I don't know whether this is my first Mother's Day or not.
My gut says no. Though my children weren't with me Earth side this time last year, I very much so knew what it meant to be a mother. I knew a mother's love. I knew a mother's hurt. I knew (and still know) more than I perhaps wish I ever did. But, then again, our heartache is what has made this current season so beautifully bright.
What's different this year, though, is how I am experiencing motherhood.
I knew pregnancy after loss was going to be challenge. For that I was (somewhat) prepared. I'm realizing now, though, that I should use the phrase "life after loss." After each milestone - one where I think I'm going to be "fine", whatever that even means - I am struck down. Like a wave crashing on me over and over again, my anxiety makes me feel like I am sinking.
My sweet Hollis, I do not think of you as my life jacket nor my life boat. That is far too big of a burden for not only a child, but for any human to have to carry. You are, though, my lighthouse. My reminder that there is a light, I simply need to find my own way to get to it.
Your light has shown me that motherhood is not all trauma. It - and I - are so much more than grief. There are no perfect ways to go about this thing called life. In fact, as an over-preparer, I've done just that. I've over prepared. I've packed all the life jackets and have planned all the routes - ready to follow suite. Yet, for the longest time, I ignored the most important guides. You and I.
Over the past few weeks, I've lightened the load. I've given in to instincts - our instincts - and allowed us to enjoy this slowed down version of life. We have our routines - our safety nets - but know that they are not fool proof. When in doubt, I turn to our North, I turn within and know that we're going to be just fine.
Last year, I was a mother without any child to hold. Motherhood was filled with doubt, uncertainty and pain.
This year, Motherhood is still all those things. It is also trust, joy and love.
Hollis, you have taught me to trust my instincts - to let joy and love lead the way. Rather than worry about "what ifs," I'm tuning into the "right nows." I turn to the light you cast out and find a way - a way to trust all that I am as your mama.
Happy Mother's Day to us, my love. Cheers to this side of motherhood.