Today is Mother's Day.
A very different one than last year, or any other year I've ever been alive.
This year, I cradled a precious, sleeping baby boy in my arms during church, and gave thanks to God for the gift of Motherhood.
It's a bittersweet gift, though. Today was also Luke's dedication at church. While we stood in front of so many people who have loved and supported us for several years, and Luke maintained his adorableness by trying to shove his tie in his mouth, I couldn't help but think about how we should have had Matthew's dedication.
That had we, we may never have had Luke's.
How complicated so many feelings are. How my heart could be so full of gratitude and longing at the same time.
Admittedly, a tear or two fell.
I think back to last year...a few days from finding out we were actually pregnant again, and feeling so, so broken. A mother without her child...in a world where if you have no child to show for the labor, your title of mother is a muddy one at best.
Obviously, little Luke WAS with me for Mother's Day last year, so technically, it's not even 'our' first Mother's Day together...but of course I didn't know that then, and I didn't know whether or not I'd ever hold a child of mine in my arms. The desperation of that life, as well as the utter aching for my son clouded every second of the day.
And while it doesn't cloud today, as I recently read somewhere, the sadness and heartache is still here...it's just more enveloped in happiness, rather than happiness being dominated by sadness. For that, I'm grateful--that we have more days where the happy is greater than the sad, vice days where the sad just steals all the happy.
I'm thankful for Luke's role in our lives making that so.
We visited Matthew's grave after church. It breaks my heart that a little boy who brought SO MUCH happiness and joy into my life always seems to end up getting my tears now...tears because I miss him. Tears because I don't always feel like I do him justice. Tears because I am overwhelmed with emotion as I stand at his grave while holding Luke. Tears because I just can't stop them.
For 10 years, I cried at every Mother's Day service. Not much, but always a little as I silently begged God to make me a mother. When my mother died, I cried as I added into my begging some peace as I missed her so. Now, as I dedicate a sweet boy to the Lord, I cry because I miss his brother.
I am comforted by a few things though...mainly that before Matthew or Luke were ever born, I already promised them to God. Foolishly, before Matthew was born, I promised I'd give him to God, no matter what the calling. As if I had any control...
As I was pregnant with Luke, I did the same, though this time completely understanding in a way I never could before that my boys were God's before they were ever mine. I instead thanked God for another blessing and promised to raise Luke to know God to the best of my ability. This morning, we officially made that promise, and though I didn't get to 'officially' make that promise or follow through with that for Matthew, I know that my promise of Matthew's life to God was recognized. The certificate of dedication given to Luke had the verse that is inscribed on Matthew's stone..."For this child, I prayed," I Samuel 1:27. I know it is a common verse, and common for dedications, but it brought me a peace to see it both on Matthew's stone and Luke's certificate. Somewhere in my heart, I hope that God was letting me know He was cognizant of and honored by the promise I'd made with Matthew as I also made the promise with Luke.
I DID pray for both of those boys..."So now, I return them to the Lord. For their whole lives, the will be given to the Lord." I Samuel 1:28