Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Badges of Motherhood

Mother's Day:  Another first in this current onslaught of new hurdles to face.  I thought I was ok leading up to today...but I woke in a funk and I ate my breakfast, in tears.  It is a challenge to celebrate a day, receiving honor as a mother, when the one child who made me a mother is no longer here.

I find my mind at war, these days, when I am out in public.  I want the whole world to know that I am a mother of TWO...but in the same thought, I do not want to ruin anyone's day by telling my sad sad story.  If you are a mother, reflect on how proud you are of your you want everyone to meet them, how much you cherish them standing by your side, proudly displaying your successful marks of motherhood.  I yearn for that so much.  In Vienne's absence, I feel crippled...yet, no one can see my disability.  I feel as if I have lost a limb - I limp and it is painful, though with passing time I get more and more used to the pain.  It never subsides, I just grow more numb and more used to living with it.  But, no one can see my missing limb.  Sometimes I want to scream "can't you see what I am missing??!!".  But, I don't.  Of course, I don't.

Mark and I have found ourselves at parks or random places in public and we meet another family with a young one (or a few), older than Ivy and we get the "Oh, just you wait..." comments.  They're meant well...that conversational banter.  But, Mark and I just want to vehemently respond with "oooh, just you wait"...for, we have done this before!

I know.  5 years is not that long of being a parent, in the grand scheme things.  But, in 5 short years I feel we have earned some of those rightful badges that make us feel like true parents.  You know...those parenting moments that truly make you feel as though you have rightfully earned the title of "Mom".

I have successfully (very successfully and quickly) potty-trained a child.
I have met the monster called "Chicken Pox" and won the battle with brisk ease.
I have survived those supposed "terrible twos AND threes"!...(which, of course, were a myth in our household, with Vienne!)
I have weaned a child from nursing...and from pacifiers.
I have transitioned a child from the crib to a big girl bed.
I have brushed out tangled knots of hair.
I have taught a child to floss and brush her teeth.
I have taught a child to swim.
I have taught a child about right and wrong, forgiveness, grace, patience, honesty, and love.
I have successfully helped my child to get past her nightmares.
I have slept in my child's bed or on her floor, to comfort and reassure her.
I have shared a pillow with my child and whispered and giggled with her, when she was supposed to be sleeping.
I have taught a child responsibility and how to care for her things.
I have taught a child how to clean sinks and windows, to dust, and to make her bed.
I have taught a child manners.
I have made chore charts.
I have gently and patiently eased my child out of her shy-ness.
I have taught a child about faith and introduced her to Jesus.
I have also put my breath into my child, in desperation to bring her own breath back...without success.  Something no mother should EVER have to do.

And, in turn, this amazing child taught me so much...making me into a better person, a better mom.
This child taught me how to have patience.
She taught to stop and really everything, even the small stuff...all the time.
She taught me that the aforementioned "small stuff" is the "big stuff" in her mind...and if I always wanted her to trust me with the "big stuff" when she was to get older, then I needed to start listening to everything, early on.
She taught me about extending grace to those who hurt or offend me.
She taught me to take everything to Jesus, with child-like faith.
She, in turn, taught me about forgiveness.
She taught me to enjoy and live in the moment.
She taught me how to be in tune to her emotional characteristics and, in turn, custom my parenting and disciplining to what was best for her...rather than what was ideal in my eyes.
She taught me to try and look on the bright side...for she never, not ever, looked on the dark side of things.
She taught me that relationships with people are one of the most valued treasures.
She taught me about imagination.
She taught me that being a mom was EVERYthing I was meant to be...and that this was the best, most rewarding job in the entire world.
She taught me that I was capable of a fierce, raw, instinctual, intense love that I had never experienced before I met her.
...And, she taught me so much more.

I have been a mother for 5+ years...even though, today it looks as if I've only been doing it for 16 months.  Over 5 years of parenting, I have changed and grown as a person, as a mother.  I have earned many merits in motherhood...and it is all in thanks to my Vienne Juliet, the one who first made me a mother...the one who no longer stands by my side, holding my hand, but who now lives with Jesus, and in my heart, in my memories.  Mother's Day will never be the same.  I will never be the same.  And, I guess that's just how it is now.

Surprisingly, I do not have many photo memories of my past Mother's Days with Vienne...but here are a few pics I have found from years past.

(Vienne at 2 years old - Mother's Day in a park.  Wish she was smiling, too.)

(oh that precious face)

(with her Aunt Kate)

(Vienne at 3 years old, making me mud soup for Mother's Day)

(then a torrential downpour ensued...and she danced in it.  Of course.)

