Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Children Are Gifts

Happy belated Mother's Day!  

My mother's day was a mix of really nice...and also surreal.  

First for the nice......

Sunday was the tail end of a VERY busy weekend!  We threw a surprise 16th birthday party for Sarah!  Friday was filled with grocery shopping, decorating, cooking, and a sleepover, followed by a day in Newport with Sarah and her friends on Saturday!  It was awesome...and exhausting!  I have tons of pictures to share...but that's going to be it's very own post! Stay tuned...coming soon(I promise)!

Sunday was a really nice Mother's Day with my family!  It started off with Mass, then a quick breakfast ala Jay.  I had the bucket full of dandelions picked by Luke and Kate!  Lukie made me a super sweet card and had Jay help him with a coupon book...which I promptly used to get a special hug!  Peter had made me a special card, a "stained glass" candle, and a coffee scrub! Mike and Andrew both gave me wonderful Mother's Day hugs and were quick to answer any request I had during the day...there were no garbage bags hanging out in the kitchen on Sunday!

 Ellie and Sarah were super sweet!  Ellie made me a beautiful pair of purple rosary beads and she put two pictures of all her siblings into a brooch that had been my grandmother's!  Sarah sewed me a super cute bag! Both girls were very thoughtful!

Jon had also put a lot of thought into the day as well.  He and Andrew both cleaned out the van on Saturday morning before I took Sarah and her friends to Newport.  That is a gift I love...the gift of a clean car!  Jon also got me a very funny card.  Jon had to work on Sunday afternoon...he works at a local ice cream place.  Jon asked Jay to come by halfway through his shift and pick up a special strawberry sundae that he made just for me as a surprise!

I was thoroughly spoiled by all my children! (By my awesome husband, too, who did most of the cooking and clean up..not to mention some pretty flowers and a sweet card!)  

We had my family and his family over for lunch.  Everyone brought something to share so it was a very easy, laid back meal. The guys all grilled and we all ate way too much!  It was nice just hanging out and watching the Red Sox Game.  My sil, Julie, was here and she is expecting for the very first time!  That made Mother's Day extra special!

The surreal is actually some very sad news that we found out after church.  A friend, Linda, who we were close to a long time ago and had recently reconnected with on Facebook, lost her grown son , Jay, who was hit by a car the night before.  It was such a shock...and our heart just broke for her loss.  We were close friends 17 years ago and met through a Bible study.  We had gone through a lot together....she was part of a group of friends that supported us when our daughter, Therese, was born and passed away. Linda was going through a lot back then as well.  Her oldest son passed away from Leukemia just a few months after Therese died.  We shared "Mama grief" then....so to hear that she was now carrying the cross of losing another son just broke my heart!(Jay's, too!)

I haven't seen Linda's Jay since he was a teenager.  In my head, he is still that handsome, out going, enthusiastic teenager that would bound into the room full of energy and a giant smile.  Seeing pictures posted on Facebook as a man felt so strange.  Pictures with his wife and 3 beautiful daughters...and the evident love and joy on their faces made my heart break even more!

There have been past Mother's Days where I have felt disappointed when the day didn't go like I had planned in my head!  Kids sick or misbehaving or feeling like it was more like "Grandmother's Day" since it took most of the day to honor both our moms and that "my" Mother' s Day honoring would only be "fit in"(possibly) in 2 half hour slots somewhere within the day!  This was a problem with my attitude and perception......

This year, I can say that I didn't feel that way.  In fact, while we were at Mass, the strongest feeling running through me was gratitude!  I just felt so grateful for the 9 blessings that God sent me that made me a mother.  I didn't need anyone to "honor" me....I was just so grateful for all of them and for the privilege to just BE a mother!

When we found out the tragic news after Mass, it made me appreciate them even more!  I hugged all of them a little tighter that day.  My children are not truly mine. That's not something I like to think about!  Right now, we have the growing up and out struggles as young adults become more independent and Jay and I learn to let go.  We have the growing pains of middle schoolers and high schoolers right on the young adults' heels....and we have to do this all.over.again!  We face the challenges of raising a special needs child who will never be able to live independently.  We have the growing pains of 2 pre-schoolers who are no longer babies...and face a future where the next babies in this house will very probably be of the "grandbaby variety'!(but no rush on the grandbabies!)  

Ironically, our jobs as mothers is to nurture and teach and love so that they will be able to follow the path that God leads them in....which, inevitably is always away from us! But that's a good thing.....

It felt like our past and our present collided on Sunday...and I'm still processing through it all!  Jay's death reminds me that we don't know the length of any of our children's journeys in this life.  That's an extremely scary concept for me!  I know from experience that God provides the grace to get through tragedies.....but that doesn't mean I ever want to go through one again!  And yet, this is the cross my friend, Linda, carries.  Again.  And though we haven't spoken personally, the words she has posted since Jay's passing has been a witness to her faith in God, her gratefulness to the gift Jay was in the time that she had him, and her humbleness in trusting God despite not understanding why this tragedy had to happen.

Please say a prayer for Jay's parents, Linda and Bryan, his wife, Jennifer, their daughters, Madison, Gianna, and Leigha, and his sister, Julie, who are just starting their long walk through grief and the journey to figure out a "new normal" as they put their lives back together without Jay.  It's not an easy one!

Now I'm off to hug my kids again....and to send up a grateful prayer that I can!

***A Go Fund me account has been set up for Jay's wife and children.  If you feel called to help, here's the link.