Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward (Psalm 127:3 ESV).
Being a mother is one of the greatest blessings of my life. A great blessing, yes, but as any mother would claim, also a huge challenge and responsibility. I remember my mother saying many times, “Mothering is not for the faint of heart.” As I reflect on my thirty-two years of parenting, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for those who have poured into me as a mother and into my children's lives.
First, I thank my sisters. I was blessed to be born into a family with three older sisters who reached every milestone in life before me, including motherhood. By the time I gave birth for the first time, I had ten years of watching my sisters negotiate motherhood with my eight nieces and nephews.
My sisters didn’t take for granted that I learned all I needed to know by observing them. While I was pregnant for the first time, they made sure their little sister knew the details of childbirth. When I went into labor a month early hundreds of miles away from family members, I realized how valuable their pre-birth coaching was.
Next, I thank my mother and mother-in-law who each managed to raise five children and maintain their sanity. I trusted the advice given to me by them because I knew they loved my children as much as I did. I remember a particularly trying time when one of my children was in their teens. Both grandmothers offered wisdom which helped me to choose my battles and diffuse conflict.
I am grateful to this day for the generous women from a small Bible church on the border of Washington, DC, who embraced me, an insecure transplant from a small town in Upstate New York, whom they barely knew. They brought meals to me in the little suite my husband and I rented in the basement of the girls’ dorm at Washington Bible College and showered me with expensive baby gifts, filling in all the gaps of what I needed to care for an infant.
One of my greatest blessings as a mother is the wonderful, supportive extended family God has given me. My husband and I are both one of five children. My children were raised with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins both near and far who showered them with love and attention.
I am grateful for the pastors, teachers, instructors, youth leaders, and coaches who went above and beyond to teach and encourage my children. I remember a Little League coach who spent hours pitching to one of my children who was having trouble hitting the ball, and an AWANA leader who coached my daughter one on one to help her finish the work required for a special award before the deadline.
I remember a rare day as a fatigued homeschooling mom when I stopped at McDonald’s with my four children. I went through the line and plopped down at a table next to the ball pit so I could supervise my oldest three playing while I bounced the youngest on my knee. An acquaintance from church came in, an older woman with her daughter, the youngest of her four children who was in high school at the time. They brought their trays over and joined me. She must have picked up on my weariness because, for the next hour, she said all the encouraging things that I needed to hear. I walked out that day feeling uplifted and grateful for my newfound friend and mentor.
I am also grateful for the doctors and nurses who cared for my children during our many ER visits and few hospitalizations, especially to my pediatrician who came in the middle of the night when my newborn daughter failed her Apgar score.
And to my Catherine Street neighbors, thank you for being patient with my children running around and riding their bikes all over our little dead-end street, and when they were older, running through the yards in the dark playing manhunt. And thank you for encouraging my daughters and their friends by attending one of the theatrical productions they put on in my front yard during the summer.
I am so thankful for everyone who has invested time and prayers in my children, and to those who have supported me in the most important journey of life—raising up the next generation.
It would be impossible to mention you all, but I want you to know that I pray that God will bless you for the kindness and generosity you have shown to me and my family.
“May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord” (Ruth 2:12 NIV).
More Mother's Day Posts: Celebrating Mother's Day: How Will You Honor Your Mother?
To My Dear Mother-in-Law: A Life of Love and Prayer
And a post in honor of my mother: Finding Loveliness in Cancer: Inspiration from the Last Year of my Mother's Life