Mother’s Day Apology
This Sunday I’ll be experiencing my very first Mother’s Day as a parent. But before that special day gets here I’d like to make a formal apology. A big, fat, red-faced, groveling apology to mothers everywhere. Because while I didn’t think you were lying exactly, I did think you were exaggerating about how exhausting raising kids is. When you talked about how you couldn’t keep up with the laundry or how you didn’t have time to get your Bible study homework done or feed the dog or brush your own hair or fix anything more time-consuming than microwaved chicken nuggets for dinner, I thought you were being a tad melodramatic. I mean, Goodnight, how much work does corralling one of those cute little toddlers require?
I so deserve a swift kick in the shins.
Now that my four-and-a-half year old adopted daughter has been home with me for three weeks, I’ve realized just how comically inaccurate my assumption was because I’m exhausted to the bone. To the very marrow of my bones to be more accurate. And much like Esau gave up his inheritance for his brother’s chow, I’d consider exchanging mine for a nap. You want the pearl and diamond necklace my jewelry designer sister gave me? Fine, just take my little girl to McDonald’s for an hour and point me in the direction of a soft mattress…or a dirty rug…it doesn’t matter. Just anywhere I can be unconscious for a while. This motherhood thing has Flat. Worn. Me. Out. I had to covertly sniff myself in public a few days ago because I couldn’t remember if I’d put on deodorant. Last week—with a whopping 15 days of parenthood under my belt—I backed into a friend’s car in my driveway because the bags under my eyes impeded my vision (okay, it was really because I was enchanted by my child’s pitch-perfect rendition of “Deep and Wide” and was gazing at her instead of looking in the rear view mirror).
Truth be told and teasing aside, I wouldn’t trade this bleary eyed bliss for anything in the world because, other than my salvation, being Missy’s mama is the sweetest gift God has ever given me. As a single, 50 year old whose imaginary husband seems to be permanently lost and unwilling to stop and ask for directions, I thought I’d missed out on being a mom. Thankfully, no good thing does He [God] withhold from those who walk uprightly [or her who stumbles frequently] (Psalm 84:11), and His plans for me included a bright-eyed, brown-skinned, joyful punkin’ from Haiti named Missy whose birth mama died of AIDS and unknowingly left her infected with HIV.
Our adoption process took two years. One hundred and four weeks of paperwork and disappointment and heartbreak and waiting and more paperwork. But by the grace of God, I finally got to bring my Missy home on April 15th (making the abundant life that Jesus’ death and resurrection affords us seem even more tangible since I got to bring her home the week of Easter). We’ve spent almost every waking moment since then singing and laughing and hopping and splashing and coloring. It’s been such a delight to watch her eyes widen with happy surprise the first time she tasted frozen yogurt or took a bubble bath or learned to pump her legs on a swing at the park. My heart grows exponentially bigger every time she says, “I lub you, Mama” or crawls into my lap when she’s tired or reaches for my hand while we’re walking side by side or even when she lifted up my shirt, pointed to my pale stomach in the grocery store and proclaimed loudly, “MAMA’S BELLY BUTTON!” to several bemused shoppers!
Of course, there have been difficult moments too. Lots of doctor’s appointments and blood draws at the hospital and long waits at multiple pharmacies. But then last Wednesday, we got Missy’s lab results from her infectious disease doc at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and found out that against the odds her HIV is now undetectable and her CD4 count is normal. Which means that as long as my baby stays on meds, her future looms bright. Which means our Redeemer still parts Red Seas, y’all! He can heal what’s broken in and around us; He can make old, AARP-card-carrying chicks new mamas; and for those of us who desperately need a nap, He created coffee. Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Warmest regards and Happy Mama’s Day,
Twitter and Instagram: @lisadharper