Sunday, May 13, 2012

One of My Greatest Inspirations

Today we celebrate Mother's Day.
We honor our mothers.
Perhaps we honor the women in our lives who have been like mothers to us.
Whether you have one child or more;
whether your child is with you today or left this world too soon;
whether your child never had a chance to live in this world outside the womb;
whether you gave birth to your child yourself or took on the role as an adoptive parent, foster parent or guardian -
you are celebrated today.

As for me, for the past almost 10 years, this day has been somewhat bittersweet.  Our first child was stillborn in August 2001 and then I miscarried our second in April 2003.  Those few years until 2004 when we had Moira, Mother's Day was pretty bitter.  Then we welcomed our precious daughter into the world and then another in 2006.  The day is pretty sweet nowadays as I have an 8 year old daughter who is pretty excited about the day!

I think as a parent, I look to my own parents many times for guidance - particularly my own mother.  Not to sell my father short - it's just that it's Mother's day today!  My mom and I had a very close relationship.  As an adult, I considered my mom my best friend, not just a parent-figure.  Sadly, she passed away in July 2010 from breast cancer.









Aside from the fact that my mom would sit in the living room on the couch in the dark and call out "Where have you been??", scaring the !@#$ out of me, if I happened to come home a little lot later than planned, one of the greatest things I remember about my mother was her role as caregiver.  Not as "mom" to my sister and I, but in the way she cared for her aging parents after my Granny had suffered a stroke.  My grandparents came to live with us when I was in high school.  They stayed with us for quite a while, in their own little "apartment" that was built on to the back of our house.  I am sure I didn't realize fully how difficult it had to have been for my mom, but even at the time I knew that caregiving required something special - something more than what the average person can give.  Now there was that one time when my mom yelled at me for vacuuming the stairs wrong {I didn't know that was even possible!}, but I have to say that for all the stress that she {and my dad} must have been under, she cared or my grandparents without complaint.  I never saw her break down or "lose it" or anything.

Having been in the role of caregiver to a special needs child who is also medically fragile for the past {almost} six years, I have a much better understanding of the caregiver role.  I have a greater appreciation for all that my mom must have sacrificed to care for her parents during the time when they were no longer able to be independent.  Looking back, I don't know that I recall ever seeing her demonstrate "caregiver burnout" or "caregiver fatigue".  Was she truly that strong, or was I just that blind??

Regardless, my mother has inspired me in many ways - through her strength, her faith, her ability to care for others, and for her ability to put the needs of others far above her own needs.  People often remark to me that they don't know how I do it.  Truth be told - neither do I.  God's grace is the only way I think possible.  But maybe, just maybe, there is a little more of my mother in me than I realize and that her qualities as caregiver have somehow been passed down to me.  I wish I was a little more like her, though.  I'm pretty sure people around me are well aware of when I'm going through caregiver fatigue!!

Today I remember and honor my mother.
Today I thank God for the four little lives He blessed me with, though two ended far too soon.
I thank God for the blessings He has given me through my daughters.
I know my life isn't a "typical" mom life.  But I am grateful to have the life that I have right now, even if it does mean a life of difficult and sometimes very stressful 24/7 caregiving - because if my life didn't include that right now, it would mean something far different.
I am grateful for both of my children who are both doing their best to try to shape me into the mom I need to be for each of them!


My mom's hand on bottom with Moira holding my hand on top {2004}
Happy Mother's Day!
Photobucket

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