Baby Steps & Mother’s Day

Photo by Lena Mytchyk on Unsplash

It’s been over a year since I’ve written. Over a year since I poured out my thoughts onto a blank canvas, processing as the words tumble out of my fingertips. More than a year has passed and I’m still not sure I’m ready to fully process all that has taken place. So instead I’m taking baby steps and writing what is on my mind today. Maybe tomorrow I’ll have more thoughts that need to be written down or maybe another year will pass, and that’s okay.

“Baby steps”. This phrase holds a whole new meaning for me. I am currently watching my almost one-year-old learn to take those monumental, extremely unstable first steps. Her little legs wobble and she grasps for things around to steady her, often finding only air to meet her fingertips before collapsing on the ground. But then what does she do? She stands up and tries again.

A few more steps.

A little more ground gained.

A victory as she reaches the thing or person she was headed toward.

Baby steps often feel small and insignificant, without much distance covered, and yet they are foundational. Before we can walk, run, and sprint our way forward we have to first learn to take those baby steps. And so, I’m taking “baby steps” back into the writing world.

In the last year and a half, our family has experienced: job changes, the birth of our daughter, death in the family, selling a house, moving to a new state, buying a new house…so…just a few things to process.

Today though I am sitting here, trying to grade essays, while also planning a list of things that need to get accomplished during nap time, and somehow finding myself distracted instead by the fact that Mother’s Day is rapidly approaching. What does this tell me? I probably need to process Mother’s Day. So here I am, putting my thoughts down in the hopes of finding better clarity.

Mother’s Day is both/and. It is both a beautiful way to honor those who work hard, day in and day out, to keep the tiny human(s) alive while also staying alive herself, and it is a day full of emotions for those who:

  1. Have lost their mom
  2. Have a complicated relationship with their mom
  3. Have an absent mom
  4. Long to be a mom
  5. Are mom to children no longer here on Earth

Last year I celebrated Mother’s Day by preparing to welcome our second daughter into the world, praying the delivery process would be different than our first. Sure enough, on May 11th (a mere two days after Mother’s Day), Jovie Jane joined our family and changed our lives forever. Jovie means “joyful” and we knew, from the moment we saw her sweet, squishy face, that was her name. Our little joyful, energetic, bundle of entertainment and delight! This year I will get to celebrate Mother’s Day with a healthy, exuberant, almost one-year-old little girl in my arms and oh how grateful I am for that! But, with that joy, there is still sorrow her older sister isn’t here to celebrate with us as well.

This year we will celebrate Verity’s 5th birthday. Five years since we held her in our arms and said goodbye. Honestly, I thought it would get infinitely easier when Jovie arrived and, in some ways, it has. But, being Mom to Jovie has also shown me all the more vividly what I have missed out on getting to do with Verity. I’ve missed getting to see her open her eyes for the first time, smile when someone says her name, belly laugh at her Dad’s antics, and take her first steps. I’ve missed getting to watch her be a big sister to Jovie and play with “Buba-dog”. I’ve missed playtime exploration and bedtime stories and what it would look like to be a mom of two littles.

So, as we head into Mother’s Day, my heart needed a reminder to be gentler with myself and more aware of those around me. My community is filled with people who have lost children, lost mothers, long to be mothers, and/or long to have a healthier relationship with their mothers. My friends, I hope this year you feel loved and seen on Mother’s Day. I hope you find space to feel heard and space to simply breathe. And, most of all, I hope you find your own ways to process all that Mother’s Day holds because Mother’s Day, like much of life, is both/and.