Yesterday we acknowledged grace, which is perhaps seen most clearly in acknowledging that most of us had mothers who loved us for no other reason than we were theirs, long before they knew anything about how we would turn out.
I am thankful for my mother, who created a home, read to us, protected us, believed in us. Who provided a piano and dolls and pets and books and visits to historic sites and a solid connection to a church community.
Who honored our relatives and sang old songs and drove us to Pioneer Girls and watched classic movies and musicals. Who sent us off to summer camp, and took us to swim meets, and the beach.
By grace, I was blessed with innumerable tastes of the goodness of this world.
I am also thankful for my mother-in-law, who also received me with grace, teaching me to make pie crusts and Norwegian cookies, telling me stories about the Myhre family history and Scott’s childhood, always welcoming me as one of the family.
She had no say in my inclusion, but she accepted me just the same.
My own foray into motherhood did not feel like grace at first. Losing three babies in 1991 and 1992 meant that most people would not have wished me a happy Mother’s Day until 1993. But, in retrospect, I cling to grace, to the reality and substance of it.
Those griefs slammed me up against the stakes of being in a broken world. One can read about the Fall and how we bring forth children in pain. But until one cries over one baby after another, those anciently poetic words are not imbued with raw pain.
And perhaps a tiny sliver of redemption comes as Scott and I led two short worship services this week for friends grieving miscarriage (if you want a liturgy for such, email me).
Those heartbreaks cast a shadow of this day of celebrating motherhood, but also remind to be aware of the women around me who long for marriage, or who are married longing for children, or who are conceiving yet losing, or whose children are sick or have died or run away or a thousand other wrinkles in the path we thought would be smooth.
So many of these women in my life are true mothers, caring for so many children with even more grace than the rest of us, children they can not call their own.
And those days fill me with a bittersweet awareness of the tenuous gift I have been given, the grace of having four live, growing, healthy amazing human beings in my life who call me mom.
Much about their gestations, their births, their childhoods, has been touch-and-go. But there is no investment of energy in the last two-plus decades that has been more worthwhile.