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Motherhood is not for the faint-hearted | Jan's Journal

May 7, 2009

Mother’s Day is here again?

Last year, I scored a beautiful bracelet by playing on my husband's vulnerable side. It’s just money after all, and, compared to the life and death situations that were happening May 2008, money didn’t mean much.

I wonder if I’ll get a boat this year, since I just attended my third funeral in six months. Well, a boat is a little much, but how about that new kitchen sink? I need to work that angle better. My husband asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day today (without his usual quip that I’m not his mother), and it caught me off guard. I completely fumbled the answer with something lame like, “I have everything I need.” There — that’s what I said. No going back now.

I’m a firm believer that we should live our life with no regrets. And as a mother, it’s my job to teach my children how to do that. Make a decision based on all the information you have at the time, and move on. And remember to remember why you decided to go one way instead of the other when self-doubt taps you on your overconfident shoulder.

With all of the hospitals and nursing homes we’ve been visiting this past year, I’ve had opportunities for interesting dialogue with my kids too... like why hospital cafeteria grilled cheese sandwiches always taste better than my homemade ones.

It’s a cliche to say that if this job were easy, a man would be doing it. Motherhood is definitely not for the faint-hearted. I haven’t been able to discern whether my children’s temperaments, learning styles and irritating habits are genetic or learned behavior. Pointing an accusing finger at my husband only goes so far, and he’s pointing it right back at me. According to one of my many parenting books, the more exasperating you find your child’s behavior, the more likely that they are just like you. Oh well, I sigh — it could be worse. I don’t always find them annoying. It’s just hard to get everyone on the same page when we’re living such organized chaotic days.

Looking back over the past year, as a mother, I have had to field questions of life-altering proportions. My youngest daughter asked me yesterday (while driving behind the hearse and police escorts to the cemetery for her grandfather’s funeral): “How do we know there’s a heaven when we die?” She was concerned and scared about the possibility that there is nothing after death. Instinctually, I knew that my answer would matter and would be remembered. I replied without hesitation: “Faith.”

It is a hard concept to grasp — to believe in something we can’t see. I am confident that life is for the living, to cherish and make the most of each day — to give more than you take. I have faith that we are where we are supposed to be even when we question our decisions — to try to have no regrets.

There is faith that we are loved with a purpose for our trials and tribulations, going far beyond our earthly ways. It’s not our right to know when or why we’ll die, just that it’s the way God intends it to be.

Truly the only gifts I want this Mother’s Day can’t be store bought. Mother’s Day this year will be spent counting my blessings (my children), and also remembering my own mother with love and prayers — and my faith that someday I will see her again.

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