Days like Mother’s Day are always challenging for me. It’s hard to sift through the Instagram and Facebook posts and see how other mothers are being celebrated by their children. When E was a little baby, we obviously didn’t know of any delays she would have but even if we had known, it wouldn’t have stung so much because babies aren’t supposed to be able to talk and make crafty gifts for their moms. Now that she’s 3, she’s entering into that precious age when her peers are saying the darndest things and drawing pictures to be hung on the fridge. I try hard not to compare our situations but on days like today, when everywhere I turn it’s another proud mama showing off what her child has done for her, it’s hard to ignore.
The truth is I feel robbed sometimes.
Motherhood is inherently difficult; marked by worries and I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing moments. I imagine that even mothers of typically developing children have the days when they feel like they can’t go another day. But sometimes I get so angry because at least those mothers get to experience the joys of watching their children mature and become little thinkers. They witness their babies turn into people they can actually converse with; their children can answer questions and share what’s on their minds. Mine can’t. Or doesn’t. And that’s hard on a mama. I know that she loves me but to not be able to hear her say it on her own volition is the worst kind of heartbreak, I think.
On Friday, E’s preschool class invited all the mothers to come join for a special celebration. The kids each took turns going up to the front of the class and singing for their mom. When it was E’s turn, she got on the floor and wailed because she wanted to sit with me instead of stand in the front by herself. Later on the kids all took the moms out to a little flower garden on the school campus where they had decorated flower pots filled with real flowers. The other kids were excited to present their moms with the gifts and I could see that each had put at least some effort into beautifying their flowerpot. Mine was blank, as usual, since E hates anything artsy crafty and instead of being happy to gift me the flowerpot, E wanted to sit and pluck each petal out individually. I didn’t linger long after class ended and just brought her home for lunch and nap. My heart was heavy.
Yesterday, I decided I wanted to try and do something special and fun with her. She hasn’t had a lot of one on one time with me since her baby brother was born and I know she misses that even if she can’t say as much. She was wearing her favorite Sofia the First nightgown on top of her clothes but she has a much nicer Sofia the First replica dress up outfit that she received for her birthday. I pulled it out and asked if she wanted to wear that instead because I thought she might like it. She was excited and pointed to it and said, “This one?” so I took that as a sign that she wanted to change into that one. But as soon as I tried to pull off the nightgown, she absolutely lost it. She kicked and screamed and even though I tried to take it back and tell her she didn’t have to change if she didn’t want to, it was too late. In her tantrum, I somehow took an elbow to the chin and it hurt. My heart hurt more. I melted into a puddle of tears and just sat there holding my flailing preschooler until she calmed down. I sobbed into her sweet head of hair, wondering if this was all I had waiting for me in the years to come. Will I ever be able to have a conversation with her? Will it always be moments of broken communication and frustrated breakdowns? Will I be sitting on the floor with my 8-year old, my 12-yr old, my 16-yr old, both of us sobbing, simply because we can’t understand each other? These are the fears that plague my thoughts and the things Satan likes for me to dwell on to rob my joy.
I named this blog Manna for Mommy because in this season of life, that’s how I feel like I’m surviving. In the desert, God gave the Israelites manna to sustain them. Each morning, He gave them fresh manna, but only enough for that day, never more. For me at this moment, that’s how I feel like I’m living life. Day by day. Barely. If I think about tomorrow or next week, the prospect becomes too overwhelming and I start to shut down. But day by day, God meets in my need and gives me the grace I need press on. One step at a time, one morning at a time. Manna. Not enough grace to last me for the rest of the month but just the right amount I need for today. That’s it. He’s cultivating my dependence on Him and breaking me of my selfish pride.
Today, on Mother’s Day, I got a really special gift from E. No, it wasn’t a hand decorated card or loudly declared exclamation of I LOVE YOU MOMMY. We were out at the mall and from afar, she saw me walking. Her face lit up with a huge smile and she ran all the way to me with the biggest grin on her face. I waited with my arms open and bated breath because sometimes she doesn’t do what I hope and think she’s going to do. But today she did; today she ran straight into my arms and gave me the biggest hug she could give. And in return I gave her the biggest kiss I could give. Manna for today right there.