Sunday, May 9, 2010

For the love of Mae (MAY)

Here we are, it's May again. What is it about this month? The weather is trying to behave, some flowers are in bloom and there are even tender veggie garden seedlings who venture to peek their heads out from the soil and see what May has to offer them.

There is Cinco De Mayo, National Cheeseburger month, Teacher appreciation, Nurses day, Mothers Day and Memorial Day. What is it about this month that inspires so many to show their love and appreciation. I'll have to admit, I use to be a lover of May myself. It's my birthday month. I always knew that school was about to be over, and my Birthday Bash (May 30th the original Memorial Day) would start off the Summer festivities.

May always seemed to bring with it the promise of the magical warmth of summer days spent eating Popsicles and running through the sprinklers, trips to my Nanaw's house in Virginia, and late night summer adventures in the warm night air.

But over the years, time and experience has chipped away at the hope and joy I used to feel about this time of year. I have learned to fear and dread May. I set a goal this year, as I do every year, for it to be better than the last. I have been concentrating on being more positive and taking a deep breath and just let it happen to me. Hoping that if I cut out the self-imposed fear and dread, it will make it more bearable.

Fittingly, I'm sure as a reward for my efforts, I have been struck down with illness that has kept me flat in bed for the last two weeks ;) And so, the first week of this lovely month has been filled with expensive doctors visits, cancelled and missed appointments and obligations, 6 prescriptions, coughing, hacking, (with the accompanying bladder incontinence) fevers, chills, aches and pains, snot, sleepless nights, and sleepless days home alone filled with the worries and thoughts of all that is wrong in my life.

Now it's Mother's day, and as I laid in bed missing church and my obligations there, I flipped through the TV channels and landed on an infomercial on Operation Smile. The people who run operation smile are an amazing group of human beings who donate their time and talents and much of their own money to travel to the poorest parts of the world and repair children who suffer from the devastation of cleft lip and cleft pallet. The program lasted exactly 45 minutes, and I bawled for exactly 1 hour. I don't know what it was, but I COULD NOT turn the channel.

Great! Just what I needed on this the guiltiest day of all guilt for Mothers, more guilt! How could I sit here and feel sorry for myself? How could I not feel grateful for all that I have? And why would I purposely watch something on TV that would make me feel this way today of all days? I must have a compulsion for guilt!

I was looking SO forward to missing the horrific mothers day talks at church that always make you come away feeling so thoroughly guilty, inadequate, annoyed, and bad about yourself. I just knew this Mother's day would be better because I was skipping all of that his year and because I had pledged to make it so!

So, feeling like a failure, I laid in bed, and listened to the harsh whispers of my children fighting incognito, because it is mothers day after all (bless them) and feeling the horrible resignation that this day every year will always suck. Then I got a phone call from my dear friend, who I can always count on to call at just the right time.

We commiserated together, because that always makes things better. We laughed and poked some fun at ourselves and others, because that always makes things better. And we were both reminded that we really are doing a great job as women, daughters, sisters, friends, and mothers. I love you Kimmie, thanks.

And so here I sit musing. Embracing this blogging thing has been a bit hard for me. I have always been so private and kept myself truly walled off from others. I really never dare speak about my thoughts and feelings, much less write them, but I want things to be better and different for my children. If keeping this record only does that one thing for them, it will have been worth it. Surprisingly though, I am finding that it is doing much more than that. It really helps me to read my own thoughts. It is helping me to learn to love and accept who I am. It is helping me to see my worth.

11 years ago on May 20th my Ashley Mae was born. What an honor it is to be her mother! What a sacred blessing it was to bring her into this world, be touched by her amazing spirit and strength, and hold her in my arms until it was time for her to go back in lovely perfection to her Heavenly Father.

You are named after to wonderful great grandmothers Phillis May and Mae Betts. I know that it isn't a coincidence that you were born in the month of May, and that you are the namesake of two of the kindest, wisest, most amazing women that I have known. I know that you are with them now, loving each other and watching over all of us.

And so for you my precious girl, I am pledging with a renewed confidence that I will learn to love May again. Because I love you and because I love your brother and sisters. I will learn to celebrate your life. I will learn to push away the fear of the memories and hurt and replace them with knowledge, hope, and Faith. I know I will get better at it every year, because I really do feel blessed to know you, and I am proud to be your mother!

Again, my heart is drawn back to the place where it has always lived. Even before they were born, I knew and loved my children somewhere deep inside my soul. And they will be the reason that I will find within myself again the love for the month of May. So I will put on a smile and go out and open my presents and enjoy the partially burned meal that has been lovingly prepared for me with minimal fighting and shouting and enjoy this Mother's day DANG IT! I can do it! I have the power to do it! I will learn to love May again.