a mixed Mother’s Day

So many mamas spend Mother’s day with a mingling of joy and sorrow, missing a child or a mom lost too soon or gone too long, empty arms or places that can’t ever be filled. We are praying for you, dear precious mamas! Praying for comfort and peace as we look to the treasures in this life, even as we miss those not with us.



I miss her, all 4’11 of her, my Italian grandma filled with a wonderful blend of sassy spunk and softness. She took care of everyone, her family being her life. She made us laugh, as we never knew what she was going to say next! She saw the good through suffering and sorrow, her trust in Jesus bringing out a strength even in her own weakness. She was a constant in my life and never once did I doubt her love for me. As the years took away her ability to “do” for her family, she took more and more to praying for us, filling journals and hours with words to heaven that have seen us through.


I had just come back from the doctor where they confirmed a miscarriage. I remember sitting down at her feet and putting my head on her lap. I don’t remember what she said, just the comfort of her sweet, soft hands, hands that had comforted so many during her lifetime. When we found out we were pregnant again, I sat on her little couch and we laughed and dreamed of who this little person would be to join my other two boys.


And then we lost her.


I couldn’t believe that she was gone. I grieved that she wouldn’t hold this baby or be in their life. My loss was overwhelming. And then a few months later, we stood there again as we said goodbye to that baby, our Samuel. And I knew that she would hold him, after all.


The first year anniversary of losing our son fell on Mother’s Day. The grieving at the gravesite overshadowed the celebration later even as I clung to my little boys. I remember walking around almost in a fog, trying to figure out how to navigate that day.


Life goes on and the years fly by. I have two more little boys now. As we tell them stories of their great grandma, the big boys join in with their own precious memories. Mother’s day is a day of joy for me, as my husband and sons show their love for me in extra special ways. But the joy will always mingle with some sorrow, sorrow for the losses that are forever felt.


Yesterday, I visited their grave with my own mom.

“I miss her everyday,” I tell her.

“She didn’t know how much of an impact she made in our lives,” she replied.

That’s probably true of most mamas.

I have Gram with me still, in my own mom, even in myself. I see her in us, I hear her in our words. Words that make us laugh until we cry. Laughter mixed with tears. Emptiness mixed with fulfillment. It’s what this life brings us. For me, today, on this one day that is supposed to honor mothers everywhere, I want to choose life. Treasuring the blessings that I do have, even as I hold that ache for what I don’t.







How should I choose?

Let me set this up for you with a nice little description of this moment.  I went into my room to dry my hair after my shower. In one bedroom was Mr. College playing his drums. Have I ever mentioned that he is a musician? He’s very good…but it’s still…drums. Enough said. In the next bedroom was the high schooler who was drowning out the drums with his own Jeremy Camp blaring. My two littles were dressed in some sort of star wars/ medieval knight combo running through the upstairs doing a light saber battle culminating on my bed so I could “watch”. Don’t let me forget to mention that they had kazoos in their mouths at the same time from a random birthday party. (on a side note, mamas, let’s help each other out and not give noise makers as favors, please?) So, there I am, drying my hair with all this noise going on, rushing because I had to get out the door. My first instinct was to turn off the hair dryer, march myself over to the big boys’ rooms and use my best scary Italian mama voice demanding silence! Then, get those littles locked in their rooms sitting quietly doing anything, as long as it was quiet, with those kazoos in the garbage.  I was not handling the noise very well at this moment, the chaos making me feel frustrated. This scenario actually plays itself out quite often in my house, as many of you can imagine and relate to.  But, all of a sudden, amidst the noise and the chaos, I remembered what I say to my boys on a daily basis…choose life. And I looked down on my dresser at an ultrasound picture of one of my boys, the only thing left of him I have, and a purple bracelet that I wore for months as we went purple for Amanda looped around the neck of a bear given to me. Choose life, Claire. Look around you.  Your boys, they are healthy, they are happy (for this moment!), they are loved. ENJOY this moment of your house filled with life. Someday they will be gone making their own lives and you will look back on this day with nostalgia. Sweet perspective.  I wanted to be able to look back on this moment and remember how I chose. So, I chose life. I laughed as I turned off the hair dryer to hear it all in full force, turning around to give the littles my attention. The battle was waging hard and they needed an engaged spectator. And do you know what the littlest stinker actually said to me? “Wow, Mama! That hair dryer sure makes a lot of noise!”

my littlest warriors…different day, different battle