anything.

Mostly I just groaned at being the first one out of bed so I could shower before we headed to church.

And I got a few cute text messages and a few sweet Facebook tags. And a few of our friends saw us and exclaimed, “Happy first Mother’s Day!” – or something similarly cute.

But just as many of our friends started as we said goodbye 90 minutes later and remembered, “Oh ya, hey, it’s kind of your first Mother’s Day as a mommy!” … Or texted me later in the afternoon when they, “Just realized you’re actually a mommy now. Happy Mother’s Day!”

Offended? Are you kidding?

I’m flattered. 

Husband and I have been leading the youth ministry at our church for about five and a half years now, and we’ve been volunteering in it for another three or four. We’ve been teaching and mentoring and praying for students for longer than we’ve been married, and I frequently have to tell the girls, “I’m not old enough to be your mother … Let’s pretend I’m your cool big sister instead.”

A mother is so much more than a woman who carries a developing baby until she can deliver it into the big, wide world. In some cases, those women aren’t mothers at all.

A mom is a woman who has walked the road for a while, but is willing to pause – or halt or at least slow down – her own journey, so that she can turn around and help someone else on his. A mom is a woman – any woman – who loves selflessly, gives passionately, and serves constantly.

(Which is not, lest you get any ideas about what kind of saint I must be, to say that I necessarily do any of those things for the students in our youth ministry. Oftentimes I eventually get selfish, dispassionate, and tired, and pray a final prayer that ends something like, “And thank You that I am not her mother. Amen.” Many teenagers these days, unfortunately, tend to have lower standards and expectations for the love they’re given, and will exalt you to “Mom” if you hug them goodbye consistently and show up to a school function.)

And here’s the thing: I spent last weekend with all kinds of women who fit that description – most of them much better than I do – and who may or may not have grown tiny people in their uteruses.

  • I saw women who have prayed their whole lives for children, and watched their youth fade in the process.
  • I hung out with women this weekend who are still in their childbearing years, and are still trying against all odds.
  • I know women who adopted children because they couldn’t carry babies,
  • and women who adopted children even though they already have produced several babies.
  • I know young women who want husbands and families someday, but are just trying to survive college right now.
  • I know women who had kids before they intended to,
  • and women who stopped having kids before they intended to.

All of them are mothers.

Because all of these women love children and young people who are coming up after them. They have all given of themselves with joy for what it produces in someone else, and they all serve the next generation whether or not anyone sees their efforts.

All of these women have put their own plans on hold for someone else. They’ve all sacrificed for someone who will never repay them. They’ve all cheered at games and curtain calls and graduation ceremonies. They’ve inspired and encouraged and taught the next generation(s), and for that – for all of that – they are moms.

So Happy (Belated) Mother’s Day to all the real moms out there. May the next generation of women be half as wonderful as you are.

(Has there been a “mom” in your life besides the one who birthed or adopted you? Tell us about her.)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kassandra permalink
    13 May 2013 4:20 PM

    Aww Lex you are so sweet. Love this post. 🙂

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