Dear Moms Everywhere {Younger or Older-This is for You}

Howel family 146editOh Mommas out there... who have been to countless doctor visits to hear that precious heartbeat, to see how the baby measures, who have held their breath for ultrasounds, and have given up tubes and tubes of blood work to the lab. There are SO many joy-filled days when you are caring for that little life inside of you.

Stepping on the scale is generally fun when a baby is coming right?

Stretchy pants abound and roundness of everything is welcomed pregnant.

Motherhood is full of anticipation.

Other times it's not all happy-go-lucky.

The visits "just because" mean getting on the scale is nowhere near as exciting. Your pants are supposed to fit (and zip). Your roundness should be dissolved and your appointment, while important.. is just maintenance.

Some of us go as far to take off our shoes and sweater and empty our pockets, spit, go potty, and skip breakfast...those numbers are the enemy right?

Maybe the nurse had a scale malfunction? Bless her heart.

I've also been on the other side of happy OB visits with the news of loss in that first ultrasound. Oh the devastation. The visits where you cry and the nurse brings you tissue and sobs with you, are not forgotten.

Mothering can be heartbreaking.

The visits where your blood pressure is sky-high maybe because you sprinted up the stairs thinking that would help the scale but mostly because you are stressed out.

Today as I  sat filling out paperwork for my yearly exam, I quickly realized I was checking boxes I never had before. Have you been there?

Boxes like D & C after miscarriage, tubal ligation after the last baby, and even a third C-section were added to my history.

Motherhood requires care.

The years of waiting and expecting babies stared me down. All the appointments over the years for...

adoption,

pregnancy,

post partum,

and loss.

I had been in and out of doctor's offices and meetings with social workers for sixteen years and in that moment, I gathered up all of the taking care of self and the giving my babies near and far my best - and felt overwhelmed.

Motherhood is a calling.

It is a job, a ministry, and especially a refining tool for our souls.

Somehow in His might, God used my young years, my fun years, and even my wrung out years to grow a family.

He established my heart for my kids before they were ever created and today I felt the weight of that honor.

Thank you annual exam...for helping me reflect on my life through the checking of boxes.

Five kids call me Mom and I feel called to each one in very specific ways.

Mothering is exhilarating and exhaustifying all in the same day.

Thoughtful life chats on the kitchen counter with a teenager while the elementary one is pushing all my mom buttons.

Sidewalk chalk with the toddler while the driving one is talking to me about car tires and future dreams.

Listening to the middle one give me the run down on his 12th birthday party, as pretend to be dialed in but really I block out everything he is saying and finish my coffee.

Boys jamming on drums and guitars and the whole house is jumping but I'm so in love with the music they are making.

Mommas, some days we are tired and teary and other days we are smiling and making memories.

One day isn't better than the other - they both grow in us something different.

Mothering matters.

Whether you are an expecting mom, a broken mom, a mom of teen or toddlers, or an adoptive mom - each moment adds to the story of your family and stretches your heart.

This Mothers Day, remember that those early visits and appointments began with such intentionality and hope.

The very God who formed our kids is forming us  day in and day out and He always is faithful to finish what He started.

Mothering is a commitment.

We get to take a special seat in the lives of our grown up kids watching them find their purpose and then take steps to trust what is ahead.

That my friends is an amazing role!

The story doesn't end after the six month check up at the clinic, or after high school graduation - that is really when the adventure takes off.

Celebrate your hard work and embrace the days ahead with the ones who call you Momma.

~Jen