(pure uninhibited joy)

(and she got soaked)


Happy Mother's Day to my Mama - one of my best friends in the whole world.  My Mama taught me how to be a great Mom.  She taught me how to love my children selflessly.  She taught me to be open and honest with my children, while setting a good example.  She taught me how to aim to be their friend, as well as mother, just as she has been.  She has been my constant support and offered me unfailing love and compassion through this wretched journey of life that we are all, now, on.  I LOVE you, my Me-Ma, forever and always.

Happy Mother's Day to my little Sister, Kate - another of my best friends in this life.  Together, we have been through so much and our loyalty and commitment to each other has always been unwavering.  I have loved watching you become a beautiful loving mother and cherish that all 3 of us girls share in this fierce love for our children, for mothering.  Thank you for being such a committed available support to me, as well.  You are so treasured in my heart.


  1. You've been on my mind & in my prayers today. You've earned many badges of motherhood and at the same time you are so right about all the ways children teach, challenge & provide us with such a pure lenses to see through. Sending hugs & prayers of comfort.

    1. Thank you for thinking of me, Anne. These words were so sweet to read.

  2. You have earned so many badges. You are super mommy to me. You are such a wonderfully loving, kind, compassionate mother. Ivy has so much to look forward too. I know this day must have been hard and I am so sorry for your grief. No one knows but you just how hard it is but you are a lovely eloquently speaking woman. I hear you and I love you. I posted some pics on facebook of the flowers we planted for Vienne... thinking of you and sending love your way... Laura

    1. Laura ~ You are proving to be such a wonderful constant support of encouragement and love. I appreciate your words, always. Thank you for all you did with the flowers, as well. The photos are so sweet. Love to you.

  3. Jenny - you were on my mind and in my prayers all day today. Sending love to you and Mark!

    1. Thank you, Jodi, for keeping me in your thoughts yesterday. I needed it.

  4. Sweet Jenny, you were on my mind yesterday. I'm so sorry you had to get over yet another hurdle in this journey you shouldn't have to walk. There is no doubt in my mind that Mark and Ivy spoiled you. :) you are an amazing mommy of 2 beautiful girls. I can definitely see Christ in your family. God bless,

    1. Allie ~
      Wow, thank you for such loving and kind words - they lifted my spirit.

      Mark and Ivy did spoil me and I am so thankful for their love.

      Blessings to you...

  5. Dear Jenny,
    Through your thoughtful and insightful words, Vienne has taught us all to remember the important things each and every day. Becoming better on a daily basis is what we all strive for. What a wonderful tribute to your beautiful daughter. I so appreciate you sharing your thoughts about your daughters on the day when we remember all of the moms in our lives'. You are such a sweet and caring momma! Thanks for your words. Praying for comfort for you and your family. Terry

    1. Terry ~ Oh such sweet words to read. I LOVE that Vienne's gentle characteristics touch and teach others. It is definitely a hope of mine.
      Your encouragement was soothing to my heart. Thank you for taking the time to leave such kind warm words.
      Much love ~ Jenny

  6. My daughter. Thank you for these words. You inspire me in so many ways and have far exceeded in excellence as a mother beyond anything I ever imagined to be. Vienne and Ivy are all that they are because of all that you and Mark are as parents and we are blessed because of it. I love you so much and Thank God that He gave me the privilege to be your Mama. And Kate...that goes for you too, my love!

  7. Hey Jenny,
    You are a WONDERFUL mother and I'm so sorry Mother's Day and other special days are now tainted for you because you are missing such a huge important part, your love Vienne. I know when you became a mother 5 years ago was when you became what you were truly meant to be - the grace, tenacity, and passion you bring to motherhood is very inspirational to me. XO

  8. That was so beautifully put my sister. Love the photos too. You raised such a delight of a young lady...and did so in the short 5 yrs you had with her. And you continue to instill these things into Ivy. I'm so honored to get to share motherhood with you. And though I wasn't sure how it would look, us going through pregnancy and having babies at practically the same time, it has been one of the biggest blessings to me. You are such a support to me as well and I am so thankful. I love you tons.

    1. I love you, Sweet Sister. Thank you for such encouraging words. I needed them.

  9. Jenny, I sit on my couch with my hands to my face...reading your words and crying.
    I LOVE what you wrote, your words are so incredible and so real. I think of you and your daughters every single day. You are a part of my life and my thoughts....I ache to meet Vienne every time I see her picture. Finn and I watered our wildflowers together after dinner on Mother's Day, and we wished on a star for you.

    1. H~

      Thank you so much for leaving this heartfelt note on here. It meant a lot to me.

      It meant so much to read how you and Finn watered your wildflowers on Mother's Day. What a sweet act to do together on that day. Your words are very sweet to my heart.