Being a mother has been at the same time the most challenging and most rewarding thing I have ever done. I am sure you have heard this before. From the moment I found out Emma was growing in my womb, I was responsible 24/7 for someone else. It’s strange to just turn on a dime like that. What used to be (or “should have been”) simple decisions were now more complicated. I remember putting so much more thought into some things that in the past would have been split second decisions. Thankfully, after three years I can safely say that I don’t think the healthy diet of shrimp tacos and queso hurt her any. She’s a spunky kid who loves her tacos and salsa with spice!
Thankfully, I am not alone in my mothering. My husband is the most supportive, hard working man I know. He was the best labor and delivery coach in the world! When Emma went through a two week period where she would only sleep being cuddled in the “big chair,” he slept there with her so my back wouldn’t hurt. When I asked him to read the touchy-feely renegade parenting book he did, and took it to heart, implementing the great ideas he read about more quickly than I did. When I get flustered with her, he steps in and takes the lead. He is so calm and has embraced what it means to be firm with gentleness, yet he tells me how he’s amazed at my patience with her.
My mom. My best friend. Superwoman in disguise. We are so very similar. We are dangerous when we get together. We laugh until we cry. We survived my weird teenage years (with lots of prayer, she tells me). If we had the time, we’d sit together and binge watch Hallmark Christmas movies while doing crafts. As I’ve gotten older I get it. I understand more and more why she did what she did when we were little. At the same time I don’t know how she did it. I have grown to appreciate how she and Dad raised my brother and I. Ever our sideline cheerleaders, they allowed us to learn from the experiences (consequences) of sometimes (often) poor choices. To this day when I call to tell her what a great job she did, she will still tell me that at the time she thought she was a failure. Isn’t that how we all are? Opposite of what she thinks, I wouldn’t be the person I am today had it not been for my mom.
While my grandmothers did not live close by, I was able to cultivate unique relationships with each of them. One, quiet and contemplative. The other, boisterous and adventurous. Both extremely passionate about their grandchildren. Whether it was picking carrots or making a ton of pancakes because “who needs to measure?” my Grandma was there with a quiet laugh as she watched us explore the world. In a letter she wrote to me in high school, she explained to me what Paul meant in Romans 8 when he said that nothing can separate us from the love of God. I believe that she lived by that, and that it gave her strength to know that we were all in the family together. My Nana was the grandma who served us fruit for an after school snack while the other grandmas were probably serving warm cookies and milk. I remember she made us sit there and eat our fruit while we talked about our day. When she stayed with us one summer, she made us read. Every day. For an hour. It was awful. Well, look at me now Nana. I’ve got 10 books on my nightstand and I’m writing for fun. She always was the sneaky type. I learned so much about life from these women, and even though they’ve both been gone for some time I get little reminders of them or learn something new because of them often. I only regret that they weren’t here to meet Emma. But, boy do I see a lot of them in her.
Did you have bonus moms growing up? You know, you played with their kids all the time. If you weren’t at your house for dinner, you were probably at theirs. They could get on to you just as well as your own mom. Growing up, I was lucky to have so many bonus moms, aunts, and grandmas. Mom and I were both lucky to have them, I don’t know that either of us would have survived my middle school years without them. When I became a mom, I knew that I wanted the same for Emma. I am blessed to be a part of an amazing tribe of women who help support one other in our parenting, and in life. Even in quarantine we FaceTime together for happy hours and just to chat and see that our kid isn’t the only one bouncing off the walls. It’s good to have them there, even though we can’t be together.
Whether you’re a mom (biological, adoptive, foster), grandma, aunt, bonus mom or other mother figure know this: the world is blessed by you. The world needs you. I pray you felt loved and appreciated today. If you were without your mom today, or are still in that space of not yet being a mom but longing for it so badly, know that you are not alone. Know that the love and longing you feel is a gift. Recognize it, feel it, allow yourself to live in it for a moment and give yourself grace.
Mamas, we often carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. I’m glad to be in good company. Even if it’s just for a little while, let’s allow ourselves some time to sit back and relax. While we’re relaxing, let’s cut ourselves a nice piece of lemon pie and savor every last bite.
Speaking of lemon pie. The only must-have on my Mother’s Day table today was lemon pie. I absolutely love lemon desserts (keep an eye out for that post, it’s coming)! Well, I happen to have been gifted Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Table for Teacher Appreciation Week and lo and behold she read my mind and included a recipe for lemon pie. It was a sign from above! I gathered my ingredients, made a few adjustments for a gluten-free crust (I subbed these gluten free graham crackers, one box is enough), and got to work. Y’all. This pie? It’s a childhood memory in every single bite. The filling is a sweetened condensed milk base and it has just the right amount of lemon flavor. It is heavenly.
The recipe is super easy. You combine graham cracker crumbs (kids love to crush the graham crackers for you), butter, and sugar to make the crust. My go-to tip for graham cracker crust? Use a measuring cup to even out the crust and to push it into the corners and up the sides of your pie plate. After baking the crust, you’ll combine the filling ingredients and pour into the crust. All that’s left is to bake it for a few minutes and let it cool before topping with fresh whipped cream.
If you love lemon, I cannot recommend this recipe enough. It alone is worth the cost of the cookbook.
As today draws to a close, I am going to sit back and reflect on the glory of this Mother’s Day in quarantine. We played outside together, ate a wonderful family meal, shared lots of laughs, and sent the kid to bed early. I felt truly blessed. Good night, and sleep well Mama. I think I might grab another bite of pie before I hit the sack.
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