I haven’t been a fan of Mother’s Day for the past three years. My kids haven’t had their biological mother, and even though many friends and family stepped into their lives to fill the gap she left behind, every Mother’s Day since Kristen died has been hard.
Actually, that’s an understatement. It’s been horrible. I’m talking pounding waves of grief. Tears, moaning, sadness, the works.
I didn’t realize at first how dramatically my life would change after Kristen died, but it didn’t take long for the weight of responsibility to come crashing down on me. My role changed from being part of a team raising two kids to being the primary provider, chauffeur, playmate, nurse, supporter, helper, reader, bather, and prayer warrior.
Whereas before Kristen and I might have fussed over whose turn it was to change a dirty diaper, that no longer occurred in my home. Suddenly, I had to do everything.
- When my kids got hungry, I had to stop what I was doing to feed them.
- When they were dirty, I had to set aside time to clean them.
- When they were tired, I had to look past my own fatigue and exhaustion and get them ready for bed.
- When they were hurt, scared, angry, fussy, or confused, I had to be the one to reassure, comfort, and console them.
There have been days when I have nothing left. Performing most of the caretaking and parenting tasks has been physically, mentally, and emotionally draining.
People will tell me, “I don’t know how you do it.”
Some days, I don’t. Sometimes I just don’t have the energy to play with my kids, or read to them, or give them a bath, or help them with homework. It’s not that I don’t want to do these things, it’s that I can’t. The lack of sleep is zombifying, the day-to-day chores never-ending, the constant pressure to provide daunting beyond description.
Some nights, when my kids are asleep, I’ll just sit on my bed and rub my feet. They always ache. They never get a break.
So every Mother’s Day since 2013 has served as a reminder that I am alone, that I’m the only parent in the house, that I’m the only one my kids can rely on for all their needs. And if I’m not careful, I can become so overwhelmed by those facts that I won’t be useful to anyone, even myself.
But something beautiful and exciting has happened in the last year, something far greater than I ever could have hoped for or imagined. I met the most wonderful woman, dated her, courted her, and in just under 6 weeks, I’ll marry her! I am thrilled to start a new life with Lauren, and I thank GOD for bringing us together.
This is the first Mother’s Day in three years when I won’t be alone, and my children will soon have a mother again. For the first time in three years, I’ll be shedding tears of joy on Mother’s Day.