Word of the Week

Word of the Week: Mother

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Now, I know if you opened this email with the title in the subject line: you are brave.

Today is a big day. It's a day full of the complexity of what it means to be human. All the joy for some. All the pain for others. And for many somewhere in between.

Joy can look like: you are proud of the relationships in your life that are nurturing and supportive. Maybe you have a child in your life who you know will be coming over for a special meal or who is making you breakfast in bed this morning. Maybe you sent flowers to someone this weekend or received them.

Pain can look like: the ache of someone who is no longer here or not able to be present in your life the way you hope. Maybe being around the person who gave birth to you today is not safe. Maybe the children you thought you'd have or wanted to have are at the top of your thoughts but not alive.

And the word we are talking about today is mother. A word that the dictionary offers us such a limited definition of: a female parent.

If you have been in this community of Word of the Week for a while, you know that I have a complicated relationship with the word mother.

My husband and I waited for parenthood to find us for over 8 years before our daughter came into our life over 4 years ago through adoption. I am not my daughter's birth mother, but I am the mother who is raising her. As much as I see in my daughter the experiences of what it means to be raised in our home, I also see her birth parents too. I see the gifts they gave her in bringing her into this world.

I am also a woman who has an estranged relationship with my own biological mother. A sheer fact that many in a similar situation would never speak of or hide. But I have come to a point where it just is. I do not want to be ashamed. It is kindness to my soul as painful as the boundaries are for others. It is along the lines of Mary Oliver's exhortation of being "determined to save the only life you can save." Our estrangement is about my saving my life.

I share this with you as I weave my own story into the complications of what it means to be born, be raised, live and parent others no matter if it comes with biological ties or not.

Today, I'm thinking about my daughter's first mom. Today, I'm thinking about my first mom too. And even as complicated as those two relationships are-- I give thanks for them too.

I also give thanks to all the women who have raised me, shaped me and modeled for me unconditional love. I stand today on their encouragement, wisdom and reminders that I am on the best path for me.

So, what about you? I don't know where your relationship is today with the word mother. But I do know this: wherever you are, wherever your mother is, know that you are loved. And in case of really sucky situations, Mother's Day is just one day. Soon it will be over.

So breathe in and out, rest in your belovedness my dear readers. Don't feel the pressure by those around you to be or feel anything that isn't real today. Your Mother God loves you so.