I stood with my three year old as we thumbed through cards, many people crowding the aisle, doing the same. Looking for the perfect card. The lady next to me smiled and said, "My daughter just became a mom a week ago. I'm looking for a card for that."
Tate picked up a card that played "When You're Good to Mama" only the sound mechanism was having some trouble and it sounded kind of like a dying cow at the end of every phrase. Not to mention, who wants a card for Mother's Day that plays, "When You're Good to Mama"?
As I looked at all these cards, which are now priced much too high in my opinion, I thought...not one of them says what motherhood really is about. Not one captures what I'm thankful for in the remarkable women in my life. Not one card captures my Nana, who worked tirelessly and raised five children and taught many other children Kindergarten and cooked dinner and cleaned house and did lots of laundry, and gave and gave, and still gives and gives seemingly tirelessly. Although you know she had to be bone tired. My great aunt, who loves every one of her nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, and great great nieces and nephews like we are her own children. She is always ready with a hug and encouragement. Loves unconditionally and without judgement. Not one card is suitable for my Grandmother, who worked for and received her PhD while raising three girls. And she worked and raised a family and had hot dinners on the table every night. Her PhD is in Home Economics...she taught classes on what it means to be a homemaker. I smile when I think of that. I learned from the best. And not one of these cards captures the sweet spirit of the amazing woman that raised my husband. She never says no to watching her grandchildren, and is there for every one of their events in life. Her family brings her great joy, and she doesn't complain about giving so much of herself.
So many women in my life have modeled Godly love for me. Too many to list here...my aunts, my husband's aunts, my husband's grandmothers, women in my church family. I could go on and on.
And then there's my own mother. I read countless cards and I couldn't find one that captures who my mom is as a mother, as a woman of God. Or what she has taught me about being a mother and a wife. The most selfless giver of any person I have ever met. How do you say that in a card?
Hallmark doesn't really know what a mother is, I don't think. Actually the world doesn't know what these women are as mothers. The world doesn't recognize it. All these women are well loved in the world, but their Source, the Reason behind why they do what they do? The world can't see it.
"The deal is — Motherhood isn’t sainthood and we’re all a bunch of sinners here and don’t let anyone tell you any different — pushing something out of your womb doesn’t make you a better woman. Real Womanhood isn’t a function of becoming a great mother, but of being loved by your Great Father. Someone write that on a card with a bouquet of flowers. We all need that."
These women have taught me and are teaching me that motherhood is all about leaning on God. That the rewards of motherhood to the world look like successful, beautiful children, but to God they look like a woman who served Him by the giving of herself. Becoming a mother is easy in comparison to BEING a mother. (Yep, even that first labor.) And I don't think I've even gotten to the hardest part of motherhood...the letting go.
So on Mother's Day, I'm thankful for the women in my life who love unselfishly. Who have modeled for me what it truly means to be a mother. And I'm thankful to the Great Lover who loves US unconditionally, even when we fail as moms.
P.S. Tate decided the best card was a Toy Story happy birthday card. After reading dozens of cards, I think I agree.