Thursday, May 10, 2012

Loving You, Loving Her

There is rarely a day goes by that I don't think about my youngest daughters birth mother.  How could I not?  She is forever woven into the fabric of our family through the child she gave birth to.  I can take credit for the nurture, but the nature is not mine to claim.  Through the years I have had a lot of people tell me how I should feel about the birth mom, what weight I should give her role in the life we live.  My response is simple.  I should love her.  Despite her choices.  Despite the pain she caused.  Despite the hurt.  I should love her.  Because by loving her, I am able to fully love her child as my own.

As Mother's Day approaches, it carries with it bittersweet feelings.  I feel blessed by the three amazing gifts I have been given and I am thankful that God felt me good enough to mother them.  But, I also feel sadness over a relationship lost... that in order for me to receive the fullness of this life...pain had to occur.  A mother had to lose her child, and a child had to lose a mother.

I read stories of birth mothers who gave their children the gift of another life.  How selfless the act was.  How willing they were to carry a baby to term, knowing they could not keep the child.  Knowing that someone else would be made complete, even though they themselves would be giving up the right to be.  And then there is the birth mother in our story.  She fought to keep her child, even though all of her choices reflected an inability to do that, and even though it was destroying the one she claimed to love.  She forced a judge's hand to make the decision for her.  Her actions were anything but selfless.

Two different situations, two different mindsets, one common theme: Loss.  To not recognize that loss, to not acknowledge that in the process of creating new families, grief occurred, would be selfish.  I am a mother to a child who was born from another woman's womb.  It does not diminish my place in that child's life.  It does not mean I am not that child's mother.  It does not have anything to do with me.  It just is, what it is. 

Saturday is a day that has been set apart as a day for birth mothers to be acknowledged.  To recognize the role that they have.  To honor those that gave the gift of life.  I used to despise the thought of honoring my daughter's birth mom.  I have every reason to hate her.  But in order to love my child, the child she carried and birthed, I must love her.  So, Saturday I will think of her.  And I will silently thank her for loving her child as well as she could.  Because without her, I wouldn't have my youngest.  Without her, my family wouldn't be complete. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

God Don't Make No Mistakes

It's so easy to live in a bubble.  To love in a box.  To do the safe thing all the time and not step out of that safe place where life seemingly goes as the world tells us it should.  But are we ever really safe?  Do things ever go as easily as the world makes us think it does for everyone except us?  So many of us spend so much time trying to fit a mold that was never intended to be ours.  To do everything we can to make everyone else happy, to try and control all of the variables so that we can achieve that pinnacle of success as everyone else defines it.  How silly we are .  How incredibly selfish it is to hide who we are and the value we have as we are.  Do you really think that who you are, what you have to offer, your worth... that any of it is insignificant?  If you do, I want to tell you that you are wrong.  You are important.  You have worth.  You mean something.

I've spent a lot of years trying to determine what parts of who I am I should show a person at any given time.  I've agonized over how I believe someone may have perceived something I did, or said.  I've allowed others to shame me into thinking that my thoughts, my words, my heart, and my actions are not good enough, are not pure enough, are not righteous enough.  Through the years I've granted permission for the fears of others to dictate the footprints of my life.  I've edited myself not because my own beliefs called for it, but because my desire to have others think me "good" enough called for it.  I've also been at the other extreme, where I buck the system completely, giving everything and everyone around me a big ole middle finger, claiming the entire time that I don't give a crap when in reality I desperately wanted to be accepted and loved. At the end of the day that is all any of us want - to be appreciated for who we are. 

It's funny these games we play.  The roles we take on.  The characters we assume.  We may trick the people around us, but we never really fool ourselves.  It becomes an internal struggle.  We search for contentment and can't find it.  We develop coping skills that follow us into the real world but leave us still wanting.  We get angry, depressed and anxious.  We paint smiles on when it's needed but never really understand what it means to be happy.

So we all have a choice.  We can live like sheep, unable to differentiate our self from others.  Or we can be bold and be unique, even at the risk of giving up the things that make us feel safe.  I look at my kids and I know without a doubt I want them to be confident in who they are.  I want them to understand that there is nothing that they could ever do to lose my love.  That by being authentic they are honoring the unique mold that was broken at their birth.  I look in the mirror and I see someone who is worthy, who is important, who has value.  I just have to remember that the person I see in the mirror, is me.