Friday, May 6, 2011

joyously full and overwhelmingly empty in the same breath

The stretch marks across my belly are like a road map into the past.

My belly.

Despite my weight issues, I love it! I love the memories of the blessings my belly has held.

On Sunday, Mother's Day, I will celebrate with two of those little blessings. Being a wife and mother were dreams I didn't know how to dream and now they are dreams come true everyday.

But the day before Mother's Day there will be another celebration. One marked by quiet reflection, whispered memories and bittersweet tears. Saturday is Birthmother's day.

Just days after my first daughter was born (and placed with her adoptive parents) I laid in my bed. Hands on my deflated belly and cried myself to sleep. I didn't want to hear how noble my sacrifice was or how I did the right thing...I wanted to know if I'd ever stop crying. If life would ever feel normal again. If my deflated belly would ever not remind me of pregnancy, baby kicks, the sound of a newborn's cry, and just how empty my arms and heart are.

And truthfully, I am very much that same young day a year. 364 days a year I live a life full of laughter, princesses, army men, dogs, homeschooling, and love! I wouldn't trade it for anything else, but that doesn't mean I don't know what I am missing. Birthmother's Day echoes the emptiness my choices left me with.

What would it be to know the sound of laughter of my two daughters who don't call me mom?  Our table seats 6...I imagine their faces and tales of early teen life filling our dining room. What are their favorite meals? What would it be like to snuggle with them? Will they ever want to know me?

The truth of our lives is quite different and always will be. They have beautiful, strong, amazing women to call mom. Women that God hand picked and placed in my path. Funny, that I "chose" their parents. I looked at profile after profile searching for the women my babies would call mommy. For the women who would nurse their wounds, help them with their homework, teach them to love, and share the everyday things that bless a mother's heart.

I am blessed to be a mother. I am keenly aware of the fleeting moments with our small children. That they grow at the speed of life and before I know it our halls won't ring with giggles and we'll be remembering our todays as long ago yesterdays. I'm thankful for every moment.

And, I am blessed to be a birthmother. For with the ache and the emptiness comes the truth that the babies I once held in my belly and briefly in my arms are where God intended them to be...with their mothers. And I am thankful to two women who fought paperwork and legal battles. Who faced down infertility and circumstances they couldn't control. For on the other side of that painful mountain, I met them. They became mothers. And they became my friends...

So celebrate the mothers (and the birthmothers) in your life this weekend! For it is a true gift from God to be called to the sacrificial station of motherhood. Oh, and the blessing of being loved by your mother!!

Father, thank you for letting me play a part in the lives of four of your children. And while my roles for two of them are far different then the others I believe you will heal those scars and fill those empty places someday. As I live this life that is joyously full and overwhelmingly empty in the same breath, please walk with me. Remind me of the daily blessings you have given me and hold my heart when it beats a broken beat into the past.

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