Because I ain’t no Hallmark mother —
and none of us are, if we’re really truth-telling here.
If we’re honest– and what else is there really — there were burnt dinners and yelling mornings and neck strained words over lost shoes and scattered Legos and unfinished homework and there were crumpled tears behind bathroom doors.
Not to mention the frozen pizzas and no clean underwear and the wild words no one would want the cameras rolling for.
And the realization — that a mother’s labor and delivery never ends and you never stop having to remember to breathe.
I became a mother on the eve of Mother’s Day. The Saturday before the Sunday — at the oblivious age of twenty-one.
And just seven days after I’d dropped my own fragile mama off at a locked psych ward.
That Mother’s Day Eve baby, he turns 24 this year, day after Mother’s Day. And there’s no point kidding anyone — we’re all a bit crazy.
The deal is — Motherhood isn’t sainthood and we’re all a bunch of sinners here and don’t let anyone tell you any different — pushing something out of your womb doesn’t make you a better woman.
Real Womanhood isn’t a function of becoming a great mother, but of being loved by your Great Father. Someone write that on a card with a bouquet of flowers. We all need that.
We all need that for the days that we hated our mothers — or hated being a mother. When no room was big enough to find peace and no clock could tick fast enough to just get the day over with, and the truth is, facades only end up suffocating us all and it’s only telling the truth that lets you breathe —
and there really were days that felt pretty bad and looked pretty ugly — and they were making us Real. Velveteen Real.
That was what was happening.
The stacks of dishes and everests of laundry and the tantrums of toddlers and teenagers and tired mamas and all the scuffed up walls down the hall and through the heart, they were all wearing down the plastic of pride, wearing us down to the real wood of grace and the Cross — making us Velveteen Real.
Honest — it really is okay.
To lose it and be found, to be rubbed the wrong way to be come the rightest way, to let all the hard times rub you down to real.
It’s okay not to be Hallmark mothers, just the Velveteen Mothers. The Velveteen Mothers who know when there’s a volleys of words and weary silences afterward and everything looks impossibly wrecked —
The angular, hard edges of perfection are being sanded down by all our scrapes and falls, till we’re round and soft and can get close enough to each other to just hold each other.
Only when you’re broken are you tender enough to wrap yourself around anyone.
Only the broken people can really embrace.
That’s us — could we just really hold onto each other?
Find each other and hold onto each other and offer the hug of the broken who know the relief that homemaking is about making a home, not perfection, that motherhood is a hallowed space because children aren’t commonplace, and that anyone who fosters dreams and labor prayers is a mother to the child in us all.
We’ll be the holding-on-broken who know that it’s not that we won’t blow it but it’s what we’ll do with it afterwards, whose priorities aren’t things that get us noticed, but priorities are all Things Unseen, who keep praying to only speak words that make souls stronger and keep getting up when we fall down because this is always how things just fall together.
Just let them sell their truckloads of perfect Mother’s Day Cards.
There’s far more Velveteen Mothers who are broken into real and worn into beauty.
Velveteen Mothers who have busted the Balloon of Better Homes, Gardens and Women and live the Gospel of Grace and we’re done with perfection — because we are the prodigals.
We are the Prodigal Parents who are wasteful in love and extravagant in grace and recklessly spending our attention on the mercies of the Prodigal God.
God wants Prodigal Parents — not perfect parents: lavish in love, extravagant in truth, big spenders of grace.
There will be cake this weekend. And we’ll eat it too.
And there will be tears and there will be laughter — because what messes our life up most — is the expectation of what our life is supposed to look like — and there will be a mess of dishes in the sink and a ring of grime in the bathtub and the clock will just keep on ticking and we’ll grab onto someone right in the kitchen and just hold on and let go.
It won’t be perfect — but we’ll be prodigals.
Because you can count on it: Mother’s Day is for the birds — for us who are flying on the wings of His grace and a prayer.
Pick up my kinda heart-raw story of The Broken Way and how to love when you’re carrying all kinds of unspoken broken.
This one’s for all of us who have felt our hearts break a bit…
This one’s for the brave and the busted and the real and dreamers and the sufferers and the believers.