I've been thinking about Mothers' Day a lot this past week. I was remembering last year and the year before when I was aching for a baby and just couldn't have one. I was thinking of how different my life is now, and how fantastic it is to wake up and see this little face every day:
She's a doll, and next to her daddy, she's the best thing that's ever happened to me :)
Remember last year, when I wrote THIS POST about my babies? Well, something crazy happened. I always thought, somewhere in the back of my mind, that when I had my own kids, I would somehow stop considering my nieces and nephews my own children. FALSE! It's pretty amazing, and gives me a small glimpse at what it must be like to have multiple children, because those 6 sweethearts are just as mine as they always have been. I'm no less excited to see them, I don't love them any less, I care about them and their well being every bit as much as I always have. They are still my babies, and whether they like it or not, they always will be.
Which leads me to my first thought; you do not need to have your own children to be a mother! Really. It's something I had to learn the hard way, but I think I had a pretty good understanding of it by the time I was able to get pregnant with Lex. It's something I'm so grateful to understand. Now that I do have a baby of my own, I understand that I'm not REALLY her only mom. Biologically, yes, I am and always will be. And I have to believe I love her in a way no one else ever really will. There's something about 9 months of pregnancy, 12 hours of labor, and a C-section that will do that to you ;). BUT-- I also understand that she has MANY mother figures in her life; from her Grandmas to her fabulous Aunties to teachers she'll have, and plenty of other women that will cross her path in her life. I can't even explain how GRATEFUL I am that she will have so many mothers. It's comforting to me to realize that there are so many other inspired and awesome women that will aid me in raising my little girl and teaching her. I know that they will love her like their own, and in a way, she will be.
I had another interesting thought today. DJ was teaching our Primary lesson, which included the story of Elizabeth and Zacharias. Now, the lesson was actually focused on prayer, but that's really not what I got out of it. What struck me when hearing this story this morning was this: Elizabeth had been praying to have a child for years. Can you imagine? YEARS! I thought 20 months was a long time! It's clear that she trusted that Heavenly Father could grant her righteous desire, because she continued to ask. Now think about this: If Heavenly Father had allowed her to have a baby sooner, would she have wanted another so late in life? It's possible, I really don't know. But there was clearly a reason that her baby came when he did. Her son became one of the most recognizable figures in the New Testament. He was clearly stalwart. He was one of the biggest supporters of and missionaries for our Savior. If Elizabeth and Zacharias had had children in their early years, it's my belief that they wouldn't have chosen to have John in their old age. Could John have been born to someone else? I'm sure he could have. However, it is apparent that THEY were meant to be his parents. Heavenly Father knew this. I'm sure it broke His heart not to give them their righteous desire sooner, to watch them go those that heart-wrenching years of yearning for children. But in the end, He knew what was best for them. Thinking of this story this way gave me a little more perspective. I mean, who knows what my children will end up doing and being? Maybe there's a reason that I had to wait 20 months before getting pregnant. Maybe timing really is everything, and that's not MY timing I'm talking about, it's the Lord's.
I guess the main message I want to get across is this: Hope. And love. For any of you who are struggling with the ability to have children, I feel for you. I really do. I may not have had the exact same experience as you, but I have had a similar one. Heavenly Father allows us to feel pain and hardship, and I believe it's our responsibility to help buoy each other up, particularly when we have gone through similar experiences. And for those of us going through the difficult times, it's our responsibility to be open to help from others. If we choose to close ourselves off and believe that no one else could possibly know how we feel, we'll be miserable. Believe me, I know. I went through that phase, and it was NOT FUN! Heavenly Father sends us family, friends, leaders, etc. to help us through the hard times. We can't expect Him to take everything away from us and then reject outstretched hands from those around us. There are hundreds of people who are just like you, and who love you and care about you. I promise you'll be able to feel that love if you just try!
Lastly, I can't even begin to express enough gratitude for the mothers in my life! I owe every good thing I am to my mom. For my entire life, she has been the example I've looked to. You'd be hard-pressed to find a woman with a stronger testimony, who's so willing to share it and teach everyone around her how to come closer to Christ. And not only has she helped me tremendously in the spiritual aspects of my life, she taught me so many life skills as well! Where would I be if I didn't know how to cook and clean and sew and sing? (I'm telling you-- the woman knows more songs than just about anyone I know, and I'm thrilled to say I'm following in her footsteps!) Truly, my mom is amazing.
I'm also incredibly grateful for my Mother-in-Law. She raised 8 children, and did it wonderfully. I know that I owe so much to her for the way my fabulous husband turned out. She was and is an excellent mom, and I love her dearly! She is also a wonderful "Mammie" to my baby girl!
And again, all the other mother figures I have are fantastic! Grandma Savage has taught me so much about being a genuinely good person, and I really hope to be like her when I grow up. My Aunt Terri has taught me how to be positive and upbeat about just about every situation you could be in! Aunt Debbie has taught me how important it is to be fiercely protective and loving of your family. Aunt Melin teaches me how to not take things to seriously while still being an excellent mom. My sister Meggin teaches me how to maintain order and balance as a mom. I've learned from Carly that kids are the ultimate source of happiness! And the list goes on and on.... Aunts, cousins, sisters, visiting teachers... I am truly surrounded my incredible women who are "mothers," who teach and uplift me and enrich my life!