It's not big surprise that I've been thinking a lot about being a mother lately. Once I was part of a group building exercise (MUC Preview Guides 2001) in which the group answered dozens of questions with one word answers. The one that I remember most clearly was "What word do you want on your tombstone?". Now in reality, I'm not sure I want a tombstone. How about a tree with a small plaque or a garden with a pretty bench? But I digress... my answer was "mother". It's the thing I've wanted most in this world for as long as I can remember.
When I had baby #1, I took comfort in knowing that I'd have another newborn someday... I loved it so much and worried that I would be sad this time around knowing it's my last time. However, just as other mother's told me, every age is my favorite. I love the newborn phase, but I also love the toddler phase. So though there will be things that I miss as Heidi grows (I can't believe I had forgotten about the newborn smell... oh it is truly intoxicating!), I'll be too enamored with her current phase to grieve. For example, overall, I loved pregnancy. It's a miracle and today I can vividly remember how it felt to feel flutters in my belly. Someday soon my memories will begin to fade... but I'll be busy making new memories and enjoying my children's ever growing skills, humor, cuddles, etc.
Yesterday I attended the funeral of a lovely mother who departed much too swiftly and much too young. Last month, I grieved for another friend who died suddenly and again, much too young. Both of these women were lucky enough to raise their children through their younger years, but they left behind 20-somethings who still need their mothers. Oh God, I hope I'm lucky enough to raise my daughters through their childhoods and beyond.
I look around and so many people have lost one or more parent. Though death is always hard, I have no "beef" with God when he calls an elderly person to him. But so many people are taken when they are young and have work left to do. This is so hard to accept.
However, in the case of the two women I've lost this winter, I also see that they didn't leave their children alone. Instead, both of these women had cultivated relationships with countless other women... so though it's not the same, their "kids" are left with teams of women who love them, knew their mother and will be carefully watching over their friend's child(ren). That is truly a gift to the grieving! Perhaps God's hand is in that gift? :)
My mother and grandmother are particularly social and my tribe of "mothers" is huge. The other day Jake and I were watching a movie in which two new parents each had to go to work and couldn't find anyone to watch their baby. I said to Jake "that would never happen to us". True, I am guilty of not using my resources often, but if I was in a crisis, all I would have to do is open my church directory or grab my mom's address book... and easily could call on 15 or 20 ... dare I say 30... women who would joyfully help.
I may be a mother myself, but I still need my mother... and if there's every a time that she's not available... I'm thankful for all the amazing women she has brought into my life.