I never thought I would be a Mom. Never really wanted to do it. I watched my own troubled mother struggle through her life. She died when I was 19. My dad had died the year before.
My mother’s life was hard as she struggled with depression and numerous health issues. From my perspective as the youngest of eight kids, I saw her fatigue and life disappointment in clear focus. Her regular suicide threats collided with my adolescent angst. It was not pretty or normal.
I clearly did not want what she had. Besides, my generation of liberated young women was meant for greater things.
And so we trained for careers and a bigger life. Children would only serve to encumber. I finished college, finished law school and set out to practice law.
At 30, my biological clock ticked louder. What would I do with these elemental urges?
Finally in a good marriage, I declared to the universe, “Bring it on!” only to experience the ultimate irony of infertility.
And so we adopted. With the pressure off we conceived once quickly and successfully, then adopted twice more.
With a home filled to the brim with surprises, how does a motherless mother learn to mother?
With no healthy role models, I read books. I went to Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) groups. I studied other mothers at church. I begged other mothers at the park to engage in adult conversation with me about parenting. Of course, they shed little light on my plight as they chased after their own little ones, some feeling their own deep mother hunger.
Ultimately, I found my model and my mentor to be the Lord, tenderly drawing me to Himself, filling my emptiness, enlightening my ignorance, finding me in my lost-ness and the hot mess of family life.
With constant prayer, trial and error – mostly error – I found my Mothering Mojo. To my surprise, it suited me to love and nurture. Through the exhaustion, my character was shaped and my heart was enlarged. By learning to give what I had missed, I learned to love – deeply and completely.
So each Mother’s Day, I seek to express my thanks and thanksgiving to my children.
Yes, I’ve changed the diapers and cleaned up the messes, but the unexpected surprise and blessing of my life has been the privilege of raising you. I have done NOTHING for you. You all have captivated my mind and my heart and allowed me to experience such great joy – joy that I nearly missed.
From my heart to yours, a THANK YOU to Clare, Caitlin, Grace, Daniel and g-baby Jesse.
Author Lisa-Jo Baker shares When You Still Need Your Mom and She’s Not There Anymore Be prepared for some realness!