Is That Your Final Answer?

Mother’s Day started badly for me. Within 10 minutes of waking up, I discovered that the dogs had apparently eaten something that disagreed with them because the living room was covered in fecal land mines. (Thank heavens for hardwood floors) As I was standing there rolling my eyes to heaven and thinking about the mothers who were getting breakfast in bed while I had bio-hazard duty; the 4 year old girl got a whiff and promptly threw up on the floor.

Then came the impossible task of making it to church without wanting to cuss as we wrestled children into clean clothes, washed faces and broke up fights.

As we made our way into the congregation there were people at the entrance holding buckets of long stem red roses. They were giving a rose to each mother that passed through the entry. It came my turn and I shook my head “No” giving an award winning smile to throw anybody suspecting my mental frame off into a loop.

True, I don’t like red roses because they remind me of funerals, but the real reason is I didn’t feel like I deserved it.

For years during the births and early years of our daughters, I longed to hear from the man who helped create them that I was a good mother. As if he knew how important it was for me to hear, he withheld that from me. I poured myself into housekeeping, making crafts, learning how to make homemade bread…anything to deserve that honor.

During the sermon it was mentioned that not only should we remember the moms on Mother’s Day but also the fathers who created them. Hello knife through heart. Ending with a video, a father observed all his wife did for the children and exalted her; praising her for being such a wonderful mother. My soul crumbled. Inside my mind I cried out to Dan.

“Am I good mother? Are you proud of what I have done? Do I deserve to be honored?”

Church was dismissed and rather than walk through the normal exit, we decided to leave out the back way to get to the children’s classes faster. As we approached the doors, I noticed a single red rose lying forgotten on the floor. Surely someone just dropped it and so I picked it up and laid it on the table.

As the day passed, my heart became more turmoiled. My new husband, children and stepchildren had indeed honored me. I was spoiled and made to feel like a queen. I ended up retreating to my bathroom and taking a long bath. I let my inner tears go ahead and flow as I petitioned the heavens for the answer I needed. All that came to me was that memory of the rose lying discarded on the floor.

I had declined the initial offering of the rose because all I could think of is how I didn’t deserve it because Dan had never told me I did. Yet, while I sat in the church and my heart begged to receive an answer; a rose was left in my path. It was my final answer.



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8 replies

  1. what i think… i don’t have to think… i know you are an exeptional mother, wife, and friend! you have a heart that gives way past the point that anyone else would have done given up. you put everyone in your life first and then, if…you have any time left then you try to do something for yourself.. you have a heart of gold and pour every bit of it into the rearing of your children and the managing of your house and your writing. anyone who cannot or would not see that missed out on something amazing! i know you don’t like gushiness, esp towards you, but you are most deserving of a wonderful mothers day! I LOVE YOU!

  2. All of my children remembered me on Mother’s Day. It doesn’t matter what the fathers think, it is the children who matter. Were we good mothers to them? Were we there for them in the bad times and good times? Did we do what we thought was right for them? Only our children can answer that question. It took me a long time to learn who was the most important judge of us on Mother’s Day and every day….our children. My ex-husband tried everything he could to belittle me in front of the children and behind my back. But my children knew who kissed their boo-boos, who applauded their triumphs, chased monsters from under the bed, rocked them when they were sick. So, your children know the same things. They know what you do, and they are the ones who celebrate you on Mother’s Day. You are a good mother, accepted that and nothing else matters.

  3. I love you, friend. My heart hurts for you. Your motherly skills have always impressed me, and your love for your children is so apparent in the way you write about them. I hope that next year, this will all be a distant memory and you will be able to enjoy that rose the first time it’s presented to you. You SO very much deserve it. I’m glad that at the end of the day, you were able to see that.

    Much love to you today and every day.

  4. I only know you through words. I read these words and I took time today to re-read your story. The strength of your backbone is something that everyone should strive for. Again, I only know you through words but do you want to know how I know you are a good mom? The things you capture on Instagram…those precious moments on their faces. You capture hope. You capture security. You capture safety. They are loved and they are now building their lives by looking up to you and mimicking your resolve. Take ownership in that and know that no matter what knocked you down, you always got back up.

    I’m in such awe of your words, my friend.

  5. Oh Alycia … those questions are a normal part of parenting. I think we can’t rely on spouses, or even the children themselves, to give us the praises that our hearts cry for. It’s one more area where God’s pleasure and praise have to be enough. Because otherwise we will keep kicking ourselves!

    And I’m allergic to roses! Which seriously stinks!

  6. You are a good mother, always thinking of her children. Dad’s do not always understand. My husband and I had many bad years. Things are starting to get better. Your new husband loves you. Try with all your heart to believe them and God, too.

  7. Alycia,

    I never told you you were good enough for two reasons. Part of me thought you knew already and didn’t need to be told. Part of me needed that hold on you because I was weak inside, and if you knew how good you were…you would leave me. And I would crumble.

    Love,

    -Dan as projected by me.

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