As most of you know, a little girl moved in for my first foster placement the Monday before Mother's Day. That night when she moved in, Mother's Day was not on my mind, but as the week progressed, it did occur to me. :) It never once crossed my mind that I should be celebrated. I've always celebrated MY mother on Mother's Day. I already had the gifts purchased. I had an idea of the menu. However, C needed to be priority and celebrating Mother's Day would not have been the best thing for her. In our family, we ignored the day.
My family has been coming over for Sunday lunch for a couple of months now, and they still did that day, but there was no specific mention of Mother's Day. I had checked with Mom ahead of time and she was completely fine with postponing. At that point, we knew C would probably only be with us until the next day, so it would be easy enough to celebrate Mom the next Sunday.
The first day C was at Bledsoe, there was a Muffins for Moms event for her grade level. She simply hung out with me at the beginning of the day and we walked down to class a little bit later. Let's not highlight the fact she isn't with her mom on her first day at a new school. :)
Mother's Day was the first (and only) Sunday she was with me, and dropping her off at Sunday School went better than I expected. But, the adults there said, "Mom will come back for you in a little while, okay?" I don't think she heard them, because she was so busy with new toys. But I heard them. And my heart ached.
I'm not her mom. I was acting as her mommy. I was doing all sorts of mommy things: making breakfast, rocking her to sleep, kissing her boo boos, brushing her hair, reading her stories, giving "bunny noses" and "butterfly kisses", helping her make friends and feel comfortable in her new class and a plethora of other things mommies do. I was filling the role of mommy, but I'm not her mommy.
I sat in service, knowing she was probably leaving the next day. She was already fully ensconced in my heart. I felt alone. I felt oh, so single. I felt oh, such a single parent. There IS a difference in those two feelings. And, being vulnerable and honest here, the feelings both stink...but the feeling of being alone as a parent is beyond any emotion I can even begin to explain. It's beyond the feeling of alone. It's the responsibility of a child's welfare. It's the love that explodes in your heart, yet the explosion is gradual and takes place over time. Until all of a sudden it's there, and I don't remember it not being there before. It's waking up in the middle of a night of already restless sleep, because I'm worried about her or wondering how she'll do with _________ event coming up. I'm constantly thinking I could have done something differently. I need to start doing something else differently. And with all of these thoughts...I'm the only one responsible. My parents are PHENOMENAL and they are Oh, So, Supportive. But the final word. The final responsibility. Is mine.
While I'm sitting in the sanctuary, a few minutes before service begins, a friend leans over to say hi, but I'm already teary and can't really explain it. It's Mother's Day and my heart is hurting. Hurting for C. Hurting for me. Hurting.
At the beginning of service, a man is making announcements and he addresses the excitement and the heartache of Mother's Day. He didn't specifically hit fostering and the "love and let go" that is oh, so hard, but that's okay. He really did try to hit all the aspects and emotions of this wonderful, painful, heartfelt day. He asked the mothers to stand to be recognized. I could have stood. I'm a foster mama. I had every right to stand. But, my body did not get up. I don't know any other way to say that. I sat there, and I sobbed. It hurt. How much I want a child. How much I want to parent WITH a husband instead of by myself. How much I want C to have a forever home that is safe and teaches Jesus' love. How much I love her and I knew she was leaving. My body was wracking because my heart was breaking in slow motion.
It was 10:30a when we're in the car, headed home. I was emotionally exhausted, with not much left to expend of physical energy either. But, I was still filling all the mommy duties. C wasn't tired. She was full of excitement and joy to have fun another day. Mommies don't get a break. There is no rest time. It is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year responsibility that is met with joy and heartache and worry. It doesn't get "left at the office" because it's constant, no matter if you're a SAHM or a working mom or if it's summertime or during the school year. I understand that so much more now, than I ever could have comprehended before. I'm sure there is even more I will learn with my next placement.
Mother's Day was hard. I'm not sure it could have been easier. It was emotional. It was my first Mother's Day. Except I'm not a mom. But I am. But, I'm not. Mother's Day can be a day of celebration. If I had just birthed a child. If my husband was beside me and we'd tried to have a baby for awhile and the Lord finally blessed us with a child to love and hold. That was not my experience for my first Mother's Day. It was painful and full of heartache and wishing for something different, not just in my own life, but in hers, too.
Prayers for moms that are hurting on this day. You are not alone. Even when Satan tries to convince you that you are. You are NOT alone. Jesus loves you. I am praying for you. You are not alone.