Friday, November 14, 2014


This morning I was privileged to attend a beautiful ceremony in honor of Miss Lindsey Mustread. Lindsey left our physical world last July, but she is still so very present in our school and community.

By all rights, Lindsey should be a spunky, active 6th grader, attending dances, learning about water quality, and sharing what she is thankful for. Instead, I stood with her family as her school friends dedicated a beautiful, native evergreen tree in her honor.

The ceremony was well attended. The day was breathtaking both in its beauty and its still cold. As we stood huddled together listening to people share memories of Lindsey, calling her a spitfire, laughing about her "perfect eye-rolling", and generally missing her, I was deeply touched with the love and friendship that was present, sending the message, "Lindsey's life mattered".

I had the honor of standing near Lindsey's mom. Brandy is so amazingly strong. I couldn't keep the tears from spilling from my eyes, and yet Brandy walked stoically up to the dedication, accepted the loving hugs of many of Lindsey's classmates, and helped others with their sadness and grief at the loss of Lindsey.

While I was reflecting on Brandy's role as the mom in this story, I began thinking of a novel I'm reading right now, Firefly Lane. A central theme of the story is motherhood, the complex, ambiguous, shifting role, the absent mother, that "at home" mother, the childless mother who chose a career over kids.

In the book, and in real life, events we didn't choose have such a profound affect on being a mom.

The terrible truth of grief is that there is no resolution. It does not end, and it is rarely predictable. People around us grow weary of our pain, and their busy lives require them to focus their energy on their families, understandably so. Somehow, we find a way to learn how to move forward in a world that is so unfamiliar it does not even seem real. We hope it is not real.

The truth about motherhood is that it never stops. It doesn't stop if a child is lost. It doesn't stop when a child becomes an adult. It doesn't stop when a child becomes angry, mean, even hateful. It doesn't stop when the mother can no longer care for her children.

Motherhood simply is.

I joke frequently that "I will never be mother of the year", yet I know that for my two kids, that's exactly who I am. I'm far from perfect, often tired and irritable, so much so that I can't even muster the energy to pretend to be cheerful. I never planned on doing this job alone, and yet that is the path I am on. And it's the most important, honorable, privileged path of my life.

Watching Brandy love her sons and her daughter this morning, I am reminded what is really important. I am so thankful for motherhood, for my mom's example, and my grandmothers' example, and for the opportunity to do my very best raising my children.

We have today. Let's make it the very best day it can be.

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