Saturday, May 2, 2015

When Mother's Day is Hard

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For many, Mother's Day is a blessing. A time to be spoiled, acknowledged. For others, the holiday can be tough. Disappointing. Maybe even exhausting, but that doesn't mean we can't be blessed in our exhaustion. Don't believe me? Read on, because I have a feeling the story below, by Tracy Wainwright, will bless your socks off. Or heels. Or slippers.

For those who've lost children, whether through miscarriage, illness, or any type of tragedy, Mother's Day will most likely be filled with painful memories. If that's you, join us next Saturday to read a story written by a mom who's been there.

What Mother's Day is Really about by Tracy Wainwright

Mother’s Day was not created for mothers of young children. This thought ran through my head as I fought tears and struggled to get a brush through the matted mess that was my three-year-old’s hair.
Truly, I hadn’t given much thought to Mother’s Day before becoming one myself. I mean, I almost always remembered to get my mom a card and generally took her out to lunch, or even cooked it. It was a good excuse to take a few extra steps to show her that I loved her and appreciated her. And when I got married, to do the same for my mother-in-law.
Yet now that I was a mother myself, I found that my expectations of Mother’s Day - of getting a day off, maybe perhaps of a little pampering - where way of base. I did get breakfast. My husband expertly threw the canned cinnamon rolls in the oven and bacon in the pan. I did get a card with precious scribbles and crudely drawn people. The thought counts. It does.
So why in this moment did I feel overwhelmed with disappointment? Because I was still expected to brush my girls’ hair and decorate them with pretty bows, perhaps. Or because my not quite one-year-old still needed me to nurse her in the middle of trying to get a family of six out the door looking great for church. Or maybe, just maybe, because I’d been sleep-deprived for the better part of seven years and was plain exhausted.
All these musings flowed through my mind as my hand directed the brush, stroke after stroke, to coax out tangles caused by restless sleep. Finally, the brush ran top to bottom without any hitches. I carefully formed a braid as the little squirming body standing before me let me know she was done standing still. “All done,” I announced after looping the rubber band for the last time.
Short, chubby arms flew around my neck and squeezed. “Thanks, Mommy! I love you.”
My shoulders relaxed as I returned the hug. “You’re welcome, Sweetie. I love you, too.”
Photo by Pezibear from
As one child bounded out of the room, another strolled in. This, my oldest at seven, calmest child, approached with freshly plucked flowers. “Here, Mommy. A flower for you.
Happy Mother’s Day.”
Again, gratitude and affection flowed from my lips as I received another hug.
Then the baby began to cry. Before I could cross the room and follow the bellowing
down the hallway, my five-year-old son slammed his door in his smallest sister’s face and raced up to me. “I told her she couldn’t play with my Legos and she got mad.”
I ruffled his hair. “Thanks, bud. I’ll get her.”
The tears stopped almost as quickly as they began, with the aid of a pacifier always kept close. The soft little head lay against my chest and I sighed.
There would be no pampering today. No meal cooked just for me, then cleaned up. But I would take this. The hugs from little arms. The snuggles of a tiny body. These moments that I would never again have, nor would I trade for anything else in the world.
“All right, let’s go!” I hollered. With one in my arms and three racing down the stairs in front of me, I caught a glimpse of my husband waiting. Keys in one hand, my cup of decaf in the other. I grinned, said one more, “Thank you,” and walked out the door knowing that this morning when I was greeted with, “Happy Mother’s Day,” I could accept it with gratitude, contentment, and a feeling of being blessed beyond measure.
This day, after all, wasn’t about getting a day off. This day was about celebrating the best things about being a mom – the work, the love, the joy my babies have brought into my life.

I smiled a real smile as I juggled a baby, a diaper bag, a purse, tried to get sunglasses on with them getting snatched or little smudges on them and walked to the car, not caring a bit that we were a few minutes late.
Tracy Wainwright is a wife, homeschooling mom of four, author, speaker, and director of the Abundant Life Conference for Women in Williamsburg, VA. She has a passion for honest, transparent, and joyful motherhood.

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