With Mother’s Day nearly upon us, we have seen an increase in jewelry and flower commercials in an attempt to entice people to buy gifts for the special mom in their lives.
They all fail to mention that motherhood is a gift precisely because the child is a gift.
As I think about Mother’s Day, two very special women come to the forefront of my mind—my mom and the woman I was best friends with for many years.
Words won’t do my mom or her love for me justice. What can you say about a woman who has always been there, who loves you unconditionally, and who would do anything in the world for you? I can tell her thank you. I can pray for her. I can thank God every day for her. I can promise to care for her in her old age as she has cared for me in all my ages. But all that seems so minimal in comparison to what she did—and still does—for me. I do hope that she knows how much I love and appreciate her. And I know that, someday when she looks God in the face, He will praise her for the work she did to raise and care for the gift He gave her. She is truly the epitome of a loving and amazing mother, and I am the mom I am today because of her.
And then I think about Denise, whom unfortunately I have lost contact with, though she still holds a special place in my heart.
I met Denise my senior year in high school. She opened the conversation in homeroom with the fact that she was pregnant. I knew by the way she proudly announced her pregnancy that she was either going to keep the baby or give her up for adoption. She seemed happy and at peace.
Having been around pro-life people nearly my entire life, I responded encouragingly, “Cool. What are you going to do?” She said she was going to keep the baby and that she was excited.
Over the course of the year, our bond formed, and she became my best friend—a status that held for over two decades.
She had her baby girl toward the end of the school year. At one point, I asked her if she had ever considered abortion. She said no; she knew she was carrying a tiny human being and she could never do that.
Denise thrived as a single mother, and she taught me so much—how to deal with a fussy baby, how to nurse, how to parent a cranky toddler, how to talk with a difficult teen, and more. But through it all, she showed me that children are a gift.
Of course, I always knew that. But she lived it. She was a concrete example of someone my age struggling—yet succeeding—to be a good mom. And for that, I am forever indebted to her.
This Mother’s Day, though it’s a time to celebrate motherhood, remember that you can’t be a mother without a child. The child is the true gift. And from the moment he is created, this gift changes your life.
This is true whether you’ve had a full-term birth, whether you’ve lost a baby, or whether you’ve given that baby up for adoption. You will always be his mother.
So as we celebrate our mothers, or as our family celebrates us, let us not forget the moms who struggle, the young moms, the mothers who have lost a child, or the moms debating right now whether they should keep their babies or abort them. Let us pray that they come to understand—just as Denise did—that a baby is always an immense gift.
And let us pray that our example—whether as a mother, as a child, or as a person who understands the gift of a child—helps others see the sanctity of life of every human being.
Life was not perfect for Denise; life was not perfect for my mom. Nor has it been perfect for me or any other woman. Indeed, life was not even perfect for a mother who was perfect—our Mother Mary. She endured a heartache and agony that no mother should endure. But a joy in motherhood need not include perfection. Perfection comes only in heaven.
And someday, when we see God, He will ask what we did with His gifts. I pray that He smiles on me just as He will smile on my mom.
We wish all the mothers out there a very happy Mother’s Day! Know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.