May the 7th is a day that holds special significance and meaning to me. True, there are some years where it has an even deeper meaning than others, but for at least 5 years, it has been a day filled with a tornado of emotions. May 7, 2005 was the year that this date changed forever for me. It was at 2AM on May 7, 2005 that I began to go into labor for my first child, my firstborn son Reese. If you know our family dates, you are probably scratching your head because Reese’s birthday isn’t until May 8. Reese decided to show us his strong will early on. The labor started at 2 AM on May 7 and Reese wasn’t delivered until 10:59 PM May 8. Looking back though at those two treacherous days, I have to smile. A part of me feels that this was all a part of Reese’s master plan. You see, May 8, 2005 was mother’s day. That strong will of his is also masked in an unbelievably thoughtful, loving, kind, charming, and intelligent boy. He wanted his mommy to have the best first mother’s day gift ever, the life of my first child, him.
It really was a date for the record books. I had gone into the hospital on May 7 early in the morning and they tracked my contractions all day then sent me home because the labor was going so slowly. Because my husband is a pastor and Mother’s Day is one of those “big”, “significant” church Sunday’s; he did not feel like he should miss the Sunday Morning service. My water had already broken and I had already had two days worth of contractions, and yet I gave him the green light to attend service and speak that morning. He had his cell phone sitting on the podium, waiting for that desperate plea from me that I can’t take it anymore. In retrospect, this was a horrible decision! What if I had delivered Reese at home with no one to help me? It could’ve happened. My water had already broken. I suppose they would’ve just done a TLC reality show special on me if that had happened. Who could’ve predicted such an eventful first mother’s day?
Mother’s Day has always been an extraordinary day for me. For the past 30 years, I have been blessed to have a mother. 30 years ago on April 23, 1980, she gave birth to me, with no pain control medication might I add, and has stuck by my side through the whole ride. Now, as a mother myself, I can see all of the small sacrifices that were hidden from me before. It reminds me of the bible verse that says; “Now we see through a glass darkly, but soon we’ll see.” As children we go through life seeing things, but not really recognizing them. As a mother that was blessed to also have a mother, things have become clear to me in ways that were before, at best, hazy. Who really knew how much work the daily grind of life could be for a mother? Every time my kids fight me about bedtime or cleaning up their toys, I can only be so irritated. It was a mere few decades ago that I was that child testing my independence.
Being a parent, or being an adult that is heavily and lovingly involved in the life of a child is the best representation of Christianity on this earth that I can think of. In a society that keeps blurring the lines of what family really is and what it means to be a family, I’m thankful for the example of a heavenly father on the correct way to treat my children. As mother’s, society still puts most of the pressure of running a household on us. We are expected to be educated with multiple college degrees, hold exciting jobs, move up the career ladder, and still produce children that we singlehandedly care for while juggling homes, careers, significant others, and we are to do this while looking physically fit, gorgeous, put together, stylish, and even sexy! We really face a lot of pressure as women and mothers in this 21st century world. Even though I view myself as a quasi-feminist in that I believe women should be educated, should have equal employment opportunities, and should receive equal pay for the stuff they do, I can’t help but think life would be simpler if we could return to the era of a one income household. In our quest as women to be viewed as equals in society, we have actually somehow made it so that we aren’t equals at all. In fact, we are expected to be super mom and super women, while the men are just expected to do what they’ve always done. Go to work, bring home money, mow the lawn, and watch sports. The purpose of this blog is not to bash men. In fact, my husband is amazing and I can’t imagine doing life without him. I can’t imagine parenting without him. He goes above and beyond societies expectation for dads and he’s a real father. I appreciate all men that fill that role. The purpose of this blog is to honor women that play a significant role in the life of children. You are a hero!
Whether you are a mother because you conceived and bore a child or because you adopted one as your own or because you have stepped into the life of the children in your community to love, nurture, and grow them, your impact on their life will be unparalleled. There is nothing like the love of a mother when it is displayed in all its glory and in its purest and most natural state. Too often in the Christian world we think of God in all the masculine roles that he plays. He has been given the name Heavenly Father, and while that is a biblical term and while he plays that role, let us not forget that in Genesis it states that both male and female were created in his image. We need to celebrate that through our job as mom, we are displaying the love of Christ and the image of who God is in our children. God’s comfort holds us like a mother’s arms when we fall and it is through his mercy and grace that we can identify our propensity to overlook the faults of our children and defend and encourage them.
Know this mother’s day weekend, that your role as mom is literally fundamental in shaping the next generation of leaders. Your degrees and education and careers and goals can all find harmony in your role as mom. I don’t believe being a mom is an either or choice. I’ll either be a mom or I’ll pursue my goals. They can line up together. Celebrate the life of your children and the lives of the children around you that you impact and know that every time you see a successful adult it is because somebody took the time to sew seeds into their life as a child.
Dedicated to: Reese Bentley Buckland (May 8, 2005) and Gentry Jonathan Buckland (December 11, 2007) who made me a mother and gave me the greatest title I’ll ever hold and to Donna Lynn Whitmore Bentley (Mother) who gave me the chance at life